During 14-15 August 2014, Mr. Ishan Abeywardena from Wawasan Open University (WOU) was invited to STOU to deliver a special workshop on “Android App Development Using Visual Programming”. The objectives of the workshop were to familiarize STOU staff with the AI2 platform, to use the Designer and Blocks Editor, to implement various components in applications, to design rich user experiences and to practice packaging and distribution of applications.
The two day hands-on workshop, organized by the International Affairs Unit and the Office of Computer Services of STOU, was tailored to two different groups, consisted of experience programmers and non-programmers around 35 participants each with varied professional backgrounds ranging from academic faculty, instructional designers to software engineers.
The experienced programmers’ group underwent intermediate training on the AI2 platform whereas the non-programmers were introduced to the basic concepts. Among the topics covered were introduction to AI2 platform; device setup; debugging apps using physical phones and Android emulator; building apps using components such as text-to-speech, accelerometer, speech recognition, canvas, sprite, camera, camcorder, video player, audio player etc.; packaging and distributing apps; and publishing apps on Google Play.
The participants developed approximately 13 apps which provided them a wide range of skills in user experience (UX) design and programming logic. The workshop also had three full length tutorial exercises where participants built three fully functional apps which concentrated on (i) designing user interfaces; (ii) designing user experiences; and (iii) fundamentals of animation and game design. Mr. Abeywardena further demonstrated how a storyboard is created prior to designing and developing a functional Android App.