App Inventor Setup

1. Complete the Student Activities

Complete the activities under Unit 1 Lesson 1.4. Note that you'll want to test the setup at your school during the summer, before students arrive. However, you'll want the students to go through the process of using the TestApp to make sure they understand how to try their apps out either on a device or through the emulator. You could also point out the setup instructions for those wanting to use App Inventor at home.

2. Review the Lesson Plan

Content Standards (CS)

Learning Objectives
(What students must be able to do)
Essential Knowledge
(What students need to know)
1.1.1 Use computing tools and techniques to create artifacts. [P2] 1.1.1a How to set up a user account on the App Inventor server and get things configured for building mobile apps.

Student Objectives (Knowledge and Skills)

Students will be able to:
  • Register as a user on App Inventor's development server.
  • Setup and configure their device (phone or tablet) for use in the course.
  • Create a simple app to test the setup.

Assessment Evidence

  • Formative Assessment: Observation that students can successfully set up their devices and run the test app.

Materials

Access to a computer lab, wi-fi, and an Android device

Learning Activities

  • Hook/Motivation (5 minutes): App Inventor is an online application, hosted by a server on the Internet. It is accessible through a Web browser. For best results it is recommended that we use the Google Chrome browser. Go to App Inventor 2. Users can register to use the App Inventor service through their Google Gmail accounts. Have the students sign in using the accounts they created for the class.
  • Experiences and Explorations (30 minutes): Before using App Inventor to run an app, set up the devices. Walk students through the step-by-step setup instructions (for Wifi, USB, and Android Emulator) or the Other Emulator instructions. (Ideally, you will want all 3 options for setup available, but you'll need at least one to work.) After setting up the devices walk the students through the instructions for the TestApp.
    • Depending on the number of students in your class, you should have students pair up (if needed, have one team of 3). Have one student in each group use their Google account for setting up the device (unless the device being used can hold multiple Google accounts). Each student should follow the instructions for the Test App. But, have only one student in the group connect the device to their App Inventor companion. The other group members should look on while the connection is being made between the device and the companion.
  • Rethink, Reflect and/or Revise (5 minutes): Observe the students. Have all of the students been able to successfully run the test app on their devices?

3. Reflect on the Activities & Lesson Plan

Consider how to get App Inventor set up in your school. What is the process for working with your IT department to ensure that the App Inventor site is not blocked? You will also need to install a small helper program if you want to run the emulator (for those students who may not have access to a phone). What is the process to get approval to install new software? If you have devices, the best way to connect is over WiFi - does your district allow this? We recommend you start this now as it can sometimes take a few weeks to a few months to get all the approvals, installation and testing completed.

Use an Android mobile device lab. Students really enjoy seeing the app they have just created on a device that they can show to others. If possible, invest in an Android mobile device lab, with at least one device for every two students. They will often be programming in pairs and can share a device. You can purchase cell phones with no plan through Target, Walmart, Amazon and other locations. If you do not have an equipment budget, you could work with your local community to have them donate older phones (preferably with a touch screen) that still work.

Be sure to check out the App Inventor Troubleshooting page if there are any issues setting up App Inventor in your lab. You may also find this document, specific to schools, helpful.