Challenge To Help Pupils In Math
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor Dennis M. Walcott announced the launch of a new software development competition for programs to help middle school students excel in math.
The Gap App Challenge invites developers to submit applications, games or other programs that focus on middle school math and can be used by students, teachers or parents. The winning programs will be announced this June and all submissions will be considered for school-based pilots to begin next fall.
The competition is a part of the Department of Education’s Innovation Zone (iZone) program, which includes 250 schools that use new approaches to help students learn at their own pace. It is the first such competition to be led by a school district in the country, and also the first in a series of challenges the city will host to develop new teaching tools.
The Mayor and Chancellor made the announcement on Monday, Jane. 7 at the Academy for the Future, an iZone school, where they were joined by Principal Sarah Scrogin, Chief Digital Officer Rachel Haot and IDEO partner Duane Bray.
“New York City is home to more and more of the world’s most successful startups, and by channeling that tremendous creative energy into our public schools, we can help our students thrive,” said Bloomberg. “Our public schools are more successful today than ever before, and the pioneering new technology we gain through the Gap App Challenge will better prepare more students for their future.”
“Providing our students with the support they need is essential for their success, especially during their middle school years,” addedWalcott. “The Gap App Challenge will enable us to provide our schools with innovative and powerful new tools that will enhance learning in the classroom.””
Developers may submit ideas online for applications, games and other programs that focus on improving middle school math skills. The tools may be intended for use by students, teachers or parents, and either in or out of the classroom.
Submissions will be accepted through Apr. 10 and will be reviewed by two panels: one comprised of public school principals and teachers, and the second comprised of Department of Education officials and experts in technology, media and design.
The criteria include idea originality, potential impact and feasibility.
The Gap App Challenge winners will be announced in June and will receive up to $104,000 in cash prizes and other services, including web and database support from sponsor companies like Amazon.com.
Awards will be made for Best Instructional App and Best Administrative and Engagement App. Prizes will also be given to the runners up in those categories and five honorable mention submissions.
Each submission will be considered for school-based pilots that will begin next fall in iZone public schools. Information about the Gap App Challenge is available at nyc.gov.