Teacher adds one more Language Leveraging Microsoft's Virtual Academy

French teacher and Windows developer Cyprien Marie shows with his app Memorize It! that the Universal Windows Platform and its online resources can help simplify and accelerate the process.

 

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Memorize it!

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Must learn something by heart? Make the process easy through visual clues, anagrams and more! Increase your memory potential with these techniques. Revision app created for you by a language teacher.

Learning to code educational apps with UWP

Whether it’s learning C# or French, developing fluency in a new language is challenging.  

French teacher and Windows developer Cyprien Marie shows with his memory-improvement app Memorize It! that the Universal Windows Platform and its online resources can help simplify and accelerate the language-learning process – for spoken and programming languages. 

He created Memorize it! based on an in-class memorization exercise in which students used hand-held whiteboards to write their answers in French. Similarly, with Memorize It!, students enter text, select a memorization technique like fill-in-the-blank or word jumble, and then test themselves out loud. 

He developed the memorization-learning app in Windows Phone 8. By making the switch to Windows 10 and the UWP, his audience has gotten much larger: In the last three months, Memorize It! on Windows 10 was downloaded almost twice as many times compared with its Windows Phone 8.1 version.  

User-friendly app-development resources

The French teacher made a couple of basic Windows apps, including a vocabulary app, before developing Memorize It! Microsoft’s online resources for app development got Cyprien up to speed.   

“It took about four months to go from nothing to enough knowledge to create something simple with C# and XAML,” he added. 

Relying on Channel 9’s “Ultimate Beginner Series,” he followed tutorials and hours of online beginner lessons on Microsoft Virtual Academy to learn everything from design basics to string manipulation – both of which are used in Memorize It! 

“The app is pretty much basic string manipulation in C# - which just loops through every word in the text and performs one of the memorization techniques that the user selects,” Cyprien said. 

For example, after users enter the text they want to memorize, they can select a technique that hides all of the words besides the first letter of each line. Alternatively, they can also select an option that blanks out certain words. From there, they can press and hold to reveal the answer.

I didn’t consider myself a developer before creating these apps, but the online learning materials and especially the community helped me become an expert pretty quickly
Cyprien Marie, Teacher turned Windows Dev

Supportive Windows developer community

Cyprien received feedback from users, including some of his students. They requested more features and memorization techniques that weren’t always covered by the “Absolute Beginners Series.” For these more complicated challenges, Cyprien turned to the community forums for everything from design to linking. 

“I would ask a question every day. People were answering and actively helping. There was loads of experimentation and interesting notes from others,” he said. 

Specifically for design and UI, Cyprien learned how to refer to a UI element and how to handle a long press on a ListView Item. These questions were answered by Microsoft moderators in under 10 hours. He also received technical help that saved him hours of work on issues with back buttons and linking his app to the Windows Store.  

Cyprien also turned to the Windows online community for help moving the app from Windows Phone 8 to Windows 10. At first, Cyprien wasn’t sure how to tailor his app’s data retention to Windows 10 since the app originally used Silverlight on Windows Phone 8.

“The community forums pointed me in the right direction, and after a few days of investigating, I was back on track,” he said. 

Cyprien explored the community threads and saw that other developers had already answered his question. After making a few tweaks to his code in Visual Studio, Cyprien was able to get Windows.Storage and the necessary .JSON files ready to prepare his app for Windows 10.  

Doing so opened his app to new features and integrations with other apps, such as the popular Quizlet. A flashcard-based studying app, Quizlet extended the range of Memorize it! by helping users access flash cards that created in Quizlet without leaving Memorize it! By combining the two apps, Cyprien helped his users tap into a large bank of pre-made study tools. 

In addition to the Quizlet integration, Cyprien learned that developers can add .JSON files into “roaming folders” in Visual Studio; that gives users access to data on several Windows 10 devices provided they use the same login ID. So, for example, if a student is using “Memorize it!” at home on a Surface, they can also log in to their Microsoft account on their phone or on a PC at school.  

Looking to get started developing apps like Cyprien? Check out the Windows 10 Absolute Beginners series here, and follow us on Twitter for more tutorials and updates about Windows 10 app development.