CIT and VDOE Announce Winners of Apps4VA Competitions to Create Apps Using Educational Data

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First prize awarded to Clinton Sower for “” Virginia high school students win top prizes for concept entry and working prototype


Center for Innovative Technology

The Center for Innovative Technology (CIT) announced today the winners of two Apps4VA application (app) development competitions created to find innovative solutions and software tools to improve education and educational decisions in Virginia.

Jointly sponsored by the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) and CIT, the Apps4VA competitions created opportunities for Virginia citizens and communities to get engaged in key K-12 data areas and provided Virginia high school students a chance to gain real world experience by addressing real world challenges.

The primary goals of the competitions were to raise awareness of the Virginia Longitudinal Data System, which provides information on Virginia public school students’ progress toward college and career readiness; to engage the public in using the data to develop fresh new insights and tools for educators, researchers and policymakers; and increase transparency.

The winners of the competitions are:

Open Competition Overall Best Use of VLDS Data

  • First Prize: Clinton Sower, of Front Royal, for which provides access to school performance data released from the state in PDF and Excel exports. This informative app will provide easier access to student performance data. This application, targeted to parents, teachers, educators and developers, will create efficiencies and savings in education.
  • Second Prize: R. Scott Starsman Ph.D., of Norfolk, for the Virginia Education Geospatial Analysis System provides two unique geospatial and statistical views of Virginia public schools and districts to rapidly and easily view a wide range of educational information and assist in decision-making.
  • Third Prize: R. Scott Starsman Ph.D., of Norfolk, for the Virginia Web School Search System to easily locate and analyze public school data such as SOL scores, size, etc.

High School Competition Overall Best Use of VLDS Data

  • Working Prototype Entry First Prize: Marcus Rakentine, a senior from Gloucester High School under the guidance of teacher, Daniel Holloway, for P2S, an analytical tool to help Virginia school administrators examine indicators that help guide parents and students toward successful education paths.
  • Working Prototype Second Prize: Team Bonafide Data Squad comprised of seniors Adam Davis, John Ziegler, Jason Hunter and Mikey Valacer under the guidance of teacher, Dickson Benesh, of Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School for Government and International Studies in Richmond, for Red Flagger VA, a multi-platform dropout predictor tool that identifies or flags student with similar profiles so that administrators can proactively take measures to improve performance and lower dropout rates.
  • Concept Entry Grand Prize: Asmita Shah, a sophomore from Westfield High School in Fairfax County, for Student Dashboard, a proposed multi-platform app with real-time information on a dashboard that allows students to monitor performance and compare it to their peers. It also includes a peer support system and guidelines for data interpretation.
  • Concept Entry Second Prize: Juliana Bain, a freshman from Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, for STEM Check, an app that would map demographic and geographic information on STEM activities and STEM disciplines. The goal is to allow decision makers the ability to analyze critical points where students lose interest or stop participating in STEM-related courses and activities and to devise appropriate intervention strategies.
  • Educator Award: Kendall Nicholson, a teacher at Franklin High School in Franklin, who mentored and sponsored four student submissions.

Virginia Secretary of Technology Jim Duffey said, “We are proud to be engaged in such an outstanding program and are delighted with the level of engagement and participation we have had from the developers, entrepreneurs, graphic designers and investors across the Commonwealth, all coming together to focus on key K-12 data issues and challenges.”

Since its inception, the Apps4VA program has awarded more than $25,000 in cash and prizes. Over the course of the program, more than 200 participants developed over 80 new cutting-edge, education-focused apps and launched two new education-related startups. Schools that sponsored the high school winners also received awards, as was the teacher who sponsored the most student submissions.

Bethann Canada, Director of Educational Information Management at the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) said, “Apps4VA is an ongoing process, not a single event, and VDOE is very interested in developing an ongoing dialogue with the public and in sponsoring continued innovation in public education.“

A Data Symposium featuring the participants and winners of all phases of the Apps4VA program will be held on June 20, 2013 at the Curry School of Education, University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Va.

For more information on the program, visit the Apps4VA website.

About the Center for Innovative Technology,
Since 1985, CIT, a nonprofit corporation, has been the Commonwealth’s primary driver of innovation-based economic development. CIT accelerates the next generation of technology and technology companies through commercialization, capital formation, market development and revenue generation services. To facilitate national innovation leadership and accelerate the rate of technology adoption, CIT creates partnerships between innovative technology start-up companies and advanced technology consumers. CIT’s CAGE Code is 1UP71.

About CIT Connect,
Recognizing a need in the marketplace, CIT Connect was established to help federal, state, and corporate consumers of technology identify and assimilate innovation. The CIT Connect service line delivers unique and innovative value-add solutions enabling technology consumption, adoption, and integration into organizations. CIT Connect’s experts work with organizations to assess the spectrum of inputs into the development and implementation process, including stakeholders, corporate culture and policies, technology and market environment.

About the Virginia Department of Education,
The Virginia Department of Education provides support and guidance to the commonwealth’s 132 public school divisions which, combined, educate approximately 1.2 million PK-12 students. The department administers regulations promulgated by the state Board of Education and supports the board in carrying out its responsibilities under state and federal education law.

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