Students work through an online tutorial on MIT's App Inventor to learn how to create Android applications. Using those skills, they create their own applications and use them to collect data from an Android device accelerometer and store that data to databases. NOTE: Teachers and students must have a working knowledge of basic programming and App Inventor to complete this lesson. This lesson is not an introduction to MIT's App Inventor and is not recommended for use without prior knowledge of App Inventor to produce an end product. This lesson is an application for App Inventor that allows for the storage of persistent data (data that remains in memory even if an app is closed). This required prior knowledge can come from other experiences with the App Inventor. Also, many additional resources are available, such as tutorials from MIT. This lesson could also be used as an enrichment project for students who are self-motivated to learn the App Inventor software.
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- International Technology and Engineering Educators Association: Technology
- H. The design process includes defining a problem, brainstorming, researching and generating ideas, identifying criteria and specifying constraints, exploring possibilities, selecting an approach, developing a design proposal, making a model or prototype, testing and evaluating the design using specifications, refining the design, creating or making it, and communicating processes and results. (Grades 9 - 12)  ...show
- I. Established design principles are used to evaluate existing designs, to collect data, and to guide the design process. (Grades 9 - 12)  ...show
- National Science Education Standards: Science
- Use technology and mathematics to improve investigations and communications. A variety of technologies, such as hand tools, measuring instruments, and calculators, should be an integral component of scientific investigations. The use of computers for the collection, analysis, and display of data is also a part of this standard. Mathematics plays an essential role in all aspects of an inquiry. For example, measurement is used for posing questions, formulas are used for developing explanations, and charts and graphs are used for communicating results. (Grades 9 - 12)  ...show
- Nebraska: Science
- Recognize creativity, imagination, and a good knowledge base are all needed to advance the work of science and engineering (Grades 9 - 12)  ...show
- Explain how the TinyDB in App Inventor can store data from an Android device.
- Describe and compare each step in the software/system design process with the engineering design process.
- Describe the tasks that can be done by the tutorial application. (Answer: The application can show graphics, take user input, and store data.)
- What is the purpose of the TinyDB (tiny database)? (Answer: Using the database allows data to be persistent. This means the data stays in the memory even if the app is closed.)
- Describe how to retrieve data once it has been stored in a database. (Answer: Every entry in the database has a specific tag, usually a number or letter. By sending the tag name to the database, it knows which piece of data to send back.)
- What kind of applications could we construct using these same tools? (Answers will vary. Example answer: Applications that store information such as directions for finding a parked car, locker combinations, phone numbers, and important dates.)
Lesson Background and Concepts for Teachers
|accelerometer:||A sensor that measures the acceleration of an object.|
|persistent data:||Data that remains accessible for later use even after the application that created it closes and stops functioning.|
|TinyDB:||A database on an Android device that can be used to store persistent data.|
- Android App Development - Students apply the engineering (software/system) design process to plan, develop and test mobile apps. The app they design uses the TinyDB on an Android device to store persistent data for later use. The activity focuses on the creation of a software program, but the underlying goal is to provide students with experience and practice in applying a design process to accomplish a goal.
- Describe what you know about the engineering design/software design process. (Answer: It is a cyclical and iterative process that helps to accomplish a task/goal. It includes numerous steps: analysis of the problem, design of a solution, implementation of the design, testing of the design, and possible revisions, refinements and/or extensions of the design.)
- How can you apply a design process specifically to writing a mobile Android app? (The design process can be applied to many situations including the creation of mobile apps. First, you identify the specific problem you want to address. Next, you develop some possible solutions and implement the most promising one. Then, you thoroughly test your implementation to see if it functions correctly. Finally, you make any revisons and refinements to the implementation.)
Scott Burns, Brian Sandall
© 2013 by Regents of the University of Colorado; original © 2012 Board of Regents, University of Nebraska
IMPART RET Program, College of Information Science & Technology, University of Nebraska-Omaha
Last modified: March 5, 2015