Democratizing Mobile Computing with MIT App Inventor


June 13, 2013


Shaileen Pokress and Andrew F. McKinney


MIT Center for Mobile Learning @ The Media Lab


Through an intuitive drag and drop interface that resembles snapping together LEGO blocks, MIT App Inventor makes it easy for even non-programmers to create apps for health, education, business, fun, social good and anything else that comes to mind. With almost 1 million people using App Inventor already, we’re exploring ways to make it even more usable and accessible to people from all interests and backgrounds. App Inventor allows app developers to access all of the mobile device’s features, providing an easy way to build fully functional apps that are personally relevant and useful.

In this presentation, App Inventor Education Director Shaileen Pokress and Lead Software Architect Andrew McKinney will:

  • Provide background information about the project
  • Highlight interesting cases of App Inventor in action
  • Go “under the hood” to explain how it works


Shaileen Pokress and Andrew F. McKinney

Shaileen Crawford Pokress manages education outreach and curriculum development for the App Inventor project at the MIT Media Lab. Shay’s work is informed by her early career in software development followed by a decade of education research at TERC. Shay holds a B.S. in Computer Science and an Ed.M. in Technology in Education. Drawing upon this multi-layered background, she finds personal meaning in developing programs and tools to engage underrepresented people in transformative computing experiences.

Andrew F. McKinney is senior software architect and technical lead for the App Inventor project at the MIT Media Lab. Andrew has over 20 years of experience developing educational technology, first at Harvard and then in various other capacities at MIT prior to joining the Center for Mobile Learning. The common thread he brings – even more than his rich experience in leading development of educational technology projects – is a passion for helping to improve the effectiveness and productivity of teaching and learning through the usage of technology.