If THEY want to get it done – AppInventor is magic

Now and then I have students which not seem to be very interested in programming: this year a group of 14 girls and 5 boys aged 14 did not respond too enthusiastic to my offer to just snoop into some programming. The boys just seemed to be bored but the girls clearly voted against it: no, no, nobody wants to do such technical crap.

I told them I want them to try. Only one hour — then they should decide again. Luckily my installation of MIT AppInventor was well tested so it took me about 20 minutes for all of them to be registered with Appinventor and trying “Hello World”. OK, they did it and I had their attention.

Now I told them to use Text-To-Speech. Let their mobile speak. Not only “Hello” – but every other text they could imagine.

They could imagine and did not stop to try, to experiment, to laugh wildly about their mobile doing what they told them. I had to throw them out of the classroom when the lesson ended – they would not have noticed it.

Giving them ideas what to do (the AI tutorials) resulted in concentrated work since then: groups of 2 to 4 students try to implement their ideas, working harder than ever. They want to get it done, their ideas come to live. No one has to tell them what to do, what to search for, what questions to ask and – most notably – to try hard!

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