Pearson Announces Winners of Second Annual Student Coding Contest

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Student-Created Apps Help Learners Share Knowledge with Their Peers, Improve Their Vocabulary, and Improve Efficiency for Educators

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Computer science is a top-earning degree and computer programming jobs are growing at two times the national average, according to Unfortunately, less than three percent of college students graduate with a degree in computer science. To help increase awareness of the importance of programming education, undergraduates from around the U.S. and Canada came together to compete in Pearson’s Second Annual Student Coding Contest. Judges observed as the three final contestants demonstrated how their apps will improve how others learn. View a short video of the three winners.

Winner, Alex Ngure from the University of Minnesota, said, “The learning experience was invaluable and overwhelmingly positive. It has provided me with a clearer idea of a potential career I may choose to pursue after I graduate.”

The students who won the contest were rewarded with a cash prize for their creative applications that could greatly enhance student learning and success.

1st Place/Cash Prize: $5,000
CrowdLearn: Developer: Alex Ngure from the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.

The app allows students to share resources they found useful, and create and find study groups. It also helps instructors evaluate their students' learning by providing statistics of what the students are discussing.

2nd Place/Cash Prize: $2,500
Curriculab: Developer: Garrett Smith from Harper College, Palatine, IL.

The app creates curriculum units and lesson plans collaboratively and online among a group or department.

3rd Place/Cash Prize: $1,000
QuickDef: Developers: Yhlas Jorayev, Christopher Siegler, Ryan Jones, and Nicholas Brantley from Troy University, Troy, AL.

The app helps students, especially students whose native language is not English, take online tests more effectively by ensuring they can define words they don't understand while taking the test.

The panel of external judges bring a wealth of education technology experience. The seven judges chose the final three winners. They all hail from diverse backgrounds and have a critical eye for what could be used to improve teaching and learning:

Zack Ellis, Kindly, Operations Manager
Scott Gaspar, Ingram Content Group (VitalSource), Product Manager
David J. Kim, Ace Learning Company, Founder & CEO
John C. Balash, Notre Dame College, Professor/Experience Designer
Brittney Cunningham, Girls in Tech, Global/Managing Director of Online Education
Vishal Shah, LearnCore, Co-founder
Bryan Kirschner, Apigee Institute, Director

Judge, Professor John Balash, said, “The Pearson Student Coding Contest gives students the opportunity to apply their skills and knowledge to a real-world setting. I was impressed with the high-quality work the students produced; the apps developed show what the students are capable of and what technologies could be created and used to help others.”

To join the conversation around coding on Twitter, use #AlwaysCoding.

Last December, Pearson participated in the Hour of Code campaign, an initiative to help 10 million students and adults learn computer programming during Computer Science Education Week, December 8-14. The campaign was led by and was designed to “demystify” computer science and call attention to the benefits of learning this foundational skill.

About Pearson
Pearson is the world's leading learning company, with 40,000 employees in more than 80 countries working to help people of all ages to make measurable progress in their lives through learning. For more information about Pearson, visit

Media Contact:
Stacy Skelly, stacy.skelly(at)pearson(dot)com, or 800-745-8489

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