Tech giant Lenovo donated laptops and tablets to Patterson High School, which the students will be able to use to assist them in learning about coding, testing and developing mobile applications.
Lenovo choose Patterson as one of just 30 recipients from around the country after the school won an app competition that challenged high school students to develop Android-based mobile applications using a ThinkPad Tablet.
Delivered to the school on September 24, 2015, the gear is part of the Lenovo Scholar Network program that is designed to provide robust mobile app development curriculum and advance STEM skills in the classroom.
In its second year, the program provides select National Academy Foundation (NAF) schools across the country with a comprehensive mobile application development curriculum, promoting critical thinking, team building and analytical skills needed to create the next generation of developers and innovators, according to school officials.
Patterson counts among 20 NAF academies selected to participate in the app program this year and, as a result, 30 students will be involved in the program and will participate in a project-based competition focused on designing and developing a mobile app and a business plan for taking the app to market.
“We were all thrilled, really excited and the students who got to try out the computers for the first time were also very excited about this,” said Nick Yates, a teacher and coordinator of the Lenovo program at Patterson.
Yates hosts an after school coding club and he and colleague, Sharon Ball, helped to submit the application that ultimately led Patterson to being selected to participate in the program.
“It’s an extremely valuable tool for what STEM is about,” Yates said. “This is a way for students to coordinate their homework and solve problems using apps which is absolutely an interesting way to apply and incorporate STEM into lessons.”
Yates is hoping that after an enthusiastic unveiling of the devices provided by Lenovo, more students will become interested in the program, he said in joining other school officials in plotting ways to get the most out of the new technology.
“Patterson High School is blazing the trail once again with the Lenovo and NAF partnership that encourages interest in STEM subjects and high-tech skills among high school students,” said Maxwell Alukwu, the director of Patterson’s Academy of Engineering. “Being the first in the city as a participating Lenovo Scholar Network Academy will allow our students to have access to Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Media Lab’s App Inventor development tool to build and test apps.”
Through the network, students from Patterson will participate in mobile app development experiences that provide them with knowledge, resources, and practical experience to support their college and future career success.
The Lenovo Scholar Network is designed to encourage greater interest among underserved high school students in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics subjects while providing them with the high tech skills needed to succeed in the 21st century.
“After the success of our inaugural year, we look forward to continuing our partnership with NAF academies and their students through the Lenovo Scholar Network, providing students with the STEM skills needed to succeed in today’s workplace,” said Jason Mooneyham, vice president of Public Sector, Lenovo North America, said in a news release. “We are excited to enable this new class of scholars with the technology and skills they need to help them become the next generation of developers and innovators.”
Last year, more than 400 hundred students from 10 NAF Academies of Information Technology participated in the Lenovo Scholar Network.
This year, the program will expand to include students from across all of NAF’s career themes, including engineering, finance, health sciences, and hospitality and tourism.
In conjunction with MIT, NAF will now offer access to a self-guided course for Patterson High School teachers on App Inventor, an in-person teacher training, and regular “open office hours” with MIT staff via Google Hangout.
Lenovo will provide each of the participating schools ThinkPad laptops and YOGA Android tablets— a total investment of more than $500,000 over the three years of the program.
“The parents are excited about this too,” Yates said. “They really enjoyed the presentation at Back-to-School Night.”