App Development Proposal

The final project for EdTech597 is to develop an app of my own choosing. In my previous class (EdTech 532 Games and Simulations) I designed a very large math game that teaches math in the context of internship scenarios. At the beginning of the game, students take and interest inventory. The results are used to place students in fictitious businesses. Their math abilities are assessed in the background, always within the context of their internships. Students learn the math they do not know through the activities and tasks they are assigned to at each company.

The internship game will take a lot of time and resources to develop. The app I am developing for EdTech597 will take me one step closer. The app is one activity within one internship scenario. Students work in a candy factory where candies are sold individually, in trays of 10, and in cartons that hold 10 trays. Working with numbers in this way gives students a context for regrouping. Every 10 candies can fill a tray. Every 10 trays can fill a carton. Cartons and trays can be “regrouped” as needed based on a company’s order.

This week’s assignment was to create an App Development Proposal. I got a little lost in the process because I didn’t have a good understanding of the steps required for this project. I wish we could have had one face-to-face meeting as a class where we could get an overview of the project, ask questions, share ideas, get clarification, etc.

In the process of developing my proposal, I created some of the user interface and see that I have many moving parts that could easily get lost. I will have to be very organized as I create the code blocks or I could easily miss a part that would cause the program to fail. I hope I will able to complete what I have set out to do.

Geometry Quiz

This week’s assignment involved creating a quiz using a different image for each quiz question. I thought this was a great opportunity to create a geometry quiz using everyday images. Most geometric images in nature are fairly complex, so the hardest part of creating this app was to find images (that allowed for sharing under a Creative Commons license) and showed simple geometric characteristics.

After finding the images, the programming itself was fairly simple. The most fiddly part was creating a photo credit page. One area where App Inventor is lacking is the ability to customize text on the screen. I had originally chose to use a default font and used spaces to separate the text below each photo. Then I realized that this would probably look very different depending on the device this application is used on. So then I set the font to a monospace font and defined the space between by pixel width. This still may show up differently, depending on your device, but I think there’s less chance in significant shifting of text.

I think there is a way to define a table, which would be perfect for this situation, but I haven’t found information on it yet. I’ll have to do some browsing around the net to see what I can find when I need to do this again.

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To try this app on your Android device, use this QR Code.
QR Code

Project-Based Learning

During this course on developing apps, I’m learning more than app development. I’m discovering what makes learning more interesting for me. While my findings may not work for everyone, I find it interesting that my findings confirm some of the most recent trends in education.

Two weeks ago I found I was more motivated to dig deeper and challenge myself when the app I created was related to a topic I’m interested in–math education. It was easy enough to make a connection from the prescribed project and Number Bug. By personalizing the assignment, I became invested in developing an app I could be proud of.

Last week I was disengaged because the assigned app required a “prescription” and the app wasn’t something I found interesting. Even though I choose a topic I found interesting, Natural Wonders of the World, I couldn’t find an engagement point. As a teacher using project-based learning, I would provide one-on-one guidance for my students. Knowing the options available in App Inventor, I would use leading questions to help my students discover an engagement point that would turn on interest and motivation. After my experiences, I know that this is an element that will make all the difference to a student’s learning.

An example of container for geocaching game, C...

An example of container for geocaching game, Czech Republic. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This week, I was able to find that engagement point for myself. I have always been interested in geocaching and know that there are many geocache sites in my area. I searched the web and discovered a Cape Cod Towns geocache list–a list of 14 towns and the location of a geocache in each town. Using Google maps, I could put in the latitude and longitude for each location and write a clue for my app users to attempt to follow. For users who find my clues too cryptic or don’t have luck following them, the app will provide directions from their current location.

I had a similar experience as two weeks ago in that I dug in, searched the web, asked questions, and solve problems I wouldn’t have had if I had stuck with the basic assignment. I pushed myself to combine things I had learned in previous weeks. In addition to learning more, I have more pride in my work when I push myself.

If you’d like to take up the Cape Cod Towns geocache hunt, download my app using the QR Code below. Have fun! Let me know about your adventure and if the clues were helpful.




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My First App

a drawing of a 4 piece jigsaw puzzle

Using App Inventor to create my first app was an interesting experience. I felt like I was putting together a jigsaw puzzle with step-by-step directions for where to place and how to place each piece so that pieces perfectly snapped into place. Surprisingly, it was a stress-free, frustration-free experience. I was expecting for things not to immediately work right. I’m thrilled my expectations were NOT met!

This first app, and many others, will require me to work with training wheels. My concern right now is that I won’t learn all the features of App Inventor well enough to create an app on my own. I guess only time will tell.

Here’s a QR Code that will allow you to download my app to an Android device. It’s a simple app that shows a picture of my cat. A tap of the button or a shake of the device will produce a meow. That’s all . . . for now.

QR code for HelloPurr app

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