AppInventor.org Award from American Library Association (ALA)

AppInventor.org was recently designated one of the Best Websites for Teaching and Learning, by the American Association of School Libraries (AASL). The award was announced at the American Library Association’s annual conference (press release).

AppInventor.org was developed at the University of San Francisco (USF) under the direction of Professor David Wolber and with the contributions of numerous USF students (see below). The site teaches beginners how to build apps with the drag-and-drop coding language, MIT App Inventor. The site reaches thousands of self-directed learners each month and provides a “Course-in-a-Box”  for teachers of all levels.

AppInventor.org and this award are only possible because of the amazing App Inventor language and the amazing work of Hal Abelson and the MIT App Inventor team. Great work everyone!

 

AppInvento.org USF Student Contributors
Thomas Oropeza
Jordan Goldin
JD Manuel
Vincent Zhang
Bin Lu
Brian Liberman
Cayla Shaver
Leonard Fernando
Jennifer Cruz-Hernandez
Olivia Kumar
Adam Toth-Fejel
Kelly Lazara
Andrea Conway

 

 

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New App Inventor Curriculum for SF Middle Schools

screen-shot-2016-09-14-at-10-14-52-amThe San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) is making great strides in rapidly adding computer science courses to the curriculum in public middle schools and high schools, and App Inventor is a vital part of it.  SFUSD’s Bryan Twarek and Andrew Rothman have designed an on-line middle school curriculum which combines video and other lessons from appinventor.org, Mobile-CSP.org, appinventor.mit.edu, and a number of other venues, and breaks lessons down into 50 minute classroom chunks. The well-organized site is being used this fall in SF middle schools. Check it out and contact Bryan (twarekb@sfusd.edu) to get access to the teacher side of it.

The middle school curriculum is part of SFUSD’s Computer Science for All Students in SF effort. The goal is to make real computer science– with coding and problem solving– part of the curriculum throughout the grade levels, and to help broaden participation in Tech, as this excerpt from their site attests:

By beginning in the earliest grades and with all children, we will normalize a discipline that has been long dominated by a selective group of the population.

SFUSD teachers are also teaching some of the first AP High School Computer Science Principles (CSP) courses on the West Coast, an effort led by SFUSD’s Jennie Lyons.

The Democratize Computing Lab at the University of San Francisco is  partnering with the school district in these efforts. Led by my colleague Alark Joshi and I, we provide materials and advice on curriculum development, offer summer training workshops for high school  teachers, and facilitate a program whereby USF students in the Democratize Computing Lab assist teachers at schools sites each semester.

Dave Wolber

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.