App Inventor Workshop in Doha, Qatar

 

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Photo Credit: Hamda

On March 7, 2017, I was invited to speak to students and teachers at the UNESCO YouthMobile event in Doha Qatar. YouthMobile was part of TumuhaTEC’s Digital Youth Festival at QITCOM 2017, Qatar’s biggest digital Expo. Qatar’s Ministry of Transport and Communication and Ministry of Education created the Youth Festival to introduce students ages 8 and up to innovative digital technologies and provide an interactive space for exploration.

In addition to a series of inspiring Tech Talks center stage (which included 15 year old serial inventor Fatima Al Kaabi) students engaged in hands-on activities throughout the hall including: building Lego robots, testing the capabilities of 3-D printers, collaborating in the digital productions, racing remote control maker cars, and designing mobile apps with MIT App Inventor.

Noticeably present were zones for “girls in tech” to welcome and encourage girls to participate in various digital opportunities both on site and in society. Mentors from the newly formed group, Arab Women in Computing were present to help demonstrate and teach mobile app development with App Inventor. Instruction took place in both English and Arabic. My favorite app that a group of girls created had a Harry Potter theme.

Teachers also had their own opportunity to learn, play and discover new digital tools in the Educator Empowerment zone.

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Photo Credit: Fatima Al Kaabi

 

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!

 

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.

USF students create App-Inventor-Compatible Yelp API


App Inventor provides a component, TinyWebDB, which can be used to talk to web data sources (APIs) that follow a specific protocol. You can use APIs bring in book data from Amazon, stock information from Yahoo Finance, and data from blogs (see appinventorapi.com for samples) There’s also a new Web component in App Inventor that provides another method for talking to APIs.

Last semester, Jackie Tong, a University of San Francisco student taking our App Inventor course, created an”App-Inventor-Compatible” API to Yelp’s recommendation data. The API gives access to simple search on Yelp.

You can access Jackie’s API directly from your App Inventor apps. Just add a TinyWebDB component and set the sourceURL to cs1072spr11.appspot.com.

 

You can also download the source code to modify it and add new Yelp commands. She wrote the code in Python and using App Engine, and she’s been kind enough to share the code at:

http://www.cs.usfca.edu/~wolber/appinventor/yelpTinyWebDBJackie.zip

Jackie was a beginning computer science student. She is exceptional, but her work shows that even beginners can create APIs using Python and App Engine, and thus, with App Inventor, can create web enabled Android apps.

Youth Radio’s Mobile Action Lab

Youth Radio's Mobile Action Lab

Youth Radio is an Oakland, CA organization which promotes young people’s intellectual, creative, and professional growth through education and access to media. They’ve won a MacArthur Digital Media and Learning Award and now they’re adding mobile apps to their game and and using App Inventor to make it happen.

Here’s a clip about them: