Super-Teacher Kelly Powers Teaching High schoolers!

Want to see a successful STEM program in action? Check out this video of Kelly Powers, the Mass. STEM teacher of the year, teaching students to be creative, solve problems, and build their thinking skills, all through building apps with App Inventor. Congratulations Kelly!

 

$200,000 Keck Grant for AppInventor.org

keckDavid Wolber and the University of San Francisco received a $200,000 grant from the W.M. Keck Foundation to launch the Democratize Computing Lab at USF.  The Lab’s mission is to  break down the programmer divide and radically broaden and diversify the pool of software creators.

The Lab’s strategy is based on App Inventor, a visual language from MIT that allows beginners to learn by programming their phone or tablet. The language has a low barrier to entry. Instead of being bogged down for months in the syntax of a traditional language, beginners can build useful applications within days and early on experience the joy of computing and real-world problem-solving.

AppInventor.org On-Line Course

AppInventor.org: Learn mobile programming on-line

Wolber has been involved with App Inventor since its inception at Google in 2009, and co-authored a book with App Inventor creator Hal Abelson and two of the Google engineers on the App Inventor team (including Mills College professor Ellen Spertus). His site appinventor.org, which provides video lessons and course materials for students and teachers, recently received its millionth hit.

The Lab is involved with a number of App Inventor education projects for providing beginners with an entry-way into the world of programming. Wolber and his students are completing and refining the “course-in-a-box” materials for students and teachers on the appinventor.org site. They’re also working with MIT and UMass-Lowell on the App Inventor Community Gallery, a site where students, teachers, and developers share apps and learn from each other.

An open-source app studio for peer-to-peer learning

App Inventor Gallery: app studio for peer-to-peer learning

Wolber will continue to direct the Lab in the fall while on Sabbatical at MIT, where he’ll be serving as a visiting faculty member and working with Hal Abelson and the App Inventor team.

Jeff Gray is Transforming Education in Alabama

University of Alabama professor Jeff Gray is working to develop new computer science AP curriculum for Alabama high school students based on App Inventor and mobile programming. Check out this video from ABC news:Screen shot 2012-12-01 at 11.45.05 AM

National Science Foundation Grant for Teaching App Inventor

The National Science Foundation has awarded a $565,836 grant in support of mobile programming education with App Inventor. Its
a TUES Grant, which stands for Transforming Undergraduate Education in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.

The project involves Wellesley College, MIT, Trinity, U. Mass, Lowell, and the University of San Francisco (my school). We’ll be building on-line, Khan-academy-like tools for App Inventor, with the goal of teaching computational thinking to beginners, especially non-CS-students. Many thanks to Franklyn Turbak of Wellesley, who led the proposal process, and Hal Abelson of MIT who leads the App Inventor project. Here are all the Project leads:

Hal Abelson, MIT

Lyn Turbak, Wellesley

Ralph Morelli, Trinity

Fred Martin, UMass-Lowell

David Wolber, USF

 

BusinessWeek.com on University of San Francisco and App Inventor

Andrea and Kelly building an app

USF students Andrea Conway and Kelly Lazzara are featured in this BusinessWeek.com video report on App Inventor and our course at USF.

Mr. President: App inventing and what our schools can be

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AMSA tacher Padmaja Bandaru with her students at the MIT App Inventor summit

They take a computer science course each and every semester. They build mobile apps. They learn using a visual language, App Inventor, that allows them to create their first app within an hour and sophisticated ones within days. They become so excited about programming phones that they join the Technovation after-school program and spend their afternoons learning more programming and entrepreneurship skills. One app– an educational one about Mitosis and Meiosis, wins the regional competition and a trip to California. Who are these kids? They’re the students from the Advanced Science and Math Academy (ASMA), a public charter school in Marlborough Massachusetts, and, President Obama, they are exactly what America needs!

Two AMSA students discussing their app with MIT professor Hal Abelson

I met these incredible students and learned about their fabulous school at the MIT App Inventor Summit. The students were invited to MIT along with their teachers, Kelly Powers and Padmaja Bandaru, two women who should be given millions of stimulus dollars for their exemplary work.

The students demonstrated their projects, talked tech with  App Inventor project lead Hal Abelson and the other conference attendees, and with great aplomb illustrated how App Inventor can help change the face of education.

AMSA students with Padmaja Bandaru,  Hal Abelson, MIT super student Logan Mercer and yours truly, David Wolber from USF

You hear everywhere how we’re not educating our kids for life in the 21st century. What should the President do? Call Kelly Powers and Padmaja Bandaru at the AMSA school!

USF students to pitch MS app in Cape Town, South Africa

Two humanities students took an App Inventor course and built a prototype; two graduates in computer science pushed the project along by building a more complete version using Java. Together, this uncommon comingling of students is competing in an international mobile health (m-health) contest. And they just make the lives of thousands suffering from Multiple Sclerosis  (MS) just a little bit easier!

The school is University of San Francisco. The humanities students are Dylan Hindenlang and Samantha Lam, who walked into a core curriculum computer science course and will end their year traveling to Cape Town to pitch their project. The graduate students are Chen Chen and Yaoli Zheng, who for their final project in a Mobile Programming course worked with the humanities students and a person with MS to build a sophisticated piece of software. The contest is the GSMA Mobile Health Challenge to be held at the Mobile Health Summit 2012.

Yaoli Zheng, Chen Chen, Profesor David Wolber, Dylan Hindenlang, and Samantha Lam

App Inventor students, professors, and Googlers discuss their experience

Angelo Taylor is a University of San Francisco student who took my App Inventor course last year. He has created this video about our App Inventor course. Great work Angelo!

Video: University students interviewed about App Inventor

This video was created by University of San Francisco student Angelo Taylor. A longer version is coming soon. Do you have video of students working with or talking about App Inventor?

Android Games Built by Middle School Students at BAYCAT SF


App Inventor was used in the summer program BAYCAT–The Bay View- Hunters Point Center for Arts and Technology in San Francisco.  In just a few weeks, these students learned the basics of app building and created a game. One is a fashion app where you can drag clothes into a virtual closet. Another lets you grab for dollars before the police officer snatches you. Another lets you skateboard while boulders fall from the sky, while two others are fun soccer games. The students learned some complex programming, with if-else blocks, timer events, and the like, and they also had to work with Photoshop and other tools to build their user interfaces. Impressive work!

Congrats to the students and to their wonderful volunteer instructor, USF grad student Roderick Lisam.

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