AndroidApps

Can’t find the Android app that you need? Let students create them!

Alejandro Ruiz –  Victor Capeluto

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Objective

  • Encourage independent thinking and students´ creativity
  • Encourage teamwork
  • Adequately implement tools and necessary knowledge to develop apps for a given subject
  • Upload students apps in “Google Play” so that they can recognize their achievements, not only themselves but also every person who enters the market
  • Strength relationship between 10 year students (developers) and those students who will make use of the apps (final users)
  • Promote “learning through service”

Taking into consideration that this year Middle school has incorporate “Android Tablets” as part of the “1a1” programme which will continue increasing in the following years  we decided that students should be participants in this process.

Why Apps?

The incorporation of different devices in high schools for students and teachers is generating a greater integration between technology and education within the school, and is creating greater educational opportunities.

In particular, are the smartphones and tablets, which have the advantage of their portability, the battery that allows between 8 and 12 hours of connectivity, and touch screen that generates greater interactivity.

The use of tablets in the classroom has had a great impact for students, as its a dominant intuitive device, it holds a great variety of educational content, they can be used as text books, video or audio devices, for games, as well as surfing the web.

This has generated between software developers a massive inclination towards the programming of applications for touch screen devices, in versions for android, as well as Mac (IPad or IPod)

This is why as part of the program for year 12, we decided to incorporate a unit for students to be able to develop applications that other school subjects may use.

To be able to develop them, we decided to use the tool created by Google “App Inventor”, currently maintained by MIT for the programming of apps in Android devices.

This tool allows to start with basic programming knowledge and progress to different levels of difficulty, utilizing a graphic interphase that allows students to drag and drop objects to creat the adequate code. The tool uses a “puzzle” type format that achieves the programming be more simple for students.

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Planning

Needs’s Survey:

  • Teachers are asked and different  topics are evaluated, most appropriate ones for making an app  will be assigned  to a student group
  • Students  consult with teachers about needs in detail, models of the application are made for the teacher to evaluate them and to verify the correct interpretation of the idea.
  • Following steps will be performed tu support the application:
  • Design
  • Development
  • Documentation
  • Google Play publication

Tool to be used:

  • Having an internet access
  • It must acquire an account in http://appinventor.mit.edu/, or in the case of our school they may use directly the  email account
  • It must have a PC with a browser and java version 6 (or later)
  •  We recommend installing a device emulator to test android app. In this site you can read more about it and download the emulator: http;//explore.appinventor.mit.edu/content/windows
  • A android devide to fully test the application.

Process:

This involved the following steps:

Research needs and goals:

  • Select a  subject  that may be interested in using apps in its classroom
  • Choosing a class activity that can be replaced by an app

Design:

  • Establish requirements that the application must accomplish
  • Perform design in word format

Development:

  • Create the app by using the tool “App inventor” according to design set up in previous step

Documentation:

  • Performing the appropriate report explaining each step of the programming app

Google play publication:

  • Upload the app to the Android store so that it can be used anywhere

Evaluation:

The evaluation has been performed through the use of  “Evaluation Criteria” . year 12 students are familiarized with this evaluation form since they are commonly used in IB exams. For the same reason we have decided that the rating scale will be the same as used in IB.

10- Excellent

8/9- Very good

7- Good

6- Satisfactory

4/5- Mediocre

2/3- Poor

1- Very poor

Criteria established for this study taking into consideration that each of them is focused on a specific  skill that students are expected to  demonstrate, were:

A-Objective (2 points)

B-Disign (2 ponts)

C-Development (4 points)

D-Documentation (2 points)

Some Examples (You can download from Google Play):

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