I teamed up with App Inventor creators Hal Abelson (MIT) and Mark Friedman (Google) on the article, “Democratizing Computing with App Inventor”, which was recently published as first education column in the inaugural issue of Get Mobile ( from ACM SIGMOBILE Mobile Computing and Communications Review). Hal and Mark developed App Inventor from the ground up at Google. Hal continues to lead its development at MIT with Mark contributing significantly. The article introduces App Inventor and its history, and tells some of the great success stories.
It is the damndest hackathon coding workshop you’ve ever seen. There is music. Loud Music. Hip Hop. Dance a little, sing a little, create an app! There are basketball hoops, low for dunking (even low enough for an old has-been). Hoop it up, app it up! There are colorful murals. There is barbecue. Eat a bit, code a bit. And the barbecue is out of control good!
There are black people. And brown people. People of all colors. Silicon Valley meet East Palo Alto. This is the Street Code Academy Kickoff event.
There are kids. All ages. There are Moms and dads. Families. Having fun and learning to code and create. Design the Future, say the T-shirts. They will and they are.
The kids are smiling, learning, having fun, proud. Empowered is a big word but you see it in the kids faces. Look what I can do!
Some kids spent 11 hours on the day hacking. A girl named Harshita Gupta from Mission San Jose High met with the Mayor and prototyped an app for East Palo Alto residents to report trash/graffiti (she’s spending her thanksgiving week off working no it!) Kids worked with Arduino boards, App Inventor, Wix, Photoshop, and just about every technology you can think of.
Google and Facebook, your numbers on diversity are awful. Street Code Academy is the change you envision. Check it out!
The academy is run by young visionaries: Rafael Cosman, Olatunde Sobomehin, Shadi Barhoumi. They are techies but they are experts in what kids like. They are coaches and cheerleaders and mentors. There is no kid that could resist Olatunde’s call to arms! Rafael’s energy is infectious. Shadi is everywhere. These guys are on to something big.
Support the Street Code Academy!
I’m giving a presentation on teaching App Inventor to kids along with a hands-on workshop at the Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose this Saturday, Oct 18, 1 pm. The event is free and you can register at http://appinventor-at-the-tech.eventbrite.com, The event is being hosted by Benesse Corporation of Japan.
Please spread the word!
This week I taught a professional development workshop on App Inventor to community college and high school teachers from California, Nevada, and Hawaii. Great teachers, great energy, and everyone loves App Inventor. The class met at City College of San Francisco in the Mission District. The workshop is part of MPICT, an organization that supports all types of ICT education at the community college level.
Watch this incredible interview with MIT’s Hal Abelson, who created App Inventor, and Asha Richardson, who co-founded the app lab at Oakland Youth Radio. If you are interested in motivating kids to be creators and thrive in today’s society, you have to watch this!
MIT App Inventor App Contest 2012
What: The First MIT App Inventor App Contest. Prizes, Fame, Fun!
Who: Everyone is eligible, see categories below
Why: To promote App Inventor, the App Inventor Gallery, and mobile programming for all!
When: Submission Deadline is Midnight, December 12, 2012, (Pacific Time)
Where: The App Inventor Community Gallery (http://gallery.appinventor.mit.edu)
Most Outstanding App: grades K-8, 9-12, College/University, Open
Prizes (each category)
1st Place: Google Nexus 7 Tablet
2nd Place: App Inventor Book ( http://bit.ly/AppInventorBook )
How novel is the app? What app(s) is it similar to, and what is the value-add of the app?
What is the potential impact of the app? Who will it help, and how will it help them?
How complex is the app in terms of blocks, logic, and programming concepts.
User Experience and Presentation
Does the app have a well-designed, professional-looking user-interface? Is it easy to use for the intended audience, even the first time they use the app?
Is the app complete or close to it? Has it been user-tested or deployed with real users?
To Enter the Contest:
1) Join the MIT App Inventor Community Gallery
(The Gallery is in Beta, go to http://gallery.appinventor.mit.edu to request full access).
2) Develop an app using App Inventor (http://beta.appinventor.mit.edu),
3) Upload your app to the App Inventor Community Gallery.
4) Fill out the contest submission form at: http://bit.ly/AIContestEntryForm
5) You may edit your app and form entry until the contest deadline of 12/12/12. Be sure and save the “edit form” link when your initial submission is confirmed.
More info: email contest organizer, USF Professor David Wolber, firstname.lastname@example.org