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App Inventor Continues Life at MIT

Unknown Lamer posted more than 3 years ago | from the it-was-all-for-the-best dept.

Android 23

An anonymous reader writes with a press release on the App Inventor Weblog. From the release: "MIT announced the launch of the new Center for Mobile Learning, with a first activity being to take over and refine App Inventor for Android. The center will be led by App Inventor mastermind Hal Abelson, Mitch Resnick of Lego Mindstorms and Scratch fame, and Eric Klopfer, the director of teacher education at MIT and an expert in games and simulation. This news boomerangs the negativity surrounding Google's discontinuation announcement last week. To the many teachers whose curriculums have been energized by App inventor, and to the thousands of newly empowered app builders: Rejoice! The fun has just begun!" Personally I see this as a great thing. By axing App Inventor as a Google Project and releasing the source there is finally a real world example of using Scheme to write Android applications that others can inspect.

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Great News for Teachers (4, Insightful)

notKevinJohn (2218940) | more than 3 years ago | (#37111980)

I used to teach a Lego Mindstorm based after-school program. If this guy can make a GUI on top of LabView that is easy enough for 4rth graders to master, I can't wait to see what he does with the Android SDK/ App Inventor.

Re:Great News for Teachers (1)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 3 years ago | (#37112004)

It would be nice to see.

As long as such a GUI selectively reveals to the user, what the logic of programming is actually like.

Im unity100 (0)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#37112096)

And i approve of this message.







hehehehe

Scheme... (1)

swan5566 (1771176) | more than 3 years ago | (#37112164)

"... there is finally a real world example of using Scheme to write Android applications that others can inspect." You mean as long as there aren't any 10-deep or more nested expressions in the code or you've messed around with .emacs files a lot. Otherwise, Scheme becomes rather un-inspectable. I'm having some disturbing flashbacks from my undergrad days as I write this.

Re:Scheme... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37112238)

Like whoa dude... If you use a lisp-aware editor even the gnarliest procedures are as clear as the North Carolina surf.

Re:Scheme... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37112994)

Like whoa dude... If you use a lisp-aware editor even the gnarliest procedures are as clear as the North Carolina surf.

Is the North Carolina surf somehow clearer than other surfs? I'm guessing not.

Re:Scheme... (1)

AlienIntelligence (1184493) | about 3 years ago | (#37142052)

Lol, all I remember is churn when I surfed the Carolinas.

-AI

Re:Scheme... (1)

swan5566 (1771176) | more than 2 years ago | (#37119044)

And I'm guessing you fall into the latter half of that sentence, or something of the sort? Scheme's problem isn't just parenthesis spam - it's all cars, cdrs, and all that other fun procedural stuff within the parenthesis spam that makes the "Learning" part of this all the more difficult.

How is this news? (1)

Dorkmaster Flek (1013045) | more than 3 years ago | (#37112312)

Didn't the "discontinuation" announcement specifically say that they were simply stopping it being a Google branded thing and open sourcing it? Not only that, but they also said they had plans to continue developing it. They were just killing the Google branded part. It was never going away in the first place.

Re:How is this news? (1)

oakgrove (845019) | more than 3 years ago | (#37113188)

It's news because the original story detailing that Google would not be supporting this software once again gave the shills and google haters something to crow about. google is abandoning teachers, google is abandoning disadvantaged people, and women, ad nauseum. I don't feel like dragging up the link to the original Slashdot story about this but it was some professor somewhere who literally said those things. It was ridiculous. And of course everyone with an axe to grind chimed in. I think in the face of that, a positive followup story is well appreciated.

Alright, what does this guy really do? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37112432)

Eric Klopfer, the director of teacher education at MIT

Good to know the profs at MIT appears underqualified and must take some kind of course work to upgrade their teaching capabilities. They just don't graduate them like they used to anymore.

Re:Alright, what does this guy really do? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37112674)

Good to know the profs at MIT appears underqualified and must take some kind of course work to upgrade their teaching capabilities

As opposed to the mechanic who knows how to fix Chevys up to the 1979 model year and feels like he doesn't need to upgrade his skills, or the COBOL programmer? Or the doctor that raises leeches for draining your foul humors. (Or, for that matter, Dr. Bob, our resident chiropractor?)

I doubt this is what he "really does" but continuing education is a good thing. Without it, "fully qualified" today becomes "under qualified" tomorrow.

Re:Alright, what does this guy really do? (3, Informative)

Tacvek (948259) | more than 3 years ago | (#37113666)

In reality he is director of the MIT STEP [mit.edu] program, which is a program which teaching MIT students how to teach high school. (No, I'm not kidding.)

The STEP program was actually responsible for developing the graphical programming system (OpenBlocks [mit.edu] ) used by App Inventor. OpenBlocks was originally invented for use in the StarLogo TNG [mit.edu] environment, but was deliberately designed to be general and suitable for other block based visual programming languages.

Re:Alright, what does this guy really do? (1, Interesting)

belg4mit (152620) | more than 3 years ago | (#37114934)

No dumbass, MIT actually has a little known program to make *teachers*, not professors.
http://civic.mit.edu/users/klopfer [mit.edu] http://step.mit.edu/ [mit.edu] http://student.mit.edu/catalog/m11a.html [mit.edu] (11.124-11.130)

Re:Alright, what does this guy really do? (1)

real-modo (1460457) | more than 3 years ago | (#37115928)

It's a bit harsh, calling someone "dumbass" for not knowing something that's little known.

Re:Alright, what does this guy really do? (1)

cas2000 (148703) | more than 2 years ago | (#37117946)

it's a bit dumbass to not realise that "little known" was an instance of this new and never-before-seen thing called sarcasm.

Re:Alright, what does this guy really do? (1)

belg4mit (152620) | about 3 years ago | (#37125298)

Actually, I called him a dumbass for conflating teacher and professor,
and then running his mouth off without verifying any of his assumptions first.

The wrong way to open source a product (1)

Excelsior (164338) | more than 3 years ago | (#37113034)

At least this exercise taught us one thing: The wrong way to transition a product to open source. Google should have made this announcement and the prior "cancellation" announcement one single communication. Instead, they freaked out their community and received a bunch of negative reaction. All the time, they were doing the exact thing we always hope companies will do: release a proprietary product as open source.

Scheme on the Android (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37113998)

> there is finally a real world example of using Scheme to write Android applications that others can inspect

You mean for those who've been hiding in a cave since March 2009?

Moby [brown.edu]

Re:Scheme on the Android (1)

Unknown Lamer (78415) | more than 3 years ago | (#37114574)

Moby is a limited educational environment that does not expose the full Scheme language and integrates poorly with the rest of the environment (you can't e.g. call Java protocols directly from Scheme... which could be problematic). Kawa, OTOH, compiles to Java bytecode that can be transformed into DEX just like any normal Java. Since it compiles to Java you can directly call of the Android protocols making it actually useful. The only problem is that getting it into the build chain is a bit mystifying at least for this Schemer (ant is not really what I would consider intuitive). Java protocols also tend to not fit very cleanly into traditional Scheme program structure.

My hope is that the App Inventor source will have good examples of using the Android protocols in a Schemey style and especially how to sanely build programs with the Kawa library.

The Death of Language. (1)

bmo (77928) | more than 3 years ago | (#37115464)

>curriculums

CURRICULA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IIAdHEwiAy8 [youtube.com]

"People called Romans they go the 'ouse?!"

--
BMO

Re:The Death of Language. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37116260)

Nolo suum aqueduct.

Why is this good for teachers??? (1)

Cutting_Crew (708624) | more than 2 years ago | (#37119376)

what exactly are they going to teach? That software development and programming is as easy as dragging widgets on a screen and that you really dont need to know how to write code or even understand how everything works?
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