VDOE Announces Mathematics Applications Development Challenge Winners
Virginia Tech doctoral student Todd Bowden is the winner of Governor Timothy M. Kaine's "Learning Apps Development Challenge" to software developers to create wireless hand-held device applications that support instruction in middle school mathematics. The selection of Bowden's application "Number Line" as the winning entry was announced by Superintendent of Public Instruction Patricia I. Wright and federal Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra on June 27 at a meeting of state educational technology directors held in conjunction with the National Educational Computing Conference in Washington, D.C.
Number Line is designed to help students learn about fractions, decimals and percentages. Students earn points by placing equivalent fractions, decimals, and percentages in correct sequence on a number line. The application features multiple levels of increasing difficulty.
The second- and third-place applications were designed by the Gaming, Animation, Modeling and Simulations Lab at Radford University. The first runner-up, "Freddy Fraction," challenges students to demonstrate their knowledge of fractions, decimals and percentages as they help an alien find his lost spaceship. The third-place entry, "Fraction Factory," features a conveyor belt bearing fractions which must be placed in correct sequence at the top of the screen.
"These applications address key mathematics content in the Standards of Learning and represent a first step in tapping the potential of mobile wireless communications devices to support instruction and raise achievement," said Dr. Wright.
Bowden received a $5,000 first-place award for Number Line from Governor Kaine's Productivity Investment Fund. The Radford University lab received a $1,000 second-place award for Freddy Fraction and a $500 third-place award for Fraction Factory. Number Line, Freddy Fraction, Fraction Factory and all other entries are available online at the Apple App Store as free downloads.
Governor Kaine announced the application-design competition on April 7 as part of an initiative to explore the potential of wireless technology to supplement classroom instruction and raise student achievement.
The judges for the contest were Bronwyn Busher, member, National Junior Honor Society; Chris Dede, Timothy E. Wirth Professor in Learning Technologies, Graduate School of Education, Harvard University; Yuvi Kochar, chief technology officer and vice president for technology, The Washington Post Company; Lesa Mitchell, vice president, Kauffman Foundation; Matt Murphy, manager, KPCB iFund; and Dr. Wright.