MIT Launches Center for Mobile Learning

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology will Open Center for Mobile Learning with App Inventor Research, writes Tim Sohn at

The first project will study and extend an App Inventor for Android, for educational technology use.

The tool, developed by Google Labs, is designed to allow anyone to create apps by using a graphical interface of buttons and menus in a web browser called the Open Blocks Java library. It is intended to be used by both novices and programmers. Google, which is in the process of open-sourcing the App Inventor code, released the beta version in 2009, writes Sohn.

Google Education provided an undisclosed amount of seed funding for the opening of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Center for Mobile Learning.

Maggie Johnson, Google's director of education and university relations, sees the Media Lab initiative as the next step for App Inventor:

"Google incubated App Inventor to the point where it gained critical mass. MIT's involvement will both amplify the impact of App Inventor and enrich the research around it."

The center will be run by Hal Abelson, professor of computer science and engineering; Eric Klopfer, professor of science education; and Mitchel Resnick, professor of media arts and sciences.

"At MIT, App Inventor will adopt an enriched research agenda with increased opportunities to influence the educational community. In a way, App Inventor has now come full circle, as I actually initiated App Inventor at Google by proposing it as a project during my sabbatical with the company in 2008. The core code for App Inventor came from Eric Klopfer's lab, and the inspiration came from Mitch Resnick's Scratch project. The new center is a perfect example of how industry and academia can collaborate effectively to create change enabled by technology, and we look forward to seeing what we can do next together," wrote Abelson in a Google Research Blog.

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Matthew Tabor

Matthew Tabor

Matthew is a prolific, independent voice in the national education debate. He is a tireless advocate for high academic standards from pre-K through graduate school, fiscal sense and personal responsibility. He values parents’ and families’ rights and believes in accountability for teachers, administrators, politicians and all taxpayer-funded education entities. With a unique background that includes work in higher education, executive recruiting, professional sport and government, Matthew has consulted on new media and communication strategies for a broad range of clients. He writes the blog “Education for the Aughts” at , has contributed to National Journal’s ‘Expert’ blog for Education , and interacts with the education community on Twitter and Google+.
09 6, 2011
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