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Transcript AppInventorOverview

App Inventor

Barb Ericson Georgia Tech [email protected]

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

Designer – User Interface

Blocks Editor - Programming

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


  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

Setup the Phone / Tablet

 Menu – Settings Applications  Menu – Settings Development

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

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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

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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

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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

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

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

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

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)