In the master's thesis we presented the possibilities of using App Inventor to teach programming among the students of the second cycle of primary school. We live in a time when mobile devices are constantly present in our lives unrelated to age groups. The App Inventor allows learners to create real-world mobile applications, which motivates them to learn programming.
In the theoretical part of the master's thesis, we explained why children should be encouraged to develop computational thinking, and how the development of thinking in the initial programming could be described by the neo-Piagetian theory of cognitive development. Primary school teachers teach the basic concepts of programming in different ways, one of which is learning through visual programming languages. More and more of this kind of languages are available that is why their advantages and disadvantages we highlighted below. The majority of teachers in Slovenia present the basic programming concepts to students using the visual programming language Scratch. When students introduce programming through Scratch and adopt some basic programming concepts, the Scratch may not be challenging enough for them anymore. Related to statement above, teachers have to choose the program with an appropriate degree of difficulty for further learning.
In the thesis we presented App Inventor and compared to the Scratch. At the selected primary school we conducted a research in order to determine whether teachers can continue to teach programming with App Inventor, on the assumption that they started programming in the visual programming environments, such as Scratch. This we presented in the empirical part of thesis.
In the selected primary school, we carried out a research among students of the fifth and sixth grade who have been introduced to programming with Scratch, and who practiced programing for at least a year. During the five-week course, they made mobile applications in the App Inventor. The results of our research indicate that the App Inventor is suitable for teaching programming students of the second primary school cycle.
They did not have any problems with the English user interface. Most students would prefer to continue programming in the App Inventor instead of Scratch. Everyone agreed that the creation of mobile applications increased their motivation for learning. They recognized the object data structure and its properties. The majority of students recognized a change in the object properties by using an appropriate command. After the introduction to programing with Scratch, teachers are advised to acknowledge App Inventor as one of the options for more advanced programing.