Christa McAuliffe Academy students advance to final round of national app challenge

A group of middle-schoolers from Christa McAuliffe Academy in Wichita has advanced to the next round of competition in the Verizon Innovative App Challenge.

The students learned Friday that their app concept was chosen as a regional winner and that McAuliffe would be awarded a $5,000 grant to support STEM education at the school.

On Jan. 23, the students will present their concept for judging during an online webinar. The top middle school team and top high school team from each of the four regions will be named national winners and work with engineers to develop their app.

Shane Koranda, the McAuliffe teacher whose technology class submitted the regional-winning concept, said the “Homework in Any Language” app would enable families to translate homework instructions into a preferred language by hovering over the written text using the camera on any smart device.

The app’s goal is to help non-English-speaking parents learn about or help with their child’s homework, Koranda said. McAuliffe, a K-8 school near 143rd Street East and Pawnee in southeast Wichita, has a diverse population, with more than 14 languages spoken in students’ homes.

“The kids came up with the idea themselves and just ran with it,” Koranda said.

The nine students in McAuliffe’s Technology Student Association meet during lunch and recess to work on techonology-based projects. Koranda said he hopes to use the $5,000 grant to offset the students’ costs to compete in upcoming state and national competitions.

Reach Suzanne Perez Tobias at 316-268-6567 or Follow her on Twitter: @suzannetobias.

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