Getting Started in the Classroom
App Inventor lets you develop applications for Android phones using a web browser and either a connected phone or an on-screen phone emulator. The MIT App Inventor servers store your work and help you keep track of your projects.
You build apps by working with:
- The App Inventor Designer, where you select the components for your app.
- The App Inventor Blocks Editor, where you assemble program blocks that specify how the components should behave. You assemble programs visually, fitting pieces together like pieces of a puzzle.
Your app appears on the phone step-by-step as you add pieces to it, so you can test your work as you build. If you don’t have an Android phone, you can build your apps using the Android emulator, software that runs on your computer and behaves just like the phone.
The App Inventor development environment is supported for Mac OS X, GNU/Linux, and Windows operating systems, and most Android phone models. Applications created with App Inventor can be installed on any Android phone.
Setting Up App Inventor
Setting up your classroom for App Inventor should not be difficult. Before you can use App Inventor, you need to set up computers in the classroom, and in certain cases, install the App Inventor Setup package on computers. See App Inventor 2 Setup Instructions.
FIRST, Try setting up and running App Inventor by following the Setup instructions linked from above. If you have any trouble, a list of common problems and solutions are available on the Troubleshooting page.
Connecting Over Wifi
Check out the How does my Android device connect over wifi? page for an explanation of how the wifi connection to the phone works.
Please refer to the general App Inventor FAQ for questions not specifically related to education.
Do my students need to have Google accounts?
App Inventor users need to have Google accounts. The login authentication and storage for projects is linked to a Google account. But students don’t need to use that account for any purpose other than App Inventor.
Can I have my students all use the same account?
App Inventor is not set up to deal with multiple users of a single account. With multiple users creating projects simultaneously, the information for the different users will interfere and the projects will become inconsistent.
Do I need to provide phones for all of my students?
We encourage those educators who have chosen to use phones to share ideas and experiences on the App Inventor for Educators website about how they have acquired them. App Inventor offers the ability to develop using the Android emulator that shows up in a window on the computer screen. Using the emulator isn’t as good as a physical phone, because students can’t carry their apps around with them. But using the emulator does mean that you can run a class with only a few phones: Students can develop on the emulator and then load the apps on the phone for final testing and demonstrations.