Two ASMSA teams earn Congressional App Challenge recognition

4 weeks ago

Two teams from the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts earned recognition in the recent Fourth District Congressional App Challenge.

The team of juniors Karsen Beck of Maumelle, Devin Patel of Blytheville, Trinity Robinson of Fayetteville and Hayden Wood of Floral won first place for their app “Find My Teacher.” The app helps students at ASMSA locate teachers on campus by providing maps and schedule information.

The team of juniors Victoria Hwang of Maumelle, Dawson Jones of Hot Springs, Solomon Ni of Jonesboro and Vraj Modi of Hot Springs tied for fifth for their app called “Pedagogue.” The app helps students identify and connect with peer tutors.

“The Congressional App Challenge is an ideal way for interdisciplinary teams of students to work together to leverage technology in solving a real-world challenge,” said Steve Rice, entrepreneurship instructor at ASMSA. “Students are inspired to put their technical skills into practice while they strengthen valuable skills like collaboration, communication and persistence. I hope that this experience creates a spark that ignites a spirit of innovation and creativity within every student who competes.”

The students were recognized at a reception sponsored by Rep. Bruce Westerman, Fourth District congressman, on Friday at Mid-America Science Museum. Winning teams are invited to the #HouseofCode Capitol Hill Reception in Washington, D.C., in Spring 2019.

Three teams from Lake Hamilton High School earned places in the competition. The teams are advised by Karma Turner, who is a computer science teacher at the school. Turner was a member of the second cohort of teachers who participated in ASMSA’s Coding Arkansas’ Future initiative. The program provides teachers who would like to teach computer science at their schools a path to becoming certified while learning to teach computer science on the job. Educators taught computer science courses at their schools while receiving guidance from ASMSA’s computer science faculty.

Turner also served as a lead computer science learner for ASMSA’s Google CS4HS (Computer Science for High School) program. ASMSA and Coding Arkansas’ Future received a grant for almost $35,000 from Google to establish the program to allow educators interested in learning and teaching computer science to also earn college credit at the same time. The program allows the participants to spend time strictly as learners throughout their participation.

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