Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Patricia I. Wright is challenging applications developers to create "apps" for Apple wireless mobile communications, computing and entertainment devices to help middle school students master geography, civics, economics and American history. The winning developers will receive awards from the Virginia Productivity Investment Fund.
Specifically, developers are asked to review the Virginia History/Social Science Standards of Learning (SOL) and the corresponding curriculum framework and create applications for the Apple iPhone, iPad and iPod touch that help students:
- Analyze and interpret United States maps
- Translate geographic data into graphs
- Place events in United States history in chronological order
- Obtain historical data from a variety of primary sources
- Participate in planning for effective civic action
- Identify international issues that require local decision making
- Use an economic decision-making model
- Identify the characteristics of the United States economic system
"The SOL Apple Apps Challenge is focused on history and social science content that some students find difficult and areas where teachers need additional resources," said Wright. "The availability of Virginia-specific applications will encourage more divisions to explore the potential of wireless technology for engaging students and enhancing instruction."
Judges selected by VDOE will evaluate the submitted apps, and Wright will announce the winning entries in October during the National School Boards Association’s Technology and Learning Conference in Phoenix. Winning developers will receive the following awards: $15,000 for the first-place entry; $10,000 for the second-place entry; and $5,000 for the third-place entry. In addition, the first-place winner will also receive consultation and support from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, the venture-capital group that manages the iFund, a $200 million investment initiative supporting ideas and products that build upon the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.
Developers must abide by App Store terms and conditions, and submissions should be uploaded to the App Store by 5 p.m., September 17. All of the winning apps will be available as free downloads from the App Store.
Additional details of the SOL Apple Apps Challenge are available on the Learning without Boundaries website. Learning without Boundaries is a VDOE initiative funded through a 2008 grant from the Virginia Productivity Investment Fund to assess the integration of available wireless mobile handheld technology into teaching and learning.