Create Your Own App Challenge

Create Your Own App Challenge2Anyone with a smart phone or tablet likely sees the direction that technology is going through the use of apps. Back in the good ol’ days, running a software application on a computer required the use of some kind of external apparatus (who remembers floppy disks that were actually floppy?) Yet now, through the magical click of a button, technology allows us to magically install a HUGE variety of applications quickly and wirelessly.

When this technology first came out, it seemed like an untouchable brainchild of a brilliant group of people—and no doubt it was, minus the untouchable part—and quite mysterious to us laymen. Yet, the truth of the matter is that you do not have to be an MIT-degree-holding software engineer to create an app. People from all over and with a variety of educational backgrounds are plugging into the development of this exciting technology…

And we think you should too!

That is why we are excited to present our very new “Create Your Own App Challenge” scavenger hunt. This hunt will lead you and your students through a basic orientation to the mechanics of the technology created to use apps, an introduction to the many ways that apps can be applied to a number of different interests and subjects, and finally it will lead you to the Verizon Innovative App Challenge. This competition is open to middle school and high school students, and submissions are due December 17th. So, without further ado, we send you off into the sunset (well, the sun is setting somewhere in the world) to learn all about apps and tap into your creative side. Create Your Own App Challenge Scavenger Hunt

Apps help put the “T” in “STEM”

It is hardly news that modern technology has given us access to a breadth of knowledge at a moment’s notice. With organizations and corporations around the world adopting these modern technologies, we are seeing a wider variety of smart phone and tablet apps that give the world access to whole new realms of information and knowledge.  Check out the apps listed below to get some of this knowledge in the palm of your hand!

Aspire Institute’s STEM AppWe had the opportunity to contribute a CSI activity to the STEM App launched by the Aspire Institute this spring. The goal of this app is to provide a daily STEM activity that parents and kids can do together. Aspire wrote a wonderful blog post about this app last April, so rather than reading our second-hand version of this post, you can check it out here!


NASA App for Android and iOSJust when we thought NASA couldn’t get any cooler… The NASA app gives you VIP access to tons of NASA content, including images, videos, NASA television, mission information, news, satellite tracking and much more! And here’s the best part… it’s free!


“Solve the Outbreak” iPad App from the CDCThanks to a follow-up email from Allison Brown, our CDC contact and Cool Jobs professional, we were recently made aware of the CDC’s new “Solve the Outbreak” iPad app. Many jobs are emerging in the field of public health, and this app gives teens and young adults a glimpse into the life of a working epidemiologist. In this interactive, engaging app, you get to decide what to do: Do you quarantine the village? Talk to the people who are sick? Ask for more lab results? Get the app to learn about diseases and outbreaks in an engaging way. Oh yeah, it’s free too.

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Are you looking for a certain type of STEM app but can’t seem to find it? Do you know a technologically-minded student? Why not have that student make the app? Organizations like CoderDojo and TekStart teach students how to develop apps through the use of code. If you know a technologically-minded student who wants to get into coding, check to see if there is an organization like this in your city. After all, there can never be enough STEM-related apps!