MAD-news for October: Nov 1 is the Congressional App Challenge deadline

Hi Guest,

When you realize what brings you joy, you must garner all your dedication, all your ideas, all your powers, and all of your resources to do more of that. This past month, I was able to spend time in four different middle school classrooms at two schools in the Atlanta area. JOYFUL, to say the least. Thanks, Ms. Watts, Ms. Byrom, and Ms. Lazaro, for this treat. If you haven’t had me or a member of our team visit your classroom in person or virtually yet, what are you waiting for? We want to bring you and your students (and ourselves!) lots of joy.

Alefiya Master
Founder & CEO

While mobile app development and computer science go hand in hand, teachers across the country have found innovative ways to incorporate technology into their non-CS classrooms, too. Family and Consumer Science teacher Maria Lazaro cooked up a way to use the 21st-century
technology in her culinary classroom. Her students at East Cobb Middle School are serving up MAD-learn apps as part of their “create a restaurant” problem-based learning project. While working in groups with specific roles, the middle schoolers conceptualized a restaurant from beginning to end, including marketing campaigns. Just as many eateries in the real world have apps, so do their fictional restaurants.
Our Curriculum and Implementation Specialist, Alexandra Kummernes, worked with all of Maria’s middle-grade “marketing consultants” to teach them how to brand and design their apps as well as add meaningful content. “It’s been an absolute joy to be back in the classroom and see students’ faces light up when they realize the buttons and screens on the apps really do work,” she said, referring to using our “custom template” as a marketing tool for restaurant newsletters or feedback. “When students watched me fill out a form and then saw the submission in my email, they couldn’t believe it.”
Maria’s forward-thinking is proof that you don’t have to be a technology guru or teacher to integrate these essential life skills into any curriculum. Students can foster critical thinking and workplace chops using mobile app development in any classroom – even those that have a kitchen 😉
MAD-learn is proud to be working with another organization dedicated to helping young refugees in Kenya.HUMAN SHINE DREAM (HSD), is a non-profit community-based organization, Operating in the Kakuma refugee camp since 2018. HSD aims to enhance and develop refugees’ lives through Education & Technology.

The project is led by Bonne Idee Byamungu Elisha, who describes himself as “a man of 30 years of age, living in Kenya, Turkana west, specifically in the Kakuma refugee camp.” He is the CEO & Founder of HSD. Several facilitators have accessed accounts and are excited to share what they learn about mobile app development with young students under their tutelage. 
MAD-learn has fully sponsored licenses, training, and support for this amazing group of change-makers, but they need more help. Can you consider a small donation to their work? 
Teachers from around Georgia gathered last month at the Klaus Advanced Computing Building on the Georgia Tech campus for the CSTA Georgia Renaissance & Refresh event to learn ways to enhance and revamp their Computer Science curricula. MAD-learn had a booth at the event which gave us a chance to engage with educators and members of the CS community (shout out to all the Clayton County Public School teachers who showed up in droves!). Alefiya and Alexandra presented a session on mobile app development for those who wanted to learn more about incorporating mobile app development in their classrooms. Many participants were enthusiastic and excited to discover how accessible mobile app development can be. Other sessions also focused on creativity and STEAM lessons in the classroom, along with updates from the amazing GADOE CS Team.
Shout out to the amazing GA CSTA crew: Yolanda, Rhonda, Batavia, and Aungelita pictured here (right to left):
Now in her 21st year of teaching, Mekisha Parks is the epitome of teachers who wear many hats. She currently heads up Holy Innocent’s Episcopal School’s MS Computer/ MS Robotics, Esports, & Technology programs. She has taught Middle school math, history, technology, and computer science, and she has coached Varsity/MS Girls Basketball, MS Volleyball, MS Track, MS Girls LAX, and Varsity/MS Esports! Mekisha is an accomplished app builder, herself, having created apps for various departments, including Athletic and Admissions, the latter created to help prospective students and their families navigate the campus during their visits.
This undergrad at Emory and Master’s degree holder from Georgia State loves her job, and feels comfortable working at her alma mater. She has led her students in effective and efficient sessions of MAD-learn. The latest was completed earlier this fall. “The project went well. We invited the staff of Enrollment Management to be part of our presentation audience and encouraged them to peruse the app using the preview feature.” She added, “ They were so impressed that they would like to continue conversations about ways to combine the ideas of the student into something that can be used for the school.” The work that both she and her students have produced is quite impressive, and we are proud to be working with this most talented teacher!
We want to thank schools that have either renewed their partnerships with MAD-learn or are just joining our MAD-family. We are so happy to know we will be continuing our work to help students at:
  • DeKalb County Schools (GA)
  • Hawthorn South Middle School (IL)
  • Rising Starr Middle School (GA)
  • Gilford High School (NH)
  • Schools Out NYC at NYCID (NY)
  • Cobb County Schools (GA)
…getting your students to apply to the Congressional App Challenge! The contest is underway, and your students can participate. Do your students have great ideas? Have they already built an app to solve real-life problems? Encourage them to apply! MAD-learn students have won prizes in the past and we want YOUR STUDENTS to apply this year! They could win a chance to visit Washington, DC to present their app to members of Congress. Deadline is Nov 1, 2022 so act now. A 2021 CAC winner shared some useful tips and tricks for anyone interested, so check out the link here:
The Congressional App Challenge, a program in which members of Congress challenge middle and high school students in their district to learn code and create an app, is the most prestigious prize in student computer science. Participation in the challenge has grown exponentially and reached underserved, diverse, and rural student populations. It is transforming how Congress views computer science and STEM. Since the challenge was first announced, Congress’ mentions of computer science and coding have increased by 2,000 percent!
Our partnership with the Congressional App Challenge has been strengthened through various collaborations such as an APPy hour event we co-hosted in March that brought together teachers from all over the United States who were interested in learning more about how to integrate computer science into their classrooms and how their students could participate in The Congressional App Challenge. We are especially hopeful of more middle schoolers applying this year!
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