The STEM Challenge is a special program of the Technology Alliance that engages students and educators around the state in high quality STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) learning experiences, with an emphasis on computer science. We are working with partners across the state to launch a series of challenges that encourage students and teachers to engage with computer science in a meaningful and accessible way, and to stimulate the qualities of inventiveness and entrepreneurship. Our programs are designed to encourage more Washington citizens, especially those who are underrepresented in STEM, to develop STEM identity and pursue careers in these high-demand fields.
Youth Apps Challenge
The Youth Apps Challenge is aimed at building student interest in computer science education and careers. The Technology Alliance is providing curriculum and training to increase teachers’ ability to teach students app development. Offered in partnership with U.K.-based Apps for Good, apps curriculum is available to teach students the basics of conceiving, building, and marketing apps in an engaging, youth-friendly way.
Students get hands-on experience in computer science, engineering, and business by developing their own app as part of an in-school course, after-school or summer program. Teachers are trained to offer curriculum on the app development process, including; 1) Idea generation and screening; 2) User and market research; 3) Prototyping and wireframe development; 4) App programming; and 5) Pitching the app for a competition. Units on Scratch and MIT’s App Inventor teach programming concepts to students. The curriculum is mapped to Computer Science Teaching Association standards and the Common Core Standards for Math. Industry experts provide students with real-world feedback and evaluate their final products.
If your school is interested in offering the Youth Apps curriculum, contact Karen Manuel, STEM Outreach Project Director, by email at karen(at)technology-alliance.com or call (206) 389-7243 to learn more.
2014 Youth Apps Challenge
The 2014 Youth Apps Challenge engaged middle and high school students in a friendly competition that challenged them to develop apps that solve real-world problems. More than 300 students worked in teams to submit a total of 75 apps to the contest. Finalists and their teachers and families were invited to our apps showcase and award ceremony in either eastern or western Washington.
Click here to learn more about the 2014 challenge and the winning teams.
Ada Developers Academy
Ada is an intensive software developer training school for women that addresses the gender imbalance within the software industry while helping to meet the talent needs of Washington’s tech employers.
Ada combines six months of classroom instruction in cutting-edge web technologies with an internship at a Puget Sound-area technology company. Ada students will serve as experts and judges for teams of students participating in the Youth Apps Challenge.
Students and educators made history by helping to solve more than 390,000 algebra questions in one week during the 2013 Algebra Challenge. The Technology Alliance partnered with the Center for Game Science and We Want To Know to stage a statewide event that challenged students to learn algebra through gaming. Participating classrooms and Title 7 programs were provided access to the school-adapted algebra learning game DragonBox along with teacher support tools and resources, and prizes were awarded to recognize students' achievements.
Apps Summer Challenge
The Technology Alliance partnered with schools and organizations across the state in the summer of 2013 to pilot a project-based, student-driven apps development course.
Seven teachers from five schools participated in the week-long Apps Summer Challenge training. The Technology Access Foundation and Leading is Learning offered training to prepare teachers to be leaders in STEM education and support the entrepreneurial process. Each participant learned about best-practices in STEM integration and project-based learning. Teachers were introduced to the fundamentals of design thinking and language for teaching effective collaboration.
The focus of this summer challenge was for teachers to test the Apps for Good curriculum and have students create apps. Teachers developed lesson plans, supplementary web resources, teaching tools, and implemented the curriculum with teams of students.
Photo credit: Earl Bergquist
- Steering Committee
- Bree Dusseault, Educator
- Les Foltos, Director of Education, Peer Ed
- Cable Green, Director of Global Learning, Creative Commons
- Todd Johnson, Director, Center for Research & Data Analysis, Capital Region ESD 113
- Ed Lazowska, Bill & Melinda Gates Chair in Computer Science & Engineering, University of Washington
- Sean MacLeod, President, Stratos Product Development
- Susannah Malarkey, Executive Director, Technology Alliance
- Paul Rosier, Director, Washington Association of School Administrators
- Will Saunders, Director, Washington State Broadband Office
- Marty Smith, Director, MetaJure, Inc.
- Edward Vargas, Superintendent, Kent School District
- Cheryl Vedoe, CEO, Apex Learning Inc.
- Adrian Wilson, Chair, Microsoft Higher Education Consortium
Funding from the Broadband Office of the Washington State Department of Commerce under a Recovery and Reinvestment Act grant from the National Telecommunications and Information Agency supports the STEM Challenge program.