Don’t Wait for Developers, Develop Your Own Apps
In 2010 one of the ed tech developments that I was most excited about was the Android App Inventor platform that Google had released to the public. The App Inventor allowed anyone to build his or her own Android app even if they couldn’t write a single line of code. Then sadly in 2011 Google shut-down support for the App Inventor and released the code into the wild.
MIT has taken that code and now made the App Inventor available to the public. The MIT App Inventor functions with a drag and drop interface that emphasizes sequencing. Drag your pieces of information into the proper sequence and you can build a functioning Android app. Detailed step-by-step directions are available for first time users.
You do not need to have an Android device in order to build an app with the MIT App Inventor. The MIT App Inventor has an emulator built in for you to use to test your app before pushing it out to your phone or to the Google Play store. You do have to have a Google Account in order to use the MIT App Inventor. If your school is using Google Apps for Education you may need to talk to your network administrator about granting access for students.
Teachers interested in having students build their own apps would do well to visit the App Inventor Edu pages to learn about some successful uses of the MIT App Inventor in educational settings. What I like about the MIT App Inventor is that in order to create a functioning app students have to think about logic and sequencing. Furthermore, they can see through the drag-and-drop process how each piece of code works with another to develop a functioning app.