Update - December 2016: The Youth Apps Challenge program is currently on hiatus. This time off will allow us to develop a new, longer-term funding structure for the program and ensure that we have a sustainable approach moving forward. As soon as we have more information to share about the future of Youth Apps, we will post details here.

In the meantime, please continue your committment to introducing young people to coding and building their computational skills. FIRSTWashington (https://www.firstwa.org/) has great programs that expose, engage, and excite young people ages 6-18 in science, technology, engineering, and math skills. Others like Girls Who Code, Techbridge, and TEALS may operate chapters in your communities - so please explore these otions.

Thank you for inspiring Washington youth to explore computational thinking, computer science, and hands-on problem-solving. We look forward to working with you in the near future.

The Youth Apps Challenge

Youth Apps Challenge is a two-part program that introduces both teachers and students to the power and potential of programming. Run through the statewide non-profit Technology Alliance and now in its third year, Youth Apps motivates teams of middle and high school students from across Washington state to develop innovative computer applications that address everyday problems. The Youth Apps Challenge is generously supported by the state’s Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, Google, Comcast, and the Breneman Jaech Foundation.

Through a combination of teacher training and a contest, the challenge directly exposes hundreds of students to basic programming and problem solving skills. Youth Apps uniquely engages both experienced and novice student coders, and gives teachers the tools and training they need to support these budding innovators of all skill levels. Engaging more young people in STEM is critical to our state’s future, and Youth Apps is among the key efforts working directly with students and schools (Microsoft’s TEALS, Code.org, Coding Dojo, TAF Academy - are among others).

In 2016 more than 50 teams of students (each with a faculty sponsor) submitted apps to the challenge. Teams submit either a concept with wireframes or an actual functioning app, and are evaluated against criteria noted below and based on how many years of experience they have with programming, from explorer (<1) to apprentice (1-2) to wizard (2+).

  • 43% of entries were technical, meaning they created a functioning app

  • 64% submitted as ‘explorers’, meaning their team had less than a year of programming

  • 40% came from schools outside of the Puget Sound

June 4, 2016 Youth Apps Awards Ceremony Photos

2016 Winners

Student teams from Tesla STEM High School (Lake Washington School District), Garfield High School (Seattle), and Hockinson Middle School (Hockinson School District - near Vancouver, WA) were selected as the first, second and third place winners in the statewide Youth Apps Challenge. The winning entries were chosen from among 15 finalists, and proposed solutions to helping teens find carpools, identifying flora and fauna in tide pools, and remembering when to take what medication. 

2016 Finalists

Fifteen (15) finalists were selected based on the following criteria: problem solving & innovation, illustration of idea, feasibility, users and market--and for the technical entries judges also looked at functionality, usability, technical complexity, and code elegance. On June 4th at the University of Washington’s Paul Allen Center for Computer Science & Engineering these finalists will showcase their apps in a live exhibition and pitch contest.

Judges from Google, the City of Seattle, and Comcast will select the three top entries (determining first, second and third places) from among these 15, looking for the teams that are the most persuasive/passionate, best able to express the purpose of the app, and have created a high-quality app. Grand prize gift cards will be awarded to the top three teams and all other finalists will receive an Amazon Kindle Fire.

Technical - Apprentice

TidePool, Garfield HS, Seattle

Tutor Finder, TAF Academy, Federal Way

Technical - Explorer

School Tools, Skyview HS, Vancouver

Growing Math Adventure, Harrison MS, Sunnyside

M & A, Glover MS, Spokane

Dealz for Realz, TAF Academy, Federal Way

Technical - Wizard

Opportune, Newport HS, Bellevue

AllHere, Skyview HS, Vancouver

Decisions, Decisions, The Evergreen School, Seattle

General - Apprentice

Carpool School, Tesla STEM HS, Lake Washington

ReMed, Hockinson MS, Hockinson (by Vancouver, WA)

General - Explorer

FitMe, Garfield HS, Seattle

Hope for the Homeless, Tesla STEM HS, Lake Washington

General - Wizard

SleepSync, Jane Addams MS, Seattle

Honorable Mention

Hiking, Spokane Valley Tech, Central Valley

Summaries of 2016 Finalist Apps

AllHere  AllHere is a mobile-ready web app to help group or activity leaders track member attendance in a distributed way, decentralizing the work of keeping attendance records.

Carpool School  An app using student social media to connect people together for ride sharing.

Dealz for Realz  Dealz for Realz is an app that compares the prices of different items in grocery stores. The app includes a real time discount section.

Decisions, Decisions  This app helps people make decisions who have a difficult time making decisions.

FitMe  “FitMe” allows an online shopper to view clothing on a personalized avatar. They’re also able to purchase clothing and create an online wardrobe.

Growing Math Adventure  Growing Math Adventure helps users practice math and science all in one app. Users are taken through a series of math problems and shown images of plant life cycles as a reward for solving the problems.

Hiking  People like to hike, but some individuals have trouble finding the ideal trail. Hikers currently use programs like Google maps to find trails. However Google maps does not highlight the trails or provide additional information. This application provides an alternative that allows the user to find trails, make comments,take pictures to share, etc.

Hope for the Homeless  The "Hope For The Homeless" app provides an easy and efficient way for homeless people to find cheap, affordable resources and services. Additionally, any organization that may want to help with the issue of homelessness, or a business or service wanting to attract more customers, can enter information into our app for the users to view.

M&A  This app allows the user to study on their phone or tablet by using quizzes that users create for themselves.

Opportune  Opportune is a platform on which researchers can provide students with intern opportunities. In turn, students can advertise themselves to interested employers or college professors.

ReMed  ReMed is an app that reminds people to take their medication as well as keeping track of all the medication they need to take. A great feature is that emergency personnel can access a patient’s medication list and see what they last took and when.

School Tools  School Tools provides middle and high school students with an organized place to plan for classes, calculate GPA, and track credits.

SleepSync  SleepSync is a convenience app that can set timers and alarms that function in relation to whether the user is asleep or awake. For instance, it can set timers that start when the user falls asleep.

TidePool  TidePool is developing a native android app that will help Pacific Northwest beach-goers quickly identify organisms that they find on the beach. They will ask questions about easily discernible traits, such as organism pigmentation and habitat, which will narrow down a list of possible organism matches so that the user may identify the species they see.

Tutor Finder  Tutor Finder helps match students who need help with available mentors, encouraging cross grade-level support and communication.

Youth Apps Teacher Training

Youth Apps offers free training to educators in an apps-based curriculum, which provides a great entry point for building student interest in computer science. More than 125 educators have been trained in the Youth Apps curriculum, many of whom had no previous technical background. The curriculum and teacher resources can be accessed here. Future training dates will be posted here when announced. 

Email apps@technology-alliance.com with any questions. Please note - Youth Apps will not operate in the first half of 2017.

2016 Sponsors