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 120 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 engages middle and high school students in a friendly competition, challenging them to develop apps that solve real-world problems. Last year, 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.
This next Youth Apps Challenge will be held in early May 2015, and schools across the state are already signing up to participate. For more information on the competition, please click here for contest guidelines.
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
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.