How I Use It
I learned to use App Inventor as a supplementary resource to teach the College Board's pilot AP Computer Science Principles course. There is a web based curriculum to teach the AP CSP course by Ralph Morelli and others that uses App Inventor; the name of the curriculum is Mobile CSP. I use App Inventor to teach students Computer Science Principles, creating computer programs based on the Learning Objectives of the CSP course. I teach students the fundamentals of programming, such methods or procedures, events, If-Else statements, Loops and Lists. I also use App Inventor to teach students computing and computational thinking skills, and also some of the big ideas as listed by the AP CSP curriculum framework. This includes abstraction, algorithms, creativity and programming. What worked was creating apps for an android with App Inventor, teaching these concepts and students learning them. What was challenging was the setup and having access to enough devices to upload the apps; we also used a cell phone simulator provided by App Inventor, but that was crash and cause problems running it in a computer lab. I wish they would improve the simulator so that it did not crash so often.
I think that students can really learn a lot about Computer Science and have fun creating mobile apps for android phones. Some of the topics are dry, but, they do really teach kids how to create computer programs as apps that they can upload and share with their friends. What I did not like was that if you did not have enough devices and used the web based simulator, that it would stop working as students were checking their programs. I also had technical issues with our school's firewall, internet filtering programs, and other technical issues as well. Still, I think if teachers put the time and effort into using this program, especially the one developed by the Mobile CSP group, it is a great way to teach Computer Science Principles!