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 Program
The Youth Apps curriculum offers a simple, accessible path to building student interest in computer science education and careers. The Technology Alliance is providing the curriculum and training to enable any educator to teach app development to students - including the basics of conceiving, building, and marketing apps - in an engaging, youth-friendly way. Over 125 middle and high school teachers across Washington have been trained, most of them with little to no prior programming experience. The training sessions are hands-on and last one or two days.
Using this curriculum, students gain personal experience in computer science, engineering, and entrepreneurialism by developing their own app as part of an in-school course, after-school or summer program. Educators are trained to teach 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 their app for a competition.
The curriculum is mapped to Computer Science Teaching Association standards and the Common Core Standards for Math. As students make progress, industry experts will be available to provide students with real-world feedback and evaluate their final products.
If your school is interested in offering the Youth Apps curriculum, contact us by email at apps(at)technology-alliance.com or call (206) 389-7320 to learn more.
Youth Apps Challenge
The Youth Apps Challenge is an exciting competition for middle and high school students across Washington, offering them a chance to design and build apps for tablets and smartphones! Teams of up to five students are eligible to participate, win prizes that include tablets, visits to local technology companies, and more.
Submissions were accepted online between April 1 and April 10, 2015, and were judged by Ada Developers Academy students. Almost 500 students participated in the 2015 Youth Apps Challenge competition and submitted 154 apps for review. Award ceremonies will be held in early May in eastern and western Washington acknowledging the students hard work.
Below is more information on STEM challenge programs that the Technology Alliance has organized and led.
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 seven months of classroom instruction in cutting-edge web technologies with a five month internship at a Puget Sound-area technology company. Ada students also serve as experts and judges for teams of students participating in the Youth Apps Challenge. Ada is being spun out of the Technology Alliance as an independent program in 2015.
To learn more, visit the Ada web site.
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
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.