Purpose: "With the deep interest in mobile technologies among teenagers, our recent outreach has focused on using smartphones as a new context. This paper is an experience report describing our approach and observations from teaching a summer camp for high school students using App Inventor (AI). The paper describes two separate methods (one using a visual block language, and another using Java) that were taught to high school students as a way to create Android applications" (p. 1).
Findings: "... we found that mobile computing provides a powerful new context for motivating computational thinking. The 40 students attending our AI week of camp across two years were exposed to both the AI block language and the Java Bridge to familiarize them with multiple environments and solutions, GUI development, and Java. It was clear that students needed solidification of Java concepts at the beginning of the week. Based on information in Table 2, we feel the approach of teaching a visual language followed by Java (using common examples in each) allowed students to gain the confidence necessary to build applications, while reinforcing core concepts such as objects, decision statements, and methods. In a separate week, we also used AI in a teacher-focused workshop (supported by a Google CS4HS grant) where science teachers were taught how to create apps focused on their classroom needs" (p. 6).
Sample Size: 40
Participant Type: Students at a camp
Notes: "AI was the focus of our third and final week of camp, meeting for a total of 35 hours over a 5-day period" (p. 2).