Last week marked the official start of the 2016 Congressional App Challenge, an annual nationwide event to engage student creativity and encourage participation in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) and computer science (CS) education. The Challenge allows high school students from across the country to compete against their peers by creating and exhibiting their software application (or app) for mobile, tablet, or computer devices. Winners in each district will be recognized by their Member of Congress. The Challenge is sponsored by the Internet Education Foundation and supported by ALA.
Why coding at the library? Coding could come across as the latest learning fad, but skills developed through coding align closely with core library activities such as critical thinking, problem solving, collaborative learning, and now connected learning and computational thinking. Coding in libraries is a logical progression in services for youth.
The App Challenge can be another means to engage teens at your library. Libraries can encourage students to participate in the Challenge by having an App Challenge event- host an “App-a-thon,” have a game night for teens to work on their Apps, or start an App building club.
At the launch, over 140 Members of Congress from 38 states signed up to participate in the 2016 Congressional App Challenge. Check to see if your district is participating and if not, you can use a letter template on the Challenge Website to send a request to your Member of Congress.
If you do decide to participate we encourage you to share what you’re doing using the App Challenge hashtag #HouseofCode and ALA’s hashtag #readytocode @youthandtech. The App Challenge runs through November 2. Look for more information throughout the competition.