MIT Media Lab Develops App Inventor for Android

Source: MIT, Aug 2011

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has announced the creation of a new Center for Mobile Learning. The center will be housed at the MIT Media LabGoogle supported the creation of the center with a grant from Google University Relations.

The center’s first project will be the adoption and further development of App Inventor for Android, a do-it-yourself tool for building apps for Google’s Android mobile OS with no programming skills required.

The Center for Mobile Learning will be co-directed by professors Hal Abelson, Eric Klopfer, and Mitchel Resnick. Abelson’s input helped shape the initial development of Android App Inventor in 2008, aiming “to enable people to become creators, not just consumers, in this mobile world.”

He says that Resnick’s Scratch software, also housed at MIT, was inspiration for the project. App Inventor uses the OpenBlocks framework, another MIT project advised by Klopfer, to visually represent blocks of code, so that App Inventor users can simply build their applications from a menu of modular options.

The center’s stated goal is “transforming education and learning through innovation in mobile computing.” Android App Inventor was popular among computer science educators because it lowered the barriers to entry for new developers and served as a teaching tool to computer science students. Its new home at MIT will reassure those who feared that this tool would become deprecated after Google stopped development.

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