“One of the most humbling experiences for me was when I sat in on a virtual conference session led by the Duval County GEAR UP team who invited students and parents to share their feedback and experiences with conference attendees. Two of the three students presenting in front of a 200+ zoom audience were in one of our Virtual Summer App Camps that we facilitated over the summer. They talked about how much they loved the experience of building their own mobile apps with us and how it helped them see computer science in a new light! Proud moment, indeed.”
~Alefiya Master, Founder/CEO (MAD-learn)
At the beginning of the global pandemic (COVID-19), MAD-learn began helping schools and organizations provide meaningful and fun summer camps that are available to “Online Campers” around the world. From Washington State to Ontario, kids have been building mobile apps as a way to develop skills in an informal and creative program developed for a variety of scheduling options. Notable among these amazing campers have been the brilliant students of Duval County GEAR UP, Kansas University GEAR UP, Quinault Indian Nation, Mount Adams GEAR UP and Chicago GEAR UP. We couldn’t be more proud of these amazingly talented students who created mind-blowing apps as well as their dedicated superstar mentors, advisors, and GEAR UP family.
Washington State GEAR UP Virtual App Camp
GEAR UP is one of the largest and most effective programs focused on increasing the college and career readiness of low-income students in communities in the United States. It is a highly competitive grant program that helps empower local partnerships comprised of K-12 schools, institutions of higher education, state agencies, and community organizations to achieve three strategic goals: (1) increasing the postsecondary expectations and readiness of students; (2) improving high school graduation and postsecondary enrollment rates; and (3) raising the knowledge of postsecondary options, preparation, and financing among students and families. (Ref: edpartnerships.com). As strong believers in what GEAR UP stands for, MAD-learn was a supporter of the NCCEP annual conference this year.
It is heartwarming to know that beyond the virtual summer camps, we are continuing to help students thanks to our extended partnership with GEAR UP programs across the country. In the words of one of our MAD-teachers,
“My principal has approved my (MAD-learn) request! Again, thank you so much for everything. It is an amazing feeling to know that no matter where my students are; in-person, remote, or in a hybrid situation, that they will always be guaranteed the same incredible curriculum and a learning experience that is lifelong.” ~Amanda Bourn, Hawthorn Middle School South Consumer Technology MAD-certified Teacher.
Another amazing MAD-teacher Alexis Kleiman, ihub Instructor, DSBN also had this to say:
“We have been able to leverage MAD-learn’s existing framework for online STEM learning — where students can connect, collaborate, and create while moving through the design thinking process. They’re introduced to a virtual space where they can put on their entrepreneurial thinking cap and be free to create their own possibilities! A space where they practice their communication, planning and presentation skills. Through the App creation process, right from ideation to publishing their app to the MAD-Store, students can build on and/or develop skills that prepare them to be creators of technology, not just consumers such as critical thinking, problem solving and computational thinking to name a few.”
Kansas University GEAR UP Virtual Summer App Camp
We have loved partnering with GEAR UP programs for after school clubs, summer app camps and weekend clubs (to mention a few) to create STEM exposure for students and engage them in future ready skills and experiences. Not only have these after-school app building clubs and camps been fun, but they have also helped boost the students’ self-esteem and self-confidence and enhanced their creativity, as they prepare for college and career.
The University of Kansas GEAR UP Club Day Saturdays
In these virtual / in person / hybrid times, we have intensified our efforts to be better stewards of high quality student experiences and help teachers across the United States to effectively use MAD-learn to help engage students with meaningful STEM experiences. We are here to support your GEAR UP program so don’t hesitate to reach out!