App Inventor 2 is Here!

Screen Shot 2013-12-05 at 9.39.58 AM

App Inventor 2 is the new version of App Inventor now available at http://ai2.appinventor.mit.edu. It is fabulous– a real game changer in terms of app building and computer science education for beginners. Congratulations to the MIT team for this great achievement!

The tool is much easier to setup and usually requires no downloads on your computer. If you want to build apps and learn some programming, and you have an Android phone, you can literally get going within minutes.

Besides the better setup, the new system provides a much more elegant programming experience. The blocks editor loads immediately — its now in the browser, not a Java app!. And there are a number of new features that simplify the app building process. Once you use it you will NEVER go back. However, AI “Classic” (beta.appinventor.mit.edu), and the projects you’ve already built, will still be available for some months. For a description of the key changes in AI 2, see http://www.appinventor.org/appInventor2Changes.

appInventorBook

Teachers– you should teach with AI2 this Spring. For my take on why, see http://appinventor.org/appInventor2. In terms of supporting materials, the App Inventor book has been partially translated into AI2. You can find some chapters in web form at http://appinventor.org/book2. Most of the book will be translated in web form by early January. I am also working on a new book which will be available in plenty of time for next Fall.

There are also a number of AI2 video tutorials available at appinventor.org, and Shay Pokress and the MIT team have also created a number of nice tutorials available on the MIT site.

 

Dave

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!

 

AppInventor.org updates

AppInventor.org has been updated with the following:

1. Conceptual roadmap — find what you want to learn! This page should be helpful to students and teachers designing courses.

2. App Inventor 2  tutorials and video screencasts.
The first batch is ready, many more to come…

  • “I Have a Dream” soundboard app tutorial for beginners. video text
  • Paintpot, the classic tutorial now in App Inventor 2  video text
  • Math Blaster, an app that generates and checks arithmetic, lots of iteration! text

3. Course-in-a-box updatesDesigning an App Inventor course? Make use of the materials here, including these additions:

In the next few weeks we’ll be rolling out more new content, especially for App Inventor 2, and we’ll have a new design!
Dave

$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

Technovation Challenge: Sign up!

High school girls: sign up for this amazing after school program:

Software developers and entrepreneurs: sign up to be mentors

Enter the MIT App Inventor App Contest

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)

Prize Categories
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 )

Contest Criteria
Creativity
How novel is the app? What app(s) is it similar to, and what is the value-add of the app?

Potential Impact
What is the potential impact of the app? Who will it help, and how will it help them?

Complexity
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?

Completeness
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, wolberd@usfca.edu

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