Washington state students recognized for building mobile apps to help solve community problems

May 18, 2015, 16:00 ET from Technology Alliance

SEATTLE, May 18, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Twenty teams of middle and high school students representing Washington communities from Seattle to Spokane are the winners of the second annual Youth Apps Challenge.

Launched by the Technology Alliance and sponsored by Amazon, the Youth Apps Challenge is a statewide competition designed to build student interest in computer science education and careers. Student teams won prizes for entries that included an app that helps you test water quality, an app that teaches young kids the concept of genetics and an app that shows you what kind of extra-curricular clubs are at you school. Winning entries also included a bilingual app designed to help place farm workers with employment opportunities, an app to anonymously report bullying to teachers and an app to help students organize their notes.

"Inspiring the next generation of software developers and tech entrepreneurs, the Youth Apps Challenge gives students the opportunity to develop an idea for a mobile app and then learn what it takes to build it," said Susannah Malarkey, Executive Director of the Technology Alliance. "Developed by middle and high school teams to solve community problems, these amazing apps show that there's no limit to students' imagination and ability to learn cutting edge skills."  

Launched last year, the Youth Apps Challenge involves teams of students from across the state generating original ideas for apps and solving community problems. They developed prototypes, identified user profiles and market potential and pitched their apps to local audiences. This year, the Youth Apps Challenge received 154 apps submissions from 24 schools and non-profit teams, with nearly 500 students from across the state participating. The winning teams received prizes that help them continue with app development including Amazon Kindle Fires. (Please see a full list of winners here.)

"Year after year I'm continually impressed by the ingenuity and innovation of Washington's students," Gov. Jay Inslee said. "The apps these students are creating are helping solve real problems. Congratulations to this year's winners – and to all the participants."

Submissions to the Youth Apps Challenge were judged by software developers from the Technology Alliance's most recently spun-out program, the Ada Developers Academy. Ada Developer's Academy is the first-of-its-kind program that combines intensive instruction and company apprenticeships to prepare women for new careers in software programming. 

The Technology Alliance trained more than 120 teachers in the Youth Apps Challenge curriculum. The featured curriculum was originally developed by the U.K.-based organization Apps for Good and adapted by the Technology Alliance for use in school, after school, or as part of a summer program. The curriculum is aligned with Common Core standards.

"Giving students the opportunity to identify and solve a problem important to them fully engages their passion and the project process empowers them to expand their full creative potential," said Earl Bergquist, a teacher at Garfield High School. "Students' cell phones are central to their lives, and creating their own app heightens their interest in learning programming and how mobile devices work."

In addition to Garfield High School, Western Washington participants included students from Hockinson Middle School, Mariner High School, Newport High School, Lakeside School, Nikola Tesla High School, Open Window School and YVTC MESA. Eastern Washington participants included students from North Central High School, Harrison Middle School, Royal High School and Kamiakin High School.


Craig Kanaya, Strategies 360                                      
(206) 718-8249                                                                  

About the Technology Alliance: The Technology Alliance is a statewide, not-for-profit organization of leaders from Washington's technology-based businesses and research institutions united by our vision of a vibrant innovation economy that benefits all of our state's citizens. Our work is organized around the drivers of Washington's long-term competitiveness: an educated workforce, strong research capacity, and a robust entrepreneurial environment. Through programs, events, data analysis, and policy activities, the TA works support the growth of our high-impact industries; the creation of high-wage jobs; and economic prosperity for our entire state.


SOURCE Technology Alliance