App Design Instructors Programming Thoughts about Class

DML Conference Excitement & Android APPInventor

Today, I got a visitor while preparing for class.  Although he was great to speak with, he totally through off my preparation.  Students entered the class and I still had a bit of setup to do.


Nonetheless, we shared the excitement about the DML Conference (#DML2011), the STEM Showcase at Howard University Middle School, and our new effort to create web pages for each and every student so those interested in learning more about them and the project can meet them online.


We then moved to App Inventor.  This is where we discovered that the Blocks Editor wouldn’t work on many laptops and got stalled for a bit.  We are still trying to deal with a few technical difficulties – I’m told has something to do with OpenJava and SunJava (could there be a conflict?).  *Remember we are using Ubuntu Linux machines.

There are several students who have everything working just fine, so I displayed a working version on the projector to give everyone a taste of what’s to come.  I identified several times when I could work with students individual to resolve any issues and am bringing home a laptop to explore and test resolutions.


Aside from the technical difficulties, I’m happy to hear that 3 of 4 student teams are interested in working on an app that works with lego mindstorm robots.  This should be fun. I will bring robots to class from now on to allow for further exploration.  I may also add this to our robotics program this coming summer (  I’m pretty excited by the possibilities.


OK, I have to make a comment about this because I am really tired of eating pizza guys! 🙂  …an meal we’ve had since October.  We will try our 3rd pizza place on Thursday, but after that, I hope students are willing to try something else.  The challenge is we need a place to deliver.  So, if any reading this has suggestions, please feel free to share in the comments section below.


Other than that, I am really excited to see each student begin to see their app designs come to life in App Inventor.  Although we had a minor set back in class today, it’s nothing we can’t get past soon.  Many app ideas are extremely interesting and some are working really hard to convey a meaningful app.

This should be fun.