Superintendent of Public Instruction Patricia I. Wright announced the winning "Standards of Learning (SOL) Apple Apps Challenge" entries this week during the National School Boards Association’s Technology and Learning Conference in Phoenix.
In July, Wright challenged applications developers to create "apps" for Apple wireless communications, computing and entertainment devices to help middle school students master geography, civics, economics and American history.
Judges selected by the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) evaluated the submitted apps and selected the winning entries. The winning entries and awarded prizes are as follows:
- First place – "Westward Expansion." Interactive modules on the Lewis and Clark Expedition and subsequent westward expansion by Rachael Moore, developer and, Sophie Gibson, graphic artist. $15,000 prize from Governor’s Productivity Investment Fund, free consultation and support from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, the venture-capital group that manages Apple’s iFund, a $200 million investment initiative supporting ideas and products that build upon the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.
- Second place – "Pass the Past." An interactive game to prepare middle school students for state assessments in United States and Virginia history, civics and geography by Mark Elmendorf, Mike Galgano and Deanna Boehm of Virginia Interactive LLC. $10,000 from the Governor’s Productivity Investment Fund.
- Third place – "Governomics." A role-playing app in which students decide as governor how best to allocate the commonwealth’s budget while maintaining public services and political approval rating by Matt Dunleavy of Radford University’s GAMeS Lab. $5,000 from the Governor’s Productivity Investment Fund.
All of the winning apps are available as free downloads from the Apple App Store.
"Virginia social studies teachers now have new resources to use as they explore the potential of smart phones and other wireless technologies to expand learning beyond the classroom and school day," said Wright.
Entrants were asked to review the Virginia History/Social Science SOL and corresponding curriculum framework and create applications for the Apple iPhone, iPad and iPod touch to help students master content and skills included in the commonwealth’s instructional standards.
The SOL Apple Apps Challenge was conducted as part of "Learning without Boundaries," a VDOE initiative funded through a 2008 grant from the Governor’s Productivity Investment Fund to assess the integration of available wireless handheld technology into teaching and learning.