Preface @MIT

Starting Coding from a Young Age

Originally published on MIT App Inventor official blog on February 21, 2019.

This is a guest blog by MIT Master Trainer Anna Yu.

The first Preface Hackathon of 2019 started off with a bang, as Preface coders aged 9-12 aimed to build on their past year of creating impactful applications for the community. The past few months saw Preface coders design impressive applications ranging from local Geostories to event countdown timers. January was no different, as they bustled around with an abundance of passion and inspired minds, striving to utilize TinyWebDB and Variables components to build an online item trading platform.

The event also celebrated the winning coders from Novembers Hackathon, as Hector Lo, Hilary Yum and Edison Fu of Team Black saw their game-based discount application officially uploaded to the Google Play Store. Built for local snack store Cameos Kitchen, the game offered discounts for food at Cameos in accordance with how well players completed particular challenges. The application was a success, not only giving Cameos Kitchen a further attraction in line with its delicious snacks, but also a platform for increased customer interaction.

The key attraction of the Cameos Kitchen discount application is its motion sensing ability. Named Cameos Kitchen Tilting Game, the game enabled users to control components of the game through tilting their devices. This was something our Scratch coders strived to emulate in their own Hackathon, as they took full advantage of Scratchs new extension Video Sensing to create an interactive Lai-See collection game capable of tracking motions of players to score points! The recent upgrades coupled with its development as MIT software, exhibits Scratch as an ideal stepping stone to App Inventor by allowing kid coders to have a taste of app design and development.

Age doesn’t matter in the world of coding – rather its the inherent creativity and the thought process that counts. These kids showed that given the right tools, even a six-year-old can build an application that can wow entire audiences.

Preface @MIT

HK Children built Burger Ordering App for local restaurant

Originally published on MIT App Inventor official blog on October 23, 2018.

This is a guest blog by MIT Master Trainer Tommie Lo.

It’s 11:30 in the morning, 45 minutes away to your lunch break. Having been in a rush and skipped breakfast, you are suffering from the complaint of your rumbling stomach. Here, you pick up a tablet, access an app and start ordering your customized burger. You choose from a selection of buns, vegetables, patties to a list of chefs secret sauce. When you are ready, a simulated mouthwatering burger appears in front of you. Then you place your order and grab your burger out of your office right at 12:15.

This is what our coders aged 9-12 built during the Preface Hackathon last Sunday – a “Create Your Own Burger” custom app for Hong Kong burger chain Texas Burger, which was structured with Variables and ListPicker components, and further fine-tuned with Procedure components and colour coding. As aforementioned, the app provides enhanced visualization for customers, and also serves as a confirmation tool for store owners to minimize wrong orders.

All kids are born with limitless creativity. Give them a platform to channel their abilities, and they may end up with creations with larger impacts than any adult could fathom. There is an ever growing influence of coding knowledge in the real world, and hence, newer platforms for kids creativity are needed to reflect this change. The App Inventor blocks that our coders have thoroughly explored may be interpreted as the next “Lego”.

This was well reflected in our Hackathon. Though many kids at the event were young, and had little experience with coding, they exhibited a passion and excitement for coding that stunned their own parents. They were fully engaged throughout, and were buzzing to contribute in any way they could. This bodes well with our role as Preface Programmers – to guide young coders in not only learning, but applying coding knowledge practically too. We are extremely proud of every kid for the work theyve put in, and would also like to take this opportunity to thank Texas Burger for being a reliable partner all through this event!

Preface @MIT

Changing the Asian Community one App at a time…

Originally published on MIT App Inventor official blog on September 10, 2018.

This is a guest blog by MIT Master Trainer Queena Ling.

Coding education has always been viewed with utmost importance in USA and UK, and has also been an integral component of school curricula in Japan and China. Yet, many parents in Hong Kong still perceive coding education as an extracurricular activity. The failure to see the importance of coding knowledge may arise from an inability to envision how their children could apply their newfound knowledge to real-world situations.

Coding education has always been viewed with utmost importance in USA and UK, and has also been an integral component of school curricula in Japan and China. Yet, many parents in Hong Kong still perceive coding education as an extracurricular activity. The failure to see the importance of coding knowledge may arise from an inability to envision how their children could apply their newfound knowledge to real-world situations.

Both parents and kids alike need to be exposed to opportunities that allow them to experience the eye-opening possibilities coding knowledge could bring when it is applied to the real world. With that in mind, Preface launched its very own Hackathon event, in which students attempt to build an application with App Inventor to enhance and improve the local community with technology.

Over the last two Sundays in Aug 2018, Preface Junior Coders used components of QR code scanners and TinyDB in App Inventor to design a discount app for a local coffee store (Preface Coffee). The event successfully demonstrated how simple applications can have a profound effect on the community in solving real-world issues and improving efficiencies around us.

Preface believes Hackathon is the ideal event to combine a childs coding knowledge with their inherent creative abilities and imagination, as it allows them to fully immerse in the process of designing and building their own applications. It definitely fuels students confidence in not only their coding mindsets, but also their ability to change the world with it.

Preface intends to continue running Hackathon events, in hopes that this could be the first step to instilling a Silicon Valley styled coding culture and a world standard problem-solving method that is not currently prominent in Asia.

Student Stories

讓使用者走進創造者的世界

編程力量 讓構想逐步實現

隨世界科技的發展,編寫程式不再是程式員的專利,它已成為學童的必修課程。學會編程,究竟可如何利用科技改善生活?從一班Preface Junior Coders 的經歷,或能給大家一點啟發。


這班學生參加Preface的程式班時對老師常用的自動拍卡系統感到興趣,希望學生也能有一個拍卡點名系統,於是萌生編寫一個應用程式來實現想法的念頭。他們的構思是,這個程式可供學生透過掃描二維碼的方式自助簽到,出席或缺席人數將自動於雲端紀錄,方便快捷。

在老師的指導及與Preface Programmer的合作下,學生逐步實踐其構想。他們在設計應用程式時除了要考慮用法、功能和使用者的需要,更要解決如何存取數據等問題,難度實在不少。小至外觀,大至功能,每一個細節皆是學生討論過後的成果。通過不斷的嘗試與解難,他們終於設計出一個令他們滿意的應用程式。為精益求精,他們反覆測試,發掘可改進的地方,務求令程式更優秀,日後供社會廣泛使用。

對於這一班學生的表現,編程導師 Queena表示:「學習編寫程式所得的不僅是親身設計的遊戲或應用程式,而是在過程中如何發揮創意,反思和解難而得的經驗。」

短短一年,學生創造出一個又一個既獨特又富個人風格的應用程式。除遊戲程式外,他們也創造不同的應用程式以解決現實上的問題。由此可見,編程不但能為問題提供解決方案,並擁有改善社區,甚至改變世界的能力。


Preface Junior Coders 除了是程式編寫員,更是發現者和解決者。他們洞悉需要與問題,並嘗試用程式解決問題。

Student Stories

程式語言 2030 的官方語言

人工智能時代的溝通方法


近年,隨著人工智能的突破性發展,無論你是否願意接受,也不能改變人類社會正面臨翻天覆地的轉變這一事實。馬雲在《未來已來》一書中已點明關鍵,直指隨雲端運算和大數據技術日益發展,必然會對人類產生重大衝擊,只有適者才可以生存。

不少機構及研究以2030年作為對未來投射,預測世界發展的新趨勢。麻省理工科技評論(MIT Technology Review)報告指出,2030年時將有不少工種被人工智能或機械取代,同時也會因應技術發展衍生新的產業。人類必須具備不斷學習的能力,才能適應快速變革的新產業與新技能。該研究所研究員說:「未來像創造力、適應性和判斷力這樣的能力,比特定專長的知識,或知道如何使用釘槍的能力更重要。」

戴爾科技集團(DELL)與未來研究院(IFTF)也發布《人機合作新時代》預測報告,指出隨著軟體、大數據和數據處理能力取得巨大進步,新興技術將顛覆人們的生活,而社會與機器的關係將進入一個新階段。

進入人工智能時代,世界充滿挑戰與機遇,教育必須隨時代需求而變,以滿足未來人才的標準。

序言(Preface) 教育總監謝旭博士表示:「未來需要的人才再不是具備知識的人,而是具創造力、適應力以及懂得與電腦機械合作無間的人。這正是傳統教育之不足,未來需要的是以人工智能結合教育提供的個人化教育。」

這些想象的未來已經發生,遠比我們想象中快。

Latest News

Facebook’s F8 Developer Conference at a Glimpse by Preface…

Being a tech-driven education company, Preface follows newest trends and technology developments closely. Preface’s founder Tommie, along with Carmen and Edwin, attended the recent 2018 Facebook Developer Conference in San Jose, California during early May.

‘Despite the earlier negative coverages on privacy issues of Facebook, the conference event was still impressive. Facebook’s latest technologies brought them another step closer to achieving their mission of bringing the world together and connecting the community,’ said Tommie.

He then mentioned that one of Facebook’s highly invested technologies is AR (Augmented Reality), which makes it possible for users of certain applications, such as video chats, to create their own personalized figures instead of being compelled to engage in a face-to-face conversation. In response to the growing concerns over privacy issues, Facebook will also be rolling out a function to allow users to clear all browsing history.

Apart from the keynote announcing Facebook’s new technologies, their up-and-coming educational workshops are another main highlight. Facebook’s product experts shared and taught how the technology can actually be applied and merged into our daily lives.

Data isn’t everything

Working in the strategies and planning team, Edwin focuses not only on Preface’s business strategies, but also users’ strategies, performing tasks like data mining and user’s engagement and feedback analysis of Preface’s products.

‘In Facebook’s latest omni-channel analytics, businesses can now track time sessions spent on certain pages and apps, as well as the entire user flow and propensity toward specific behaviours, across various platforms and devices,’ said Edwin.

He noted the importance of implementing such versatile tool in Preface’s users’ analytics for the finest education products and plans.

‘Education should not solely focus on how much time is spent on learning certain topics, but the whole journey of every single learner on how they pick up each concept and understand the relationships amongst them,’ Edwin added.

Designers aren’t just artists but creators of innovative process change

Preface’s design and production team differs from typical design teams in other companies. Apart from daily design tasks for promotional materials, app interface and centre layouts, Preface’s team puts even higher emphasis on the true virtues of designs which are to help to improve situations and solve issues.

Leading the design and production team, Carmen oversees a variety of projects, ranging from designing every tiny detail like colour combinations and graphics used in the products, to redesigning the entire learning process with design-thinking skills to enhance students’ learning experience in Preface’s learning ecosystem.

‘Being open-minded to feedbacks and understanding the needs of customers are crucial in the design thinking process,’ Carmen said.

In that event, Carmen works closely with Edwin to frequently obtain statistical data for UI and interaction improvements.

Latest News

Preface Going Global

“There isn’t a thing that cannot be learnt.”

Indeed, it’s true; and Preface lives by this motto to re-innovate a global learning ecosystem for not only kids, but also adults to engage in. Today, Preface is one step closer to being a key influencer and making global impacts — being the international winner of the world’s most anticipated EdTech event, EdTechX.

An International Recognition from Tech Giants

Preface took glory earlier last year with her immersive and all-rounded learning ecosystem being spotted and valued by the Tech Giant Google, and Asia’s largest online technology media firm Tech in Asia. Going forward, Preface is honoured to celebrate her dominance in the world with another international prize.

Winning the EdTechXGlobal Rise Award from the largest international EdTechXGlobal Summit in June 2018, Preface out-competes all other education companies around the world. Being identified globally as an EdTech institution that shows the most significant innovation and growth in the education industry, Preface strives to entertain both the local and global community with advanced and emerging knowledge through her innovations in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning technology; as well as the perspectives from re-designing the mindsets of learning.

What’s in Preface Ecosystem?

Preface recreates learning efficiency and experience through reinventing conventional textbooks, exercise books, tutorial notes and dictionaries into AI-powered apps for better personalised learning; these free apps boost learner’s engagement into our education-ecosystem and gather crucial study-behavioural data to our AI system to provide every user with an accurate learning journey with Preface education services — both online usage and face-to-face teaching.

Speaking to the founding team, “It’s our motto that pushes us forward. This recognition drives us to strive harder to be the game changer we have to be, the influences we need to bring and the move we want to make in education. We believe we are closer to causing an impactful change not only to China and Japan, but also other global regions.”


The EdTechXGlobal Summit

EdTechXGlobal is the world’s largest Education Summit held across the Globe every year, with stops in Asia, Europe and Africa. It brings together investors, innovators and industry influencers; global leaders from different education segments, such as publishers like Pearson, Macmillan and McGraw Hall; tech Giants’ education branches from Google, Baidu, Apple and Chan Zuckerberg Initiative; as well as unicorn EdTech companies from the US and China like EdX, Coursera, Da Da English (噠噠英語), and 17zuoye (一起作業) participate to promote a global learning ecosystem.

Latest News

Preface Workshops — A space to kindle your interest…


A myriad of specialty coffee shops have been emerging in the city over the past few years. As Preface’s concept store, Preface Coffee stands out with the operation of its space that subtly blends the pleasures of savoring a whiff of freshly brewed Arabica and enjoying a free flow of up-to-date knowledge provided at Preface Workshops. In a sense, Preface Coffee is building a school in a coffee shop; in another sense, it is redesigning the notion of education and schooling.

Preface Workshops at Preface Coffee

Acknowledging the eternal evolving nature of knowledge and the limitations of academic curriculum in schools, Preface Workshops aspire to immerse the most timely knowledge and discussions in the community.

During the day, customers can enjoy the carefully crafted coffee and work on their new ideas in a free seating environment. After seven, when the hectic day of most working individuals ends, Preface Coffee transforms into an afterwork symposium in where Preface educators or guest speakers share their expertise, so participants can refresh their minds with not only coffee aroma but also mind blowing ideas from all walks of life. Through Preface Workshops, the Ed-Tech company strives to spread knowledge in a different, thus, a better way.

Preface Workshops on Education, Technology and Design

Powered by Preface, a technology and design driven company, Preface Workshops endeavour to educate the like-minded creatives on the topics of education, technology and design. Preface believes that technology is not merely grim theories, nor is design just a terminology for colours and patterns. On that account, Preface Workshops spark keen learners with open conversations on the topics of latest technologies and methods of design thinking used in project management.


Innovative workshops held for both kids and adults are mainly related to, but not limited in, programming knowledge, artificial intelligence and design thinking. Beginner courses (from level 101 to 105), like Artificial Intelligence, Ruby on Rails, Python, Data Science and Design Thinking, are open alternately throughout the year at Preface Workshops.

Artificial Intelligence 101–105 and Design Thinking 101–105 are offered this summer and fall. The former series focuses on the evolution of key AI technologies and the way they can be engaged in businesses and industries; whereas the latter engages the idea of systematic approaches to new product development as well as the rationale of customer-centred problem-solving processes.

Advanced learners or individuals who have taken a particular 5-level beginner course can further enrol in the advanced courses at Preface centers. It is in the right place at the right time to reignite the interests of eager folks in mastering skill sets needed in the 21st century.

Unstuck Your Minds in the Free Environment

Preface Coffee sits on Lau Li Street in Tin Hau

Preface Coffee sits on Lau Li Street in Tin Hau, a neighbourhood brimming with great restaurants and foodie’s favourite local street stalls. Preface Coffee is a space hard to miss. Its modern earth tone exteriors and open environment flooded with sunlight stand in stark contrast to the authentic buildings in the area, making it an inspiring place to stop by.

Attending Preface Workshops is no longer the same as that in traditional classrooms where students are bounded by chairs and tables. The design of auditorium seatings embodies the value of learning and open discussions. There, learners can grab a cup of drink, sit on the podium and indulge in the flowing of ideas when attending the workshops.

Learners are encouraged to ask questions proactively and exchange thoughts in pursuit of inducing ideas. Folks, as a result, are able to interact with one another and receive relevant information in the industries. Preface Workshops are reckoned as a place where learners can build the network to interchange materials and views. The tranquil atmosphere of learning is freed up at Preface Coffee, so as the individuals’ minds at Preface Workshops; and yet, Preface treasures free minds as they are the essence of quality education.

Its motto of ‘There isn’t a thing that cannot be learnt’ extends past the grey walls.