App Inventor for Android

Friday, July 31, 2009 at 7/31/2009 03:15:00 PM



At Google Research, we are making it easy to build mobile applications, and we're collaborating with faculty from a dozen colleges and universities to explore whether this could change the nature of introductory computing. With the support of Google University Relations, the faculty group will work together this fall to pilot courses where beginning students, including non-computer science majors, create Android applications that incorporate social networking, location awareness, and Web-based data collections.

Mobile applications are triggering a fundamental shift in the way people experience computing and use mobile phones. Ten years ago, people "went to the computer" to perform tasks and access the Internet, and they used a cell phone only to make calls. Today, smartphones let us carry computing with us, have become central to servicing our communication and information needs, and have made the web part of all that we do. Ten years ago, people's use of computing was largely dissociated from real life. With the ubiquity of social networking, online and offline life are becoming fused. This fall's exploration is motivated by the vision that open mobile platforms like Android can bring some of that same change to introductory Computer Science, to make it more about people and their interactions with others and with the world around them. It's a vision where young people—and everyone—can engage the world of mobile services and applications as creators, not just consumers. Through this work, we hope to do the following:

  • Make mobile application development accessible to anyone.
  • Enhance introductory learning experiences in computing through the vehicle of Android’s open platform.
  • Encourage a community of faculty and students to share material and ideas for teaching and exploring.

The collaborative experiment kicked off with a three-day workshop at Google's Mountain View campus in June, where invited faculty shared their plans for the courses they will offer this fall. The group also got an advance look at App Inventor for Android, the prototype development platform that Google is working on and that the faculty and their students will use in their courses. App Inventor for Android lets people assemble Android applications by arranging "components" using a graphical drag-and-drop-interface. One of the goals of the fall experiment is to further shape the system in response to the experience and feedback of students and faculty.

The schools participating in this fall's collaboration are Ball State University, University of Colorado Boulder, Georgia Tech, Harvard, Indiana University, Mills College, MIT, Olin College, University of California at Berkeley, University of Michigan, University of Queensland, University of San Francisco, and Wellesley College.

Questions or comments? Please send us feedback. We look forward to hearing from you!

14 comments:

Michael said...

I think this is a great idea, however I fear that this will only continue to add even more soundboards to the Android Application Market.

Simon said...

I bet it's like http://btrules.com

mat said...

I think there needs to be some sort of official approval rating from google. Like still let anyone add apps, but ones that meet a high professional standard and certain criteria get tagged by google as being so. The user rating system isn't very good, I've installed so many apps with 4 or 5 stars and instantly removed them because they were sub standard. These sub standard apps will surely increase in volume, so we need to be able to filter them out if we want.

Ralph said...

The next step in marketplace reviews need to consider two things:

1) The user's credentials and experience (hard to do if people are anonymous)


2) The suitability of the application for the task the user needs (subjective)


Since #1 is difficult, and #2 is somewhat subjective, an improved user survey/rating system that considers version numbers, and works across phone platforms is essential. Three word reviews such as "this is crap" or "does not work" don't help anybody.

stefan.waidele said...

Is there a way to test this thing? It looks like you need to be a "trusted tester"... :(

Lotusdog said...

My name is Ernest Rando lotusdog[at]hotmail.com http://www.google.com/profiles/LotusFuugle On behalf of Brian Forist of the Dunes Learning Center www.duneslearningcenter.org I am seeking Android developers interested in field testing a mobile application for use in their research program. August 2010-may 2011.

At the Dunes Learning Center (DLC) we are looking for an Environmental based research application project. We are wanting to field test a Mobile Application that collects ecological data and can export that data into Google Docs that are housed within a Google App Domain. This data would be collected during Dunes Learning Center Nature Based Education Programs and the Data would be accessed via the web (DLC Google App Domain) by the students that attend the DLC. As part of their school curriculum and school projects they would be albe to access this data prior to and after attending the DLC program, collaborate over time within thier school calsses, and with other students within the DLC Google App domain.

While the DLC is not a University, it is located within the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, one of the Nation's most ecologically diverse National Parks, and the DLC programs are year round nature based education programs that engages students from ages 8-18.

Greg said...

Is there any word/update on how soon App Inventor might be released?

Greg...

Research Admin said...

@Greg: http://sites.google.com/site/appinventorhelp/

Already launched. Enjoy!

stefan.waidele said...

@Research Admin: It is only open for "trusted testers" - so for most of us, it is not yet "released" :(

Any chance of this getting to the broader public? (Or Greg & me becoming trusted testers ;)

luke said...

Released? Not to the public I dont think.????

Research Admin said...

My apologies, you are correct. The full public launch should be happening in the near future. Thanks for you patience.

Dwayne said...

I'm very interested in this. It has some great potential. Although I'm slightly concerned about the flooding of "helloPurr" type apps on the market.

I'm going to be running an experiment on App Inventor's ability to create apps when used by people who have no prior development experience.

http://theandroidworkshop.blogspot.com

Badal said...

Its very good tool for android, but where is the download link..??

Lerner said...

I don't think we fully appreciate that smart phones which are always at arms length are great tools for education. Other tools are becoming available to lower the bar for app development as well. This site, sagemilk.com, has a tool where you input your data online and an education app is automatcially created. Is that where app development is going? I guess the same trend happened with web development. There will always be a need for high-end professional development, but there is a place for simple apps, such as craming for you next exam with your phone, as well.