VDOE is partnering with the Center for Innovative Technology to develop an application development program – Apps4VA (www.apps4va.org). You may be familiar with the concept of apps competitions or hackathons? It’s a growing trend for organizations, both public and private, to turn to the public for ideas on how their data might be used and for the development of new applications to analyze them. Apps4VA will roll out a series of events and competitions for outreach and to encourage the development of apps to improve education using datasets from the Virginia Longitudinal Data System (VLDS). Here’s a pretty good explanation of VLDS data: http://youtu.be/MAV9pO5ve0c.
How can teachers get involved?
(1) The Apps4VA program will kick off on June 1-3 at the NOVA EDU Startup Weekend event, which will be held in the Microsoft offices in Reston, VA. Startup Weekend EDU events, for the unfamiliar, are 54-hour events where educators, hackers, hustlers, and designers come together to pitch ideas and build products. Ideas are pitched for potential education related businesses and teams are formed. The organizers create an environment where teams can collaborate, inspire and code to their hearts’ content…don’t worry about meals, snacks or energy drinks – it’s all covered. Throughout the weekend expert mentors are on-site to help teams think through challenges. Come Sunday night, teams demo to a panel of judges (think serial entrepreneurs and VCs). Startup Weekends are excellent ways to work with many awesome folks you’ve never met, push your limits, learn new skills, and jumpstart your creativity. Interestingly enough, the stats show 80% of Startup Weekend alumni are still working with their new “company.”
We need teachers with ideas to attend! Registration is open at: www.novaedu.startupweekend.org (teachers have a discount and Virginia teachers may be eligible for a travel stipend). For more information, contact Brooke Bell at (804) 513-2736 / firstname.lastname@example.org.
(2) In late August, Apps4VA will conduct two open competitions – one for the general public and one for Virginia public high school students. The Apps4VA Open Competition will ask participants to build a software application using the VLDS data. The Apps4VA High School Competition will ask high school students to outline an application that would use VLDS data in a presentation. (They also have the option to build a fully working app as well.) All competitors may apply other publicly available data sets to create their apps (this combining of data is known as a “mashup”). We are hoping that teachers will spread the word about the high school competition to their students and encourage them to participate? Students can participate as individuals or form a team and can win money for themselves and their school. Attached is a poster highlighting the competition. More information may be found at: www.apps4va.org.
We want to encourage the very best teachers in Virginia to participate in these exciting programs. Please consider participating or sharing this information with any teachers you think might be interested. The ideal educator is passionate about innovation, technology, entrepreneurship, enhancing education, etc. We encourage participation from teachers from all over Virginia!
Please contact me with any questions.
Brooke Bell Center for Innovative Technology Brooke.email@example.com