Smartphones are being used for a wide range of activities including messaging, social networking, calendar and contact management as well as location and context-aware applications. The ubiquity of handheld computing technology has been found to be especially useful in disaster management and relief operations. Our focus is to enable developers to quickly deploy applications that take advantage of key sources that are fundamental for today's networked citizens, including Twitter feeds, Facebook posts, current news releases, and government data.
This research explored how educators with limited programming experiences learned to design mobile apps through peer support and instructor guidance. Educators were positive about the sense of community in this online course. They also considered App Inventor a great web-based visual programming tool for developing useful and fully functioning mobile apps. ... This study helped reveal the educational value of mobile app design activities and the web-based visual programming tool, and the possibility of teaching/learning mobile app design online. The findings can also encourage educators to explore and experiment on the potential of incorporating these design learning activities in their respective settings, and to develop mobile apps for their diverse needs in teaching and learning.
Developed by Kate Feeney of Mills College, the AI Merger Tool, allows multiple users to develop screens for the app in different projects on different or the same accounts and later merge the two App Inventor projects together. This tool will be very useful for classroom projects, and to anyone developing an app with a partner.
Mental models are mental representations of how an action changes a problem state. Creating a mental model early in the learning process is a strong predictor of success in computer science classes. One major problem in computer science education, however, is that novices have difficulty creating mental models perhaps because of the cognitive overload caused by traditional teaching methods. The present study employed subgoal-labeled instructional materials to promote the creation of mental models when teaching novices to program in Android App Inventor. Utilizing this and other well-established educational tools, such as scaffolding, to reduce cognitive load in computer science education improved the performance of participants on novel tasks when learning to develop mobile applications.
In this report, the authors describe an introductory-level mobile app design workshop developed and offered over 6 weeks in Summer 2011. We also discuss the challenges and instructional implications derived from our experiences with this workshop.
In his master's thesis Anshul Bhagi examines App Inventor game development. First he discusses the interest students have in developing graphically appealing, interactive single-player and multiplayer games using App Inventor. Bhagi then segues into a discussion of how the App Inventor team at MIT can prepare for the imminent growth of the App Inventor game development community. Accordingly, this thesis looks at where App Inventor currently stands with respect to game development and how its game development capabilities can be improved and extended.
Author Bill Magnuson explains the client-server multiplayer game building framework for the App Inventor for Android platform. The framework includes an App Inventor component and a game server running on Google App Engine. The client side component (called Game Client) packages the complexity of web service calls, data transfer and game state management into a set of graphical code blocks that allow users without programming experience to create Android applications that can access the game server API.
In this paper, Turbak and colleagues from Wellesley College describe how visual blocks-based programming languages, Turtle Blocks and Picture Blocks, allow users to transform their designs into tangible artifacts by using laser cutters and vinyl cutters.