Mobile App Development Program for High School Students Launched

Lenovo and the National Academy Foundation (NAF) today launched a program to teach mobile app development to high school students across the United States. Five schools from NAF’s network of career academies are piloting the program as part of Lenovo’s initiative to encourage greater student interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects and to strengthen 21st century skills. N.C. Gov. Bev Perdue and members of Lenovo and NAF’s executive leadership team made the announcement today at Apex High School’s Academy of Information Technology in Apex, N.C., one of the participating schools.

“High-tech skills are critical for North Carolina’s pipeline of future workers,” said Gov. Perdue. “Unique partnerships like this one not only give high school students real-world, real-time learning opportunities, but they align with the broader goals of business, education and government to create North Carolina’s next generation of professional leaders.”

To aid the students and teachers implement the curriculum, Lenovo provided a package of technology products to each school, including Android-based ThinkPad Tablets and large format ThinkCentre HD All-in-One desktops, among other items.

The other schools that will offer the app development course are part of the National Academy Foundation’s Academies of Information Technology: Grover Cleveland High School in New York City, Downtown Magnets High School in Los Angeles, Pathways to Technology Magnet School in Hartford, Conn., and A.J. Moore Academy of Information and Technology in Waco, Texas. The program aims to ultimately make the curriculum available to NAF’s 100 Academies of Information Technology.

"Our schools are strong because we have great partnerships with business and industry,” said Anthony J. Tata, superintendent of the Wake County Public School System. “This unique program gives our students practical experience with innovative technology at a time when they're making decisions about their future careers. We're creating the next generation of entrepreneurs."

The course is designed to be implemented as either a 12-week after-school or “out-of-school time” activity to supplement the NAF-developed IT courses students take during the school day or as part of the existing NAF daytime curriculum. Student teams will develop a working wireframe, business plan and implementation schedule for an Android-based mobile application.

New Research Shows Kids Want to Learn App Development but Lack Tech Confidence

New research from Lenovo also supports creation of the mobile app development curriculum. The research shows that while students have a strong interest in mobile apps – which many of them use on a daily basis – and see app development as a valuable skill, they don’t have confidence that they will have the technology background needed for tomorrow’s workforce. The Omnibus survey of American teenagers, conducted in December of 2011, found that:

  • 80 percent of American teens would be interested in learning how to create their own mobile app.
  • Almost a quarter (22 percent) think that mobile app development will be the most important technology skill to have when entering the workforce in a few years.
  • 63 percent are only somewhat confident, at best, that the technology know-how they have now is enough to secure a good job upon entering the workforce.

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