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17 August 2011, 16:36

Google donates App Inventor to MIT's new Center for Mobile Learning

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The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has announced the formation of the new MIT Center for Mobile Learning, seeded by the gift from Google of App Inventor for Android, the browser-based tool for the visual creation of Android apps. Initial funding is being made available from Google Education. Following its decision to close Google Labs, the company announced that it would be shutting down App Inventor; however, it also stated its intention to open source the project and, ideally, have the tool live on as an educational platform.

The new centre will "focus on the design and study of new mobile technologies and applications, enabling people to learn anywhere anytime with anyone". Its first activities will focus on App Inventor, with further projects taking on educational use subjects such as location-aware learning applications, mobile sensing and data collection, and augmented reality gaming.

This is not the first connection between MIT and App Inventor. Hal Abelson, one of the three MIT professors who will serve as co-directors of the centre, first conceived an idea that led to the development of App Inventor during time he spent at Google on sabbatical in 2008. Following a test period started in 2009, Google made App Inventor available as a beta in 2010, since which time a community of about 100,000 educators, students, and hobbyists has developed.

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