#AFGArkansas: Real Connections. Real Life. 3rd Annual Festival

As you may know, our 3rd biggest cluster of Apps for Good schools is in the State of Arkansas in the United States where we have been running for three years. In this blog post, Daniel Moix and Steve Rice share a summary of the 3rd Apps for Good Festival in Arkansas:

Coding Arkansas’ Future, the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts (ASMSA) program to train Arkansas teachers in computer science, hosted the third annual Apps for Good festival for high school students from across the state on Friday, April 27th.

This year’s festival was held at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock College of Engineering and Information Technology.  From 9am to 1pm students gave presentations, elevator pitches, hands-on demonstrations, and displayed posters and backboards for their projects.

The festival is an opportunity for student team members to celebrate their work. “We want to give them an opportunity to show it off. By design, it’s not a competition. It’s purely festive. We want students to be proud of their accomplishments for this year,” said Daniel Moix, Director of Coding Arkansas’ Future.

Senator David Sanders, the Director of Innovate Arkansas, kicked off the event, speaking to students about the importance of the work they are doing, the organizations who are eager to support them, and opportunities that await them here in Arkansas.

Leaders from the Central Arkansas business community attended the public expo portion of the program to network with the students. “I was impressed with the students’ coding abilities and wish a real-world opportunity like this would have been available when I was in school,” said Amy Hopper, program officer for the Delta iFund at Winrock International. “These networking skills will come in handy down the road!”

“It was impressive to see how these young students were able to apply coding skills to develop apps that could directly improve lives,” said Rebecca Todd, Innovation Consultant with the Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center. “They are thinking like successful entrepreneurs in the way they first learn about need areas and then develop new solutions responding to those needs.”

“The Apps for Good program has created an atmosphere of discovery and critical thinking for my students. They struggled in the beginning with the whole process, but quickly learned to work together and build a great product,” said Lauren Taylor of Dardanelle High School.  

Students find a problem they want to solve and apply new skills to make a real-life app, exploring the full product development cycle from concept to coding to launch.

“The Apps for Good Festival enabled them to engage with other students and learn the process through different views. They were nervous, but the relaxed environment enabled them to be themselves and share their experience with others,” Taylor added.

Thanks to Daniel and Steve as well as the wider Coding Arkansas’ future team at ASMSA, Apps for Good will continue to run in Arkansas in the 2018/19 school year with both high school and middle school teachers engaged in the programme. If you want to be involved, please email contact@appsforgood.org

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