Kids can write their own applications for their android devices. How you might ask? With the free App Inventor development environment from MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology). The wonderful thing about App Inventor is that it lets you see the results of each step of coding immediately, so you never get bored. This is especially great for kids! They get immediate feedback! And… Oh … by the way… App Inventor is not just for kids. It’s for adults too!!
Here’s is how I got my 10 year old daughter started:
- First you will need to create a Google account, if you do not have a Google account already.
- Follow Setting up App Inventor 2 to setup your android device for live testing. If you do not have an android device, there are also instructions for setting up an emulator that will simulate an android device.
- On your computer, bring up two separate browser windows.
- In the first browser window, bring up App Inventor’s Designer and Block Editor. It will request access to your Google account. This allows App Inventor to use Google’s free cloud space for storage instead of your computer. It will then bring up the App Inventor’s Designer and Block Editor.
- The easiest way to start is to follow a video tutorial(s) to write your first few applications. The video I used with the kids, ages 10-13, on my FIRST Lego League team was Build the Paint Pot App. Those kids went on to write the Triag application in the picture shown above. The Paint Pot App allows you to draw circles and lines on a picture taken with your device’s camera.
- In the second browser window, go to Build the Paint Pot App.
- In the second window, step through each of the videos (1-7), pausing as needed to allow time to code the application in the Designer and Block Editor – window one.
When you are finished with the step 7 video, you should have your completed Paint Pot application!! Pretty Cool!
On that same tutorial page are other video tutorials under the header APPS(AI2). These are for App Inventor version 2. Those under the APPS(Classic) header are for the older version of App Inventor. I suggest Android Mash.
Once you have completed a few video tutorials, you can try some of these written tutorials for App Inventor 2. These are great tutorials too!
HAVE FUN CREATING YOUR OWN ANDROID APPS!!