MIT has received some funding from Google Education to launch a new mobile learning centre focusing on “the design and study of new mobile technologies and applications, enabling people to learn anywhere anytime with anyone”. Not surprising since it is being funded by Google that Android looks like the platform the center will be concentrating on, at least initially.
While I am breathless to see what kind of mobile apps will come out of the center, I am equally excited that the center will be focusing on developing and improving App Inventor for Android.
The Center’s first activity will focus on App Inventor for Android, a programming system that makes it easy for learners to create mobile apps for Android smart phones by visually fitting together puzzle piece-shaped “programming blocks” in a web browser.
App Inventor was in a bit of a limbo after Google announced it was shutting down Google Labs, and by having the lab take over the development ensures that the platform will live on, at least awhile longer. And by focusing on App Inventor, the center will continue to develop a tool that empowers learners to create their own mobile learning apps. While a good mobile learning app developed at an MIT lab is a very good thing, there is something even better about developing a simple platform and ecosystem that allows people to create and share their own mobile learning apps.