How I Use It
This is an excellent application for learning to program apps with a block-type (similar to but a definite step-up from MIT's Scratch). With an abundance of project tutorials available online anyone can build an app, and they are fun to learn to make. The pride of ownership of one's work and the payoff of completing a working app is a huge benefit of MIT App Inventor.
Phenomenal tool for teaching understanding, basics, troubleshooting and persistence of programming. This is a great starter program for app building. If students have familiarity with Scratch they'll advance faster with MIT App Inventor.
Student new to programming will exceed their own expectations after watching some tutorial videos on working with MIT App Inventor and using video tutorials (along with the written counterpart) to complete a project. MIT App Inevetor is a wonderful scaffolding tool for programming.
Teachers can choose the level for students or let them challenge themselves by providing already created tutorials or new projects to work on from scratch (with no tutorial). Teachers should guide students through understanding the important elements in app creation (i.e. objective, reward, including instructions, visual experience, tactile experience, asthetics, organization, etc.) As an example, students can build a basic tic, tac, toe game from video and written tutorial instructions but then plan, design, and develop and more robust version.
The emulator is necessary to see you working in app in progress, to beta test, and to use the final product. MIT App Inventor includes three types of emulators (that allow you to see your game/project in real time): AI (or AI2) Companion which runs on Android phones; the computer based emulator, and a USB connection type. We used the first two types exclusively in our program. Please note: in order to run the AI/AI2 Companion it is necessary to have all devices connected over the same WiFI (which is addessed in the instruction on the website).
Students and teachers alike will learn, benefit and have fun working with MIT App Inventor. Teacher intermediate programming background required.