Programming students design mobile apps

At Volunteer State Community College (Tennessee), students are developing applications for Android mobile phones in an introductory programming class, reports Community College Times.

“With Google App Inventor all you have to do is have the correct thought process,” said Dan Arena, an associate professor at the college. “It’s cool. Within a couple of weeks students were writing programs for app development.”

Two student projects are available as free downloads: “Donut Text” lets texters send automatic replies while driving and have the text read aloud; “EchoTxt” lets texters speak and send a reply text simply by shaking the phone.

“I was the group leader for EchoTxt. It was my first time being in charge,” said student Casey Meador. “It was really fun but also frustrating at times. We would get in and do something and it wouldn’t work. Then we would all get together and work out a solution. That was cool.”

“There are certain fundamental aspects of programing that App Inventor allows you to do, without knowing a lot of programming, said Henry Forson, a software engineer for Toshiba who worked with the Donut Text team. “Historically in introductory programming classes about half of the students don’t complete. We didn’t have that.”