Wednesday, June 22, 2016
When empowered with the right CS skills, we believe that each person can use technology to accelerate change towards a better world that they envision. So in partnership with Udacity, we’re launching the Android Basics Nanodegree: a free online curriculum for building basic Android apps. No previous programming experience required. Anyone —of any skill level— can access the content, take it at their own pace, and learn how to create Android apps. All of the individual courses that make up this Nanodegree are available at no charge at udacity.com/google.
Included in this launch is the Android Basics Facilitator’s Guide, which is an instruction manual that enables students, parents, and teachers to conduct in-person study groups via a blended learning model. This guide can be used in a variety of formats, adjusted for style or preference. Facilitators can vary the number of days, the length, the specific topics taught and more.
The curriculum offers a step-by-step approach on building several different types of Android apps. Through a “just-in-time” approach, students are actively exposed to fundamental computer science concepts, continuously learning as they build more complex apps. Along the way, students become familiar with the Java programming language — from variables and data types to more advanced object-oriented principles, HTTP networking concepts, and how to store data in a SQLite database.
Students can immediately start building layouts for Android apps using the XML language. They use Android Studio, the same official tool that professional Android developers use to write their apps. Students learn important software development skills such as how to identify and fix unexpected issues, read code for an existing app, and how to search for information on their own. They will also hear from professional developers, who are applying the same concepts from the classroom to popular apps like Google Play and Gmail.
Through each of the 6 courses, students gain first-hand experience by building apps designed for real-world experiences like placing orders in a coffee shop, tracking pets in a shelter, teaching vocabulary words from the Native American Miwok tribe, or reporting recent earthquakes in the world. By the end, students will have built an entire portfolio of apps to share that show off all their hard work.
Career-track Android Nanodegree (for intermediate developers). The first 50 participants to finish the Android Basics Nanodegree have a chance to win a scholarship for the Career-track Android Nanodegree. Additional details and eligibility requirements can be found here.
Students can enroll in the individual courses here. We recommend signing up with friends and classmates, to create a support group for sharing work and asking questions. In addition, students can sign up for the full Nanodegree on Udacity to gain access to coaches who can help them stay on track, provide career counseling and guidance on their projects. They can receive a certificate upon completion for a fee.
Students who have gone through the course are building incredible apps that put their new skills to work. For example, Arpy Vanyan created the "ROP Tutorial" app to raise awareness of a potentially blinding eye disorder called Retinopathy of Prematurity that can affect newborn babies.
|The ROP Tutorial app, created by student Arpy Vanyan, raises awareness of Retinopathy of Prematurity in newborns|
|Paisienia is a health support group app, created by student Fadli Wilihandarwo|
Android development can be also be a fun family activity, with parents learning right alongside their children. But even if parents or guardians don’t have a background - or prior interest - in this topic, research shows that their encouragement can help motivate children to continue persisting through the course.
Meet Wendy Bravo and her 11-year-old daughter Katia. They started taking the Android Basics courses together, which sparked Katia’s desire to learn more about programming. It was difficult to find local in-person STEM courses for Katia’s age, but with the Android Basics courses, she and her mother were both able to learn.
Teachers and Sponsors
Teachers who want to inspire their students to learn CS through Android app development can use the online videos in their classroom to supplement existing lesson plans. Suggestions for in-person classroom activities to complement the online coursework are included in the facilitator’s guide, along with methods of adjusting the format. Teachers can also sponsor study groups during or after school to encourage students to complete the course content together.
Check out the curriculum or enroll in the Android Basics Nanodegree program. With this complete learning path, you can teach yourself to become a technology entrepreneur, and best yet, build cool Android apps for yourself, your community, and even the world.