Matthew Purcell is the Code Cadets coordinator at Canberra Grammar School. In addition to running the Code Cadets programme, he also wrote and teaches the Year 9 Web Design and Application Development and Year 10 iPhone and iPad Application Development courses, along with teaching Year 11/12 Software Design and Development for the Higher School Certificate.
Matthew is also an accomplished developer, specialising in web and native mobile development. He won the 2012 hack::Brisbane competition for his app Bike Brisbane, and recently won both the Canberra and National Spirit of GovHack awards at GovHack 2014 plus the Canberra on the move prize for the most useful mobile app for Canberrans (all while managing and supporting 23 of his students who were competing in the GovHack competition as well). Matthew has also attended the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference from 2008 to 2014.
The Year 8 and 9 Code Cadets participated in Young ICT Explorers – a competition run by SAP to encourage school students to create and showcase innovative ICT projects. For many months in the lead-up to the competition our students worked, in their own time, on projects to demonstrate at this event. Examples of these projects include web-based applications to teach fellow students how to code, through to native iOS applications which provide automated birthday reminders and emailed greeting cards.
The Canberra Grammar School teams won every category they entered in the competition. Full results are available on the Young ICT Explorers website.
The Code Cadets have been participants in GovHack (the largest hackathon in the southern hemisphere) since 2012, and the most successful school-aged competitors. The group have won a range of prize categories including "Best of" app categories, together with the "Spirit of GovHack" award which recognise the team who demonstrates best the spirit of what GovHack is all about. All these prize categories attract large cash prizes which have been well received by the students and put towards further advancing their skills working with technology.
Most recently, at GovHack 2014 the Code Cadets won the Best School Team prize for creating 10 high-quality projects throughout the GovHack weekend and also sharing their code, collaborating with other teams, and giving constructive feedback to data custodians and organisers.
The Commonwealth Department of Education invited the Code Cadets to participate in their "Innovation Month" programme and be the key speakers at a seminar called "Horizon Scan: Google Glass as a certain reality". As part of this the boys prepared short speeches about their thoughts and opinions on this technology, particularly in terms of adoption and usefulness within an education setting.
This event was open to all members of the Australian Public Service and was live-streamed over the APS Intranet.
This watershed event brought together attendees from a variety of backgrounds, including medicine, education, and business, to discuss the implications of wearable technologies – in particular, Google Glass.
The Code Cadets are one of the few groups in Australia with substantial experience using Google Glass – having had access to Glass since May 2013.
Our students participated in a breakout session titled the #Glassroom which discussed the implications of Google Glass within education and broader society. The session was well attended locally with several presenters from San Francisco also virtually attending through Google Hangouts. The students also demonstrated Glass to attendees, and engaged in discussion surrounding app development which the students have been doing with Glass.
The Code Cadets were interviewed and featured on WIN TV News as part of this event.
The group has been invited back later this year to participate in the University of Canberra Wearable Technology Symposium.
The Apple Store Canberra invited the Code Cadets to participate in their field trip program. The Cadets used this opportunity to present apps which they have been designing - in particular, several iOS-based applications including apps to track the expiry dates on food, determine the amount of sugar in common products and beverages, and send you push notifications to remind you about upcoming birthdays and special events. The boys' presentation from behind the Genius Bar attracted quite a bit of attention and interest from both store customers and staff.
During this 36 hour hackathon, held at the Entry 29 co-working space in Canberra, the Code Cadets designed and developed an proof-of-concept comparative shopping app for Google Glass called Codie Compare - allowing the user to scan a barcode to show information about the product, including pricing at various retailers. The app was written in PHP with a MySQL database, using the Amazon Product Advertising API and the Google Glass Mirror API to send data to the backend and then push live cards back to the Glass unit with the relevant information.
The app was named Runner Up for the Most Innovative Idea.