Train the Trainer exercises and videos

For the BCSWomen "App-a-Thon" Guinness World Record Attempt

Author: Hannah Dee, Senior lecturer, Computer Science, Aberstwyth University. Contact: / @handee.

1. Trainers, start here

There are some videos and some exercises as part of this training. The first video introduces you to the AppInventor software, and gets you started.

Once you've watched that, the next thing to do is to build some apps!. There are actually some fairly clear instructions in the workshop handout. Take a look at that, and do the exercise which involves the cat's meow. It won't take long. You can find the handout here: appinventor_handout2.0.pdf.

Read the handout fully - it'll be given to all the workshop attendees, so it's important that you can follow it.

The workshop resources can be found here:

Build the Meow App, and test it on an android device.

2. Getting apps on devices

As you'll know there are lots of ways of getting apps onto devices. Here's a video which explains that in a little more depth, and has some examples.

In the workshop, you should get people to use whichever method they (and you) are comfortable with - for me, I've always found the QR code method to be easiest. AIcompanion is good for iterative development. Know what the methods are though, and remember "email to the phone" is the fallback should always work option.

Using your meow app from 1, view it using:

  1. Your device and MIT AI2Companion
  2. Your device and the QR code method
  3. Your device and the "email it to myself" method
  4. The emulator

The last of these can be tricky - particularly on linux - but should work OK on Windows.

3. Getting familiar with AppInventor

You should now spend a bit of time working your way through a tutorial or two to get familiar with building apps. I like these ones:

There are a lot of tutorials on the appinventor site - take a look and have a play. Here's the list: List of tutorials.

I'm not going to give specific instructions in this section - basically I'd like trainers to spend an hour or two playing with AppInventor. See what it can do. Try to work out the kinds of apps you can make. Have a play, and start to get comfortable with the software.

4. The Workshop Overview

This video gives an outline of the day, and some troubleshooting advice.

The workshop slides are here: gwr_appinventor_slides.pdf. This is a modifified version specifically for the world record attempt, and it might change a little before the day (we'll issue final slides nearer the time). The Android bit is unlikely to change though - what might change is branding (due to sponsorship) and record-keeping/Guinness related information.

Read through the slides, and be sure you understand what's going on at each point.

5. Wobble tables and accelerometers

Finally - this video talks a bit about mobile and the nature of mobile, and it also covers an app which can be used during the day with an obstacle course. The idea of the app is that it adds up "wobble" (I call it accelerometergame, or wobbletable). This video has some live coding and some debugging, too.

Here's a picture of that activity when we ran the day in Machynlleth: this is Rob (aged 16), half way around our "obstacle course" (just an area of the playground with a few chairs out of shot making a slalom bit), using my android tablet as a tilt table. We had a scoreboard just inside the door; it got everyone outside and talking about mobile. You don't have to do it outside - a circuit of the room is fine.

Here's the code: the starting point; finished thing if you want to cheat.