Youth APPLab is a MacArthur Foundation’s 2010 Digital Media & Learning Competition winner!

2010 DML Competition Winnter

Youth APPLab provides District of Columbia high school students with after-school training in software design and mobile application development, while guiding them toward the creation of their own Android Apps. This project presents participants with opportunities to explore computer science, examine cutting-edge technology, innovate, problem solve, communicate, and express themselves.

Participants represent the diverse populations not abundantly present in computer science careers today (African-American and Hispanic males and females). As such, Youth APPLab is also a vehicle for probing students’ thoughts and perspectives about technology, the pursuit of technical careers, and reactions to staggering statistics describing their involvement in computer science.  This effort was inspired in part by the National Science Foundation’s Broadening Participating in Computing campaign.

Ultimately, students and their apps will compete for internships with technology-based startup companies in and around DC.

Youth APPLab takes place after-school during the 2010-2011 school year.  Students come from local high schools and were selected via an application process that includes essay questions pertaining to potential interests in computer science and project participation. Students work in as teams have receive the necessary resources needed to create their intended apps.

All students are required to text/video blog about their experiences throughout the project. Their blog entries, featured here, will serve as research artifacts and will be regularly reviewed by the team for perspective analysis. One-on-one discussions with students will also occur regularly to ensure valid interpretations. Results will help introduce computer science to others.

Overall Project Objectives:

  • High School students learn how to program (e.g. java programming language)
  • High School students gain software production experience (from design to production)
  • Youth APPLab gains insight into students’ perspectives and experiences as project progresses. This insight will be shared with computer science community regarding nation-wide ‘Broadening (minority) Participation in Computer Science’ efforts

Other Objectives:

  • Participating students gain internships and exposure to real-world experiences
  • Participating companies gain new talent (i.e. interns)
  • Youth APPLab becomes replicable
  • MacArthur Foundation contributes to future of digital media and learning
This material is based on work supported by John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation under Prime Award no. 08-91858-000-HCD and The Regents of the University of California.
Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of John D. & Catherinine T. MacArthur Foundation or The Regents of the University of California.