Over the past couple of years smart phones have grown in popularity and any one with this tool knows there’s an app for just about anything. If you want to track the amount of time you spend on a project, take notes in a meeting, get reviews on nearby restaurants, or even track your workouts there are a plethora of apps to choose from on iTunes or the Android Market. Have you ever needed an app, but couldn’t find one that covered all of your needs? If you have an Android based phone, Google has swooped in to save the day. With the Google App Inventor, anyone that is able to drag and drop can now create their own app from any computer.
Currently, the project is in the beta stage, but you can request access for educational purposes. Since there are so many functions available when creating your app, (maps, GPS, text, notifications, images, manipulating objects, etc.) Google has provided various tutorials to scaffold the learning process for you. The most basic tutorial has you insert an image of a cat, an audio file and some text, so when the app is added to your smart phone, the phone will vibrate and meow when you pet (or poke) the cat with your finger. In more advanced tutorials, you can learn how to create an app that will automatically respond to any incoming texts while you are driving letting the other person know that you aren’t able to respond right away. Oprah would be so proud!
What does this mean in eduation? Well, what are your needs? If you have ever said to yourself, “Gosh, I wish I had a way to (fill in the blank),” then this is your opportunity to do just that! Create apps that will serve as a gradebook with tools that you want, take attendance, write down your lecture notes then email them to the class, or create an app that does all of the above. With Google App Inventor, the possibilites are as broad as your thinking.