MIT Master Trainers Program in Educational Mobile Computing

Lead Instructor(s): 

Hal Abelson


TBD 2017

Course Length: 

3 Days
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MIT will offer a Master Trainers Program to certify K-16 educators and other professionals in mobile computing education using the MIT App Inventor platform. This professional development program will seed a global community of experts on mobile app development who are available to guide others through the exploration of mobile app creation. These experts will lead workshops in communities, schools, and afterschool programs to empower teachers and students as they become mobile app designers, thus providing a pathway into computer science, software development, and other disciplines relevant in today's digital world.

MIT App Inventor Certified Master Trainers join an elite cadre of experts able to promote computer science education, conduct MIT App Inventor trainings to groups of educators and/or students and serve as a resource for educators and teachers who seek to infuse mobile computing education into their organizations, programs, and classrooms. Participants will receive an official MIT Certificate of Completion after successfully finishing the 3-day in-person workshop. Their names will be added as Certified Master Trainers to the MIT App Inventor website. Certification is good for two years and can be renewed.


  • Six-week App Inventor MOOC Mobile Computing with App Inventor – CS Principles (ID Verified Certificate of Achievement: $50) offered by edX starting October 19. Registration for this MOOC has closed.
  • Master Trainer applicants who already have experience teaching App Inventor can submit proof of coursework taught in lieu of taking Mobile Computing with App Inventor – CS Principles.
  • Ten weeks of online independent coursework beginning January 11, 2016 (included in the $3,000 course fee).

MIT has been a leader in computing education since the 1960s. That leadership began with the seminal work of Seymour Papert, work that is today more influential than ever. The same research is assuming a major role in the emerging world of mobile computing, through MIT App Inventor, a free, blocks-based visual programming language that enables everyone, even those with no prior coding experience, to create mobile apps for Android devices. Currently, over 3 million MIT App Inventor users from 195 countries have created over 8 million mobile apps in the easy-to-use web application. Beyond teaching people to code and providing an on-ramp to computer science, MIT App Inventor users also learn a wealth of other skills including: computational thinking, problem solving, engineering design, logic, and entrepreneurship.

Participant Takeaways: 

Master Trainers will develop expertise in the following areas:

  • The App Inventor mission and mobile computing education
  • App Inventor technical set-up, platform navigation, software development & trouble-shooting
  • Computer science principles, Design Thinking processes, computational thinking
  • Pedagogy for mobile app development, CS unplugged activities, App Inventor in curriculum
  • Accessing mobile computing resources: tutorials, forums, contests, camps, etc.
  • Entrepreneurship opportunities (in app development and for trainers)

Who Should Attend: 

An ideal participant is someone with:

  • An aptitude or excitement for coding or computer science
  • Knowledge of pedagogy or teaching experience
  • A passion for educational technology, computer science and problem solving
  • An interest in mobile computing education

Potential participants:

  • Teachers who have used App Inventor or similar tools in their classroom and want to expand upon that level of engagement
  • Teachers who want to use technology in curriculum (for CS or non-CS classes)
  • Graduate students or recent graduates who have a computer science background and are interested in teaching or educational technology
  • Former classroom teachers who are pursuing other educational endeavors
  • Club leaders who would like to infuse technology education into their after-school programs
  • Professors who want to teach mobile app making in a college setting
  • Post-docs who seek to supplement their knowledge or research

Program Outline: 

Part 1:
October 2015

  • Starting October 19, 2015, prospective Master Trainers must complete the edX online course Mobile Computing with App Inventor – CS Principles and purchase the ID Verified Certificate of Achievement. Topics of the MOOC include: event-driven programming, working with images, location based app development, SMS app messaging, building a strategy game app, etc. Master Trainer applicants who already have experience teaching App Inventor can submit proof of coursework taught rather than taking the MOOC. The deadline for the MOOC has now passed.

Part 2:
December 2015/January 2016

  • Completed online application is due December 14, 2015.
  • The non-refundable application fee is $75 (this amount is credited towards the program fee upon enrollment).
  • Acceptance decisions will be made and communicated by email by January 4, 2016.
  • Accepted Master Trainers begin ten weeks of online training. The self-paced online curriculum will start January 11, 2016 and includes:A reading list
    • Computer science terms
    • Technical set-up tutorials
    • App building tutorials
    • The App Inventor mission and goals
    • Unleashing creativity with App Inventor
    • Platform navigation shortcuts and tips
    • Developing more complex mobile applications
    • User interface design & design principles
    • Pedagogy
    • Computational thinking (problem solving)
    • Design Thinking (idea → prototype)
    • Creating apps with social impact
    • Building, publishing, and selling apps in app markets
    • Entrepreneurship principles
  • The self-paced online curriculum is required preparation for the on-campus workshop and is not a separate class.

Part 3:
March 2016

The extensive online preparation will enable participants to achieve about the same level of knowledge before arriving to the workshop on campus. This will enable participants to take deeper dives into mobile app development and teaching strategies during the group projects. Accepted Master Trainers attend a three-day in-person workshop at MIT March 24-26, 2016. The workshop will include lectures, discussion sessions, and collaborative group work. Some topics covered include: technical set-up, CS concepts, IT troubleshooting, debugging strategies, the Design Thinking process, pedagogy, problem solving, computational thinking, creating trainings, etc.

Course Schedule: 

This course meets 9:00 am - 5:00 pm, each day, preceded by breakfast at 8:30 am.

On the first day of class there is a networking reception/cocktail party from 5:30 - 7:30 pm.

Thursday, March 24 (Student-Centric)

  • Breakfast
  • Welcome and Introduction
  • Why App Inventor?
  • Design Thinking
  • Break
  • Design Thinking
  • Lunch (on your own)
  • App Inventor Behind the Scenes
  • App Inventor Group Hands-On
  • Break
  • App Inventor Group Hands-On
  • Networking reception/Cocktail Party

Friday, March 25 (Teacher-Centric)

  • Breakfast
  • Apps as Self-expression
  • Maker Cards
  • Break
  • What are the Challenges of Facilitating for Adults/Teachers?
  • Role-Play: Dealing with Challenging Participants
  • Lunch (on your own)
  • Teaching App Inventor
  • Sharing Apps
  • Break
  • Setup and Troubleshooting
  • App Inventor Group Hands-On

Saturday, March 26 (Master Trainers)

  • Breakfast
  • Upcoming Features of App Inventor
  • Break
  • Master Trainer Expectations
  • Plans for Outreach and Future Work
  • Lunch (on your own)
  • Discussion of Training Formats
  • Break
  • TBD
  • Summary Discussion



This course takes place on the MIT campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts.


Fundamentals: Core concepts, understandings, and tools (40%) 40
Latest Developments: Recent advances and future trends (30%) 30
Industry Applications: Linking theory and real-world (30%) 30

Delivery Methods: 

Lecture: Delivery of material in a lecture format (20%) 20
Discussion or Groupwork: Participatory learning (40%) 40
Labs: Demonstrations, experiments, simulations (40%) 40



Introductory: Appropriate for a general audience (25%) 25
Specialized: Assumes experience in practice area or field (60%) 60
Advanced: In-depth explorations at the graduate level (15%) 15