Running App Dev School events

As such, we are looking for volunteers to run a local Ubuntu App Dev school in your area. Doing this is as simple as:

  • Find a place to run an event and pick a date when to run it.
  • Find some other folks in your LoCo who would be interested in helping.

  • Get the material and tune it for your event if needed.
  • Promote the event locally and encourage people to join.
  • Practice the material a few times before the big day, then show up, run the class and have fun.
  • Take lots of pictures!

The last step is really important as we would like to create a montage of the events. Smile :-)

In order to reach the most people, schools can be held on both weekends and weekdays. The time of day is not as important as the duration of the school, which should be 4 to 6 hours. Here is why:

  • there are two presentations we have prepared
  • you want to keep enough time for questions and answers
  • it takes time to get everybody up and running

Finding a venue

Non-technical equipment for the event:

  • chairs - People will want to sit down since they will be at the fest for several hours.
  • food and beverages - due to the duration of an App Dev School you should consider the availability of food and drink.
    • Pizza usually works out well. Tell people that you will be collecting a specific amount of money at the door for pizza. If they do not want to share some pizza, then they do not need to pay. In order to know who has paid, use an ink stamp to mark their hand. Do not forget paper plates and napkins.
    • If there are no vending machines at the location you may want to provide soft drinks, including water and possibly coffee during the school. If you do provide drinks, you should consider selling them at cost.
  • misc. items - scratch paper, ball-point pens, sharpies, scissors, stapler, duct tape, packing tape, blank FAT formatted floppy disks (used are fine), blank CD-R media.
  • signs - you should have a few signs posted to help people find their way around the location and provide other information. Some examples are:
    • main entrance: So people know that they have found the right location.
    • reception desk: People will need to find the reception desk from the main entrance.
    • networking information

Promote it

First of all: Add it to the LoCo Team Portal page.

People will need to know:

  • when and where the App Dev School will be held. A map and simple directions will help.
  • what to expect: soft drinks, pizza

Here are some places to consider advertising:

  • local computer user Web sites
  • local news media
  • local computer retail stores


To give the session itself, we have some presentation material available which should help.

To get set up as a speaker you might want to watch some of the videos which were done as part of the last Ubuntu App Developer Week. Everything else should be documented and easy to find at developer.ubuntu.com.

Some suggested videos:

Instructions for the hands-on app development workshop

If you you don’t have a preference, if you want to talk about HTML-5 or QML, you could ask your audience for what they’re interested in. If you have lots and lots of time, do both!

Giving the session

There are multiple ways to give the session. You could just demo everything, especially if you have a lot of people in the audience who didn’t bring a laptop, but in general there’s a lot of worth in everyone doing as much as they can on their own.

Here are different suggestion on how to give the session:

  • Running the online tutorial step-by-step
    • Ensure that every participant has successfully installed the SDK and has opened the page to the tutorial
    • Start going through the tutorial yourself, and share your screen to show what you are doing with Qt Creator
    • Don’t be too quick: divide your explanation into sections and make sure everyone is following before going to the next section. An easy way to determine a section is to use the code snippets in the tutorial to mark the start of the next section
    • You can ask participants to copy and paste the code snippets directly from the tutorial’s web page.
    • Make sure you explain what each section is doing by running the code snippet on Qt Creator yourself and asking the participants to do the same
    • You can tweak parts of the tutorial to show particular aspects in more detail (e.g. ask participants to tweak height/width of the MainView and see what’s happening)

    • Choose either to run the code on a device or on the emulator. A good compromise might be that the presenter runs on a device and those participants who don’t have one run it with the emulator
    • Try not to just follow the tutorial 100%: it’s just a guideline, so try to bring something of your own or modify it to keep the audience engaged
  • Ask the participants to run the tutorial themselves
    • Another alternative: point them to the online tutorials and ask them to follow them, to ask if they’ve got questions at any point and to show you the end result.
    • Make sure you walk around the room and see if people run into issues or get stuck.

Practical suggestions

  • Showing the app running on a device. If you have a device running Ubuntu and want to show how the app is working out, bring a webcam, so you can record what’s on the device’s screen and share it over the projector.

  • Use the emulator. Using the emulator is very important as an app developer, so showing its use early on is very important to new app developers.

  • Invite questions. Make sure you remind everyone that questions are welcome and that you’re happy to find out together with the audience how things work, how things can be made better and that it’s totally fine to ask, suggest or get involved.

  • Get feedback. It’s important that we learn from the questions and suggestions of newcomers. Point your audience to our feedback form (https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/ubuntuappdevschool), so we can further improve the events.

  • Ask the experts. If you don’t know the answer to a question: no problem. You can demonstrate first-hand how to get in touch with the app developer community. Either join IRC and ask the question there or try asking the question on askubuntu. This will show the audience how to get in touch with the world-wide community of app developers.

  • Use a flipchart or a board. If available, it’s really useful to use a board to explain particular aspects of the code or the SDK with drawing quick diagrams or explanations.

Technical bits

If you have to set up the network, bring cables and switches, otherwise be sure that bandwidth works OK for the number of people you're expecting.

There are ISO images available for users who don't have a recent Ubuntu installed on their machine. Download it and have a couple of USB keys available to pass it around and people can use it. (The user and password for the default user is 'ubuntu'.)

Get help!

If you're stuck at any part of the planning, we can probably help.


LoCoRunningAppDevSchool (last edited 2015-05-27 14:34:17 by dholbach)