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By Tracie Mitchell
Staff Writer 

Innovative Meeteetse middle schoolers win Best in Region


January 18, 2017

WORLAND – After a lot of hard work both in and out of the classroom, a group of six Meeteetse middle school students have first been named the Wyoming State winners out of over 1,800 entries and now one of the 24 regional winners in the Verizon Innovative Learning app challenge. The country was divided into six regions with two middle school and two high school winners selected per region.

Meeteetse school principal Shane Ogden stated that the six students, Kalvin Erickson, Molly Fremlin, Kiana Horsen, Mickle Ogden, Cooper Randol and Delanie Salzmann, had about a month and a half to two months’ worth of time working on this project, utilizing science and technology classroom time and collaborating online after school while at the same time completing their science fair projects.

According to a school press release, “The app challenge is a nationwide contest in which middle school and high school students are challenged to develop concepts for mobile apps that solve a problem in their community. It’s a unique hands-on activity that teaches collaboration, critical thinking, problem solving and entrepreneurship, as well as STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) skills and coding. It builds on students’ excitement about technology and aims to equip them with skills they need to succeed in the jobs of the future.”

The Meeteetse students created an app called Farmbook that connects sellers and buyers of produce and goods in the area. “Farmbook connects people who have produce or goods that they need to sell, whether that’s an individual household that has a bumper crop of zucchini and tomatoes or whether it’s a commercial grower to people who want to purchase locally grown produce or goods,” Ogden stated. “In the end, if we are selected and we get to build the app, it will use GPS and map tracking information that would show you not only where the nearest sellers, producers and consumers are but it will also let you rank it by who’s charging the most for tomatoes in the area and who’s charging the least and uploading pictures to show what they have to offer,” he added.

The students had a lot of work to do to receive Best in Region for the north central region, not only thinking up the app but marketing it to the judges in writing and video. According to the Verizon Innovative Learning app challenge judging, “App challenge Best in State and Best in Region winners are chosen by a group of judges, assembled by TSA (Technology Student Association), that includes STEM educators, administrators, and other professionals. The judging process unfolds in three phases. In phase one, judges vet submissions by scoring the essay responses. Some of these submissions advance to phase two, in which judges score the essay responses and videos to determine the Best in State and Best in Region winners. Best in Region winners move on to phase three to compete for the title of Best in Nation.”

Being named the Wyoming state winners, the team has won $5,000 for their school and each team member will receive an Android mobile tablet.

The Meeteetse students are now competing for the Best in Nation title which will be awarded to eight teams, and the fan favorite award.

According to the site, “Four top middle school teams and four top high school teams from the group of Best in Region winners will be named Best in Nation winners. Also, one of the Best in State teams will be named the Fan Favorite through public voting. In addition to the prizes they’ve already won at the state level, each Best in Nation team, and the one Fan Favorite team, will receive:

— A $15,000 award to assist the team in building a working mobile app from their winning design, to enhance STEM education at their school or nonprofit groups/clubs, and to cover the travel expenses of the faculty advisor’s attendance at the National Technology Student Association (TSA) Conference in Orlando, Florida, in June 2017.

— In-person and virtual training and support from the MIT App Inventor Group to assist the team in building and publishing their mobile app.

— An all-expenses-paid trip to the 2017 National TSA Conference in Orlando, Florida, for each team member and a parent/guardian.”

According to the press release, “Voting began on Jan. 16. Text ‘FARMBOOK’ to 22333 using a mobile device between the dates of Jan. 16 – Feb. 14 in order to place your vote for the Meeteetse team.”


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