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App Inventor Barb Ericson Georgia Tech

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1 App Inventor Barb Ericson Georgia Tech

2 What is App Inventor?  Free software for creating apps for Android devices  Projects are saved to the cloud  Requires an internet connection to use  You create the user interface by dragging components (widgets) onto a screen  The Designer  You program the app by dragging program statements and connecting them  The Blocks Editor  You can test using wireless, an emulator, or a USB connected device  First option is best

3 Designer – User Interface

4 Blocks Editor - Programming

5 Tips for Workshops  Manage expectations  They are not creating Angry Birds in 1 hour  Pre-load Xylophone on the phones  Have students play with it and ask them how they think it works  Introduce the computing terms  Explain how to use the phones (especially for adults)  For younger students use projects with the user interface already done  Allow time to add features or create apps  Use examples that help people - SpeakIt  Use examples that can be customized - Fortune  Show how it relates to jobs – Dot Diva

6 Troubleshooting  Both the device and computer must be on the same wireless network  Some networks have firewalls that don’t allow this to work – check first  To use the emulator or USB connected device you must install software  See up.html up.html

7 Setup the Phone / Tablet  Menu – Settings - Applications  Menu – Settings - Development

8 Install on Device  Your app will work as long as the device is connected, but not when disconnected  To have your app work after you disconnect the device  In the Designer click on App (Provide QR code for.apk) to install the app on your device  Or save the.apk to your computer and put it on a server to share it with others

9 Sharing a Project with Others  Go to My Projects  Check the app to share  Click on ”Project" and then ”Export selected (.aia) to my computer"  This will download a file to your computer that ends in.aia  Others can click on “Project” and “Import project (.aia) from my computer” to upload it

10 Computing Concepts  Event driven programming  Variables  Conditionals  Random Numbers  Procedures and parameters  Creating your own blocks  Lists  Iteration (Loops)  Recursion  User Interfaces  Model, View, Controller

11 What else can you do?  Create games  Image sprites – collision detection, timers  Use the camera and then draw on the picture  Canvas  Create a quiz  Using lists  Automatically respond to text messages  Use text-to-speech to read a message  Store data on the phone  Use the GPS to remember where your car is  Open Google maps to a particular URI  Create a list of people to automatically text  Create a remote control for your LEGO robot  Use a barcode scanner and get info from websites with web data APIs  Store data on the phone or in a web database

12 Tips and Techniques  You can copy and paste a set of blocks  Control C and V on windows  You can just type a number or Boolean value  The correct block will be created  When you right click on a block you can:  Add a comment  Duplicate a block  Deactivate a block  Collapse a block  Execute a block immediately

13 How to get devices?  Buy tablets – cheaper than phones  Samsung Galaxy - $180  Nexus 7 - $152  Ask students/parents to donate used phones  Get a small grant to cover the cost of the devices – Google Rise, Local businesses, College  Only need 1 device per 4-6 people

14 How to evaluate  Pre and post attitude surveys  Measure confidence, enjoyment, interest, intent to persist, gender stereotypes  5 point Likert scale questions  Open-ended questions: best, thing to change?   Pre and post content knowledge assessments  Multiple choice questions 

15 Additional Resources  ICE projects for App Inventor  MIT’s Tutorials are at  Gallery of apps created with App Inventor  35 hour course for teachers  Design guidelines from Google for Android Apps  Free on-line book and course materials and tutorials are at  Mobile CS Principles materials - including multiple choice questions  6 modules are at  How to publish to the play store ($25 fee to register)

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