Lenovo announced a new agreement with the National Academy Foundation (NAF) to bring a robust mobile app development curriculum and delivery program to NAF academies in the United States. The two organizations will provide innovative curriculum and technology to provide exposure and encourage interest among high school students in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). This program, now called Lenovo Scholar Network, builds on a successful 2012 pilot where high school students from five NAF IT academies across the United States created and launched apps, some of which are now available to the public on Google Play.
Using the MIT App Inventor service developed by the Center for Mobile Learning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), a joint project of the MIT Media Lab and MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, Lenovo and NAF’s unique mobile app development program is catered to reaching students from urban, underrepresented communities, including students of the military.. The Lenovo Scholar Network is specially designed to enable the next generation of developers and entrepreneurs from these communities, a primary constituency group of all NAF students.
As part of the program, NAF students from 10 IT academies across the United States will participate in mobile app and entrepreneurship courses intended for the project-based competition. Academies will be selected by NAF through an application process, and selected institutions will be announced in September 2014. The competition tasks students to design and develop a mobile app and business plan for taking the app to market, which measures critical college and career readiness skills.
Students who successfully meet the criteria of the Lenovo Scholars Network will receive a “Lenovo App Scholar” badge of distinction, recognizing their accomplishments in technology, business management, entrepreneurship and product development. In addition, a select number of students will be recognized as the mobile app development competition winners for most innovative app at NAF Next!, NAF’s signature annual conference.
Lenovo will provide PC and tablet devices to each of the 10 participating schools to aid the students and teachers in implementing the curriculum. The products include PC devices for student development and coding collaboration, and Lenovo tablet devices for the testing and viability of the mobile app. These Lenovo devices will also enable the students to develop their marketing plan and strategies to bring the app to market.
Lenovo, NAF and MIT plan to create a year-round recognition program that will feature launch events along with local and regional competitions, with the inaugural launch taking place today at NAF Next! 2014 in Washington, D.C. NAF Next! is a professional development conference attended by 1,300 academy leaders, district administrators and partners.
“Lenovo is helping students succeed in the 21st century workplace by nurturing their innate digital skills,” said Karen Ondrick, chief connector, Lenovo. “Participants in the Lenovo Scholar Network will be stimulated by a creative and challenging curriculum, and teachers will have Lenovo tools necessary to be mentors and encourage students’ interest in pursuing a career in STEM.”
“With the success of our 2012 pilot program, we saw the excitement and motivation students experience when they have access to professional development support and innovative technology,” said JD Hoye, president, NAF. “Projects like the Lenovo Scholar Network are essential to NAF’s mission and programming, and with the support of Lenovo and MIT’s faculty and technology developers, we look forward to cultivating the next generation of scientists, developers and innovators.”
“The Lenovo Scholar Network mobile app development program gives high school students a real-world learning opportunity that closely aligns with the responsibilities expected from both colleges and universities, and future employers,” said Josh Sheldon, director of strategic programs, MIT App Inventor. “By using MIT App Inventor, along with curriculum and training from Lenovo and NAF, these students will emerge as ideal candidates when they enter college and the workforce.”
Lenovo (HKSE: 992) (ADR: LNVGY) is a US$39 billion personal technology company, the largest PC company in the world, serving customers in more than 160 countries. Dedicated to building exceptionally engineered PCs and mobile internet devices, Lenovo’s business is built on product innovation, a highly-efficient global supply chain and strong strategic execution. Formed by Lenovo Group’s acquisition of the former IBM Personal Computing Division, the company develops, manufactures and markets reliable, high-quality, secure and easy-to-use technology products and services. Its product lines include legendary Think-branded commercial PCs and Idea-branded consumer PCs, as well as servers, workstations, and a family of mobile internet devices, including tablets and smartphones. As a global Fortune 500 company, Lenovo has major research centers in Yamato, Japan; Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen, China; Sao Paulo, Brazil, and Raleigh, North Carolina. For more information see www.lenovo.com.
The National Academy Foundation (NAF) is an acclaimed network of career-themed academies that open doors for underserved high school students to viable careers. For more than 30 years, NAF has refined a proven model that provides young people access to industry-specific curricula, work-based learning experiences, and relationships with business professionals. NAF academies focus on one of five career themes: finance, hospitality & tourism, information technology, engineering, and health sciences. Nearly 5,000 business professionals volunteer in classrooms, act as mentors, engage NAF students in paid internships, and serve on local advisory boards. During the 2013-14 school year 70,000 students attended 565 NAF academies across 38 states, D.C. and the U.S. Virgin Islands. In 2013, NAF academies reported 96% of seniors graduated.
About NAF Next!
NAF Next! is a capstone learning event that brings together thought leaders and business partners with leaders from more than 565 NAF academies to experience the power of the NAF network! The conference focuses on achieving higher levels of impact, from cultivating advisory boards and work-based learning opportunities to using new tools to track performance. Inspiring speakers from education and industry will provide insight and advice on how to prepare all students for college and careers. NAF Next is a venue to collaborate, innovate and celebrate–in learning sessions and through more informal gathering places. With a wide array of professional development, alongside the opportunity to network with leaders across the nation, NAF Next helps academies and their partners launch into the next phase of exponential growth.