The next game-changing mobile app may be created by high school kids. In fact, you might already be using it.
Hundreds of students came together in this year’s Lenovo Scholar Network National Mobile App Development Competition to try to design, code and build apps that help their classrooms and communities. As in previous editions of the competition, schools with underserved students in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) entered from across the country in the hopes their apps would be chosen as finalists.
This past May, Lenovo (together with NAF, a nonprofit organization focused on high school education), announced the six winners of this year’s competition, and their apps run the gamut, from health, to safety, to public speaking. Check out this week’s profile on three of our winning teams!
Submitted by: Cimarron-Memorial High School, Academy of Information Technology; Las Vegas
Like all of Las Vegas – and really, the entire nation – Candice Johnson and Ilyssa McBride were shaken by the tragic shooting there last fall. They channeled those emotions into an app aimed at disaster and emergency preparedness. Guardian Defense features loads of resources for such events, such as fires, robberies, shootings and more. That includes event-specific tips, a map function to find nearby safe houses, a notification system that alerts your family and loved ones you’re safe, even an emergency beacon. This one is already in the market, too: You can download it for Android phones. “We want to make the word a safer place, because we are the growing generation,” said senior Ilyssa McBride.
Human Nature: Puberty Edition
Submitted by: Detroit Institute of Technology at Cody; Detroit
High school is a crazy time in a teenager’s life. and every teen goes through a different journey. But there is one thing that’s guaranteed: puberty. And that’s weird, especially when you don’t have the right resources to tell you what’s happening – or worse, you don’t feel comfortable talking about it. That’s what DIT students Nala Barlow, Nakya Barbour and Jordan McClendon took on with their app, which is aimed at trying to demystify what is usually a mystifying – and almost always awkward – experience. Human Nature: Puberty Edition utilizes interactive features, tips and real testimonials from other teens to help students learn about their bodies as they go through changes. It even has resources for parents to help them with “the talk.”
Explained Barbour, a sophomore: “I hope the results of this app will be that it will help kids cope with the change in their body and make them feel more comfortable with themselves.”
Submitted by: Emmett J. Conrad High School, Academy of Engineering; Dallas
During their winter break, five Conrad High students ensconced themselves in a classroom and pondered how they could create an app that would best serve their own community. The Vickery Meadow neighborhood of Dallas is mostly economically disadvantaged with high crime and limited access to social services. The students’ solution was Klinik, an app that provides neighborhood-specific lists of local resources ranging from healthcare to healthy food options. That they got it done in just three days isn’t the best part. It’s the pride they feel in creating something that can help their peers and neighbors.
“To see that some of my closest friends or neighbors worry about when their next meal is, worry about if they’ll be able to pay their bills, worry about if their kids get the education they deserve,” junior Alejandro Maldonado told Dallas-Forth Worth NBC affiliate KXAS. “It’s heart-wrenching. When they open this app, they should know they’re in better hands. We want them to feel hope.”
“Our biggest challenge was technical. We didn’t want to have to go into our code every time we updated the events in Klinik, but we couldn’t figure out another way. After some research, we figured out that we [could] create a Google spreadsheet that feeds into Klinik. Now anyone, even without any coding abilities, can use Klinik for their city,” said junior Kenna Tanaka.
Catch up with the first Lenovo Scholar Network winner, Tobi Graham, here, and learn more about Lenovo’s young talent in the article “From High School to Post-Grad: Lenovo Recruits and Develops Talent”.