Pearson to Host Third Annual Student Coding Contest

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Contest challenges and rewards students who develop innovative learning applications that help to improve student achievement

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In partnership with the Hour of Code, Pearson announced today the launch of the third annual Student Coding Contest. The 2015 contest places an emphasis on recruiting college students and teams to develop original groundbreaking learning applications that integrate with Pearson Application Programming Interfaces or APIs. The contest offers students a chance to win cash prizes and a potential opportunity for a Pearson internship. Students are challenged to focus and integrate efficacy, a positive, measurable impact on learning, into the development of their applications. In addition, in an effort to help bridge the diversity gap that exists in computer science-related career fields, Pearson is working with the National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT) and Girls Who Code to increase awareness of the contest to female audiences.

Pearson’s VP of Higher Education Strategic Marketing, John Wannemacher, said, “This contest, along with our Hour of Code partnership, are important ways in which we are creating new opportunities for learners to develop and showcase their refined digital skills, and it all ties into our commitment to increasing employability and improving lives through learning.”

Entries should integrate Pearson APIs and use technology to identify, collect, and utilize data to demonstrate learning outcomes. Some potential learning tools could include: embedded assessments, feedback loops, peer and social interactions, self-assessment tools, or adaptive learning that individualizes each learning experience. To keep coders engaged, the contest offers contestants interactions with Pearson API experts, with opportunities for Q&A, one-on-one sessions, coding resources, webinars, and regular podcasts.

Towards the start of the contest, participants should pitch ideas with a narrative proposal and visual tools that might include wireframes or workflows. Winning proposals, judged by a team of respected industry peers, move on to become final contest contenders.

Last year’s winner, University of Minnesota student, Alex Ngure, created the application CrowdLearn. His recommendation to students entering this year’s contest is to try to brainstorm an idea for an application that is scalable for an entire learner audience and has the best chance at being successful. He said, “After participating in the Pearson Student Coding Contest, I actually believe that I can make something that can have an impact on the lives of millions of people.” Learn more about Alex Ngure's story by downloading the success story.

Cash prizes awarded to contestants will include: first place ($5,000), second place ($2,500), and third place ($1,000). The top three finalists will also present their entries at the Pearson offices in Denver, CO in February, 2016. In addition to cash prizes, 10 semi-finalists will have an opportunity to apply for a summer internship with Pearson next year. Acceptance for idea proposals began September 7, 2015 and will close October 9, 2015. Contestants will be notified by October 27, 2015, if their proposal has been accepted.

Follow @PearsonNorthAm on Twitter, and use #alwayscoding to join the conversation.
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