The goal of our NSF project, Computational Thinking Through Mobile Computing, is to introduce undergraduate students to computational thinking (CT) by engaging them to create apps for mobile phones and tablets that are both useful and personally meaningful. CT is a 21st century STEM literacy whose concepts are needed by informed citizens and workers to solve problems and understand complex systems in many domains.
In our project, students learn CT by creating mobile apps using App Inventor, a visual blocks-based programming environment. We are developing online curricular modules that use mobile app programming to teach CT principles and mobile computing design concepts. These modules include web-based tutorials, video lectures, screencasts, programming exercises, and quizzes --- online materials that give students more in-class time to engage in active learning. Several introductory and intermediate courses are being developed based on these modules. We are also devising, testing, and evaluating new techniques for assessing students' CT knowledge in the context of mobile computing and project-based courses.
In partnership with MIT's new Center for Mobile Learning, we will disseminate curricular materials, course designs, and assessment rubrics, and build a national community of undergraduate educators focused on teaching CT via mobile computing.
As part of our project, we are leading a 2.5 day workshop for college faculty who want to use App Inventor in their courses. The workshop will be held June 19 -- 21, 2013 at UMass Lowell. Space is limited. To apply to attend, fill out this application form by Fri. April 5, 2013. Preference will be given to undergraduate faculty who have concrete plans to incorporate App Inventor into one of their courses in the 2013-14 academic year. Contact Franklyn Turbak with any questions about this workshop.