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This presentation is a panel of 3 educators who have been involved in teaching App Inventor in the past 2 years, joined by the Google engineer leading the development of App Inventor. The audience we intend to reach is made up of educators, novice programmers, enthusiasts who support and advocate the idea of providing more accessible programming tools, and developers of mobile apps.
We have been very impressed by the enthusiasm for App Inventor shown by our students and would like to raise awareness of this new programming framework and its potential for involving and attracting more young people to computer science, especially from traditionally less represented groups such as women and minorities.
We will discuss what we have learned from teaching App Inventor, showcase some remarkable mobile apps created by students with no previous programming experience, and reach out for creating a community of educators and others interested in sharing and contributing code, teaching materials, and supporting documentations that would be open to all. The audience will also have the opportunity to ask questions about the past, present, and future of the App Inventor project.
Deborah Wallach is currently a Staff Engineer at Google, where she is part of the Google App Inventor for Android team, a project that allows people of all ages with no programming experience to create applications for Android phones.
Deborah joined Google in 2002, and was one of the original engineers on the Bigtable project, a distributed storage system for managing structured data that was designed to scale to a very large size: petabytes of data across thousands of commodity servers. Many projects at Google store data in Bigtable, including web indexing, Google Earth, and Google Finance.
Prior to Google, she was part of the Western Research Laboratory (WRL) of Digital Equipment Corporation, which is now part of Hewlett-Packard Labs. As a Principal Member of the Technical Staff at WRL, she was a key system software builder for the Itsy pocket computer, concentrating mainly on the operating system and reducing energy consumption.
She received an S.B., an S.M., and a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her interests include rock climbing and eating adventurous food.
Eni Mustafaraj is a Hess Fellow at Wellesley College. She has been teaching App Inventor since Fall 2009. In her latest course, Web Mashups, students built apps to gather data for creating mashups about Wellesley College.
David Wolber is a professor of Computer Science at the University of San Francisco. David teaches App Inventor in his “Computing, Robots, and the Web” course at USF. The apps created by his students– mostly humanities and business majors with no prior programming experience–have been chronicled the New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Tech Crunch, Fortune.CNN.com, and Yahoo news.
Ralph Morelli is Professor of Computer Science at Trinity College, where he has been teaching computer science since 1985. He is also Principal Investigator of the Humanitarian Free and Open Source Software Project (http://www.hfoss.org), an NSF-funded initiative aimed at getting undergraduates engaged in building FOSS that serves the public good. In Spring 2011 he taught students App Inventor for Android in his “Computing with Mobile Phones” course.
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