With initial funding from Google, MIT has opened their Center for Mobile Learning, dedicated “to transforming education and learning through innovation in mobile computing”. The function of the new center will be to focus on new mobile technology and applications that allow people to study and learn from anywhere. Scheduled research projects include things like location aware learning apps, mobile data collection, augmented reality, and other educational uses of mobile technologies. It looks like an excellent use of funding, and MIT has always been a cornerstone of open-source development and innovation.
What’s really cool is that one of the center’s first activities will be how they can extend and integrate App Inventor for Android to MIT’s research in educational technology. Google may have ended App Inventor, but they are in the process of open-sourcing the entire project and things like this are the reason why. Dr. Hal Abelson, one of the three co-directors of the new center, is one of the gentlemen credited with prompting the development of App Inventor while he was on sabbatical and working at Google in 2008. It’s great to see that his ideas and innovation will continue, and that the project hasn’t died.