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How to make 16 million colors

MakeColors tool app - create custom colors
A recent blog post by Felicia Kamriani called Hue New? inspired an idea shared by a high school teacher during a recent Android App Freestyle which gave birth to the MakeColors tool.

The simple tool helps learners to understand the RGB color system and gives creatives the ability to generate all of the 16,777,216 possible colors. Using the slider component, MakeColors expands the color palette in the MIT App Inventor beyond the built-in 14-color and 70-color palettes.

The young teacher from the east end of Houston, Texas asked the attending educators and entrepreneurs at the Android App Freestyle workshop held at TXRX Labs hackerspace about how to introduce computational and design thinking with an approachable mobile app for learners. The short freestyle workshops are designed to guide educators and learners to discover their paths into Android app development and educational mobile computing. Within three hours, with peer discussions, validation testing and using a lean approach; MakeColors was born.
Make colors block

The educational intent of the app is to assist educators using App Inventor by incorporating the MakeColors tool to help learners absorb the concepts of binary vs decimal values and grasp bits & bytes and digest how color and images are represented on screens. Possible future lessons created around the tool include using the ‘make color’ and ‘make a list’ blocks, creating procedures to reduce code redundancy, and design thinking. Ambitious learners can discover the RGBA color model that includes an Alpha channel representing transparency and related geometry topics like cartesian coordinates and numerical representation. Partnering with fellow math and computer network educators is a highly encouraged cross-pollination practice. This practice can expand computer science principles into adjacent educational subjects.

“The discovery aspect during the freestyle is like watching someone become a beam of light after their idea is realized as a mobile app.” said Coach Akil, after leading the workshop. The workshop feedback was very positive: “Very practical approach” , “Overview course with good insights. “ and “Diagrams are clear and useful“.

Now future App Inventor users, educators, and creatives can benefit from this serendipitous idea that may never have happened without the openness to new ideas at a freestyle workshop.  

References:

  1. Hue New? by Felicia Kamriani – https://appinventorblog.com/2016/05/19/hue-new 
  2. Android App Freestylehttps://txrxlabs.org/classes/220/android-app-freestyle/
  3. MIT App Inventor galleryai2.appinventor.mit.edu/?galleryId=4834579196411904 and Google Play Storehttps://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=appinventor.ai_soahead.MakeColors

4. RGB color space – Wikipedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RGB_color_space 

5. Images, Pixels and RGB – Code.org – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=15aqFQQVBWU 

6. CompTia Network+  by Todd Lammle, (chapter 4 – Ethernet at the Data Link Layer, pages 102 – 103)

7. Blown to Bits – Your Life, Liberty, and Happiness After the Digital Explosion by Hal Abelson, Ken Ledeen, Harry Lewis (chapter 3 Ghosts In The Machine – Representation, Reality, and Illusion page 80 – 82) http://www.bitsbook.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/12/chapter3.pdf 

 

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