Pauline Lake

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A prominent, ongoing research study, sponsored by the NSF and College Board, aims to increase college student participation in Computer Science (CS) by offering a new introductory CS course that uses the program, App Inventor. Our study argues, however, that student participation should be targeted at an earlier age, before students contemplate their choice of college or their college major, in order to increase CS majors in the U.S. Based on this premise, we evaluate the effectiveness of App Inventor in increasing student interest in CS at the high school level and amongst first-year college students. Students at a Hartford high school were asked to participate in a six-week after-school program to create their own mobile phone applications, Pre and post surveys measured the students’ CS backgrounds and interest levels to determine if working with App Inventor changed their interest in CS. A one-hour workshop on App Inventor was also offered to Trinity College students who had begun their college educations just two months prior to our study and thus were considered a close substitute for high school students. In both cases, App Inventor successfully heightened student interest. These preliminary results suggest that educational institutions should consider adding App Inventor to the K-12 computing curriculum.


Community Partner: Greater Hartford Academy of Math and Science and Trinfo Café