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Ed Prizes Back to School Update

The end of summer is fast approaching, and it’s been a jam-packed season for Ed Prizes. From advancing career exploration tech to bringing makerspaces to schools, we’ve had the incredible opportunity to work with innovators from across the nation.

Here’s what we’ve been up to:

First Lady Announces Reach Higher Winner
This week First Lady Michelle Obama announced ThinkZone Games as the grand prize winner of the Reach Higher Career App Challenge! ThinkZone will receive $100,000 and additional sponsor prizes valued at $300,000 for their winning career planning mobile app, Hats & Ladders.

Hats & Ladders engages students from middle to high school with swipe-to-choose self-assessments, connected activities, and mini-challenges. By providing repeat exposure to a broad spectrum of careers, it enables students to draw connections between their personal attributes and multiple pathways to career success, including career and technical education.

ThinkZone Games recently presented their Hats & Ladders app prototype at Demo Day on July 7th at the White House, alongside the four other finalists teams. Government leaders including Megan Smith, CTO of the United States, and Eric Waldo, Executive Director of the First Lady’s Reach Higher Initiative also spoke, offering insights into how new tech solutions can transform students’ lives.

With their prize money, ThinkZone Games will continue development of Hats & Ladders in preparation for a pilot with 50 middle schools in early 2017. Congratulations to ThinkZone Games!

CTE Makeover Prize Winners Build Out Their Makerspaces
In June we announced the 10 CTE Makeover Challenge prize winners at the White House Champions of Change event during the National Week of Making. Each winning school received $20,000 and a share of in-kind prizes from a sponsor prize pool valued at $375,000. The prize winners are currently hard at work putting their plans into action by remodeling or building their new spaces. From mobile makerlabs to autoshops in libraries to entrepreneurship hubs, these 10 makerspaces will serve as exceptional models for other schools working on their own making programs.

You can follow their progress on the Challenge website and stay tuned for more details about a showcase at the World Maker Faire this October in New York City.

Need Your Help – Bring Ed Prizes to SXSWedu!
Interested in hearing the CTE Makeover Challenge experts discuss their learnings at SXSWedu 2017? Head over to PanelPicker to cast your vote. During our proposed session, the following experts will explore what it really takes to design and deploy a successful makerspace:

  • Albert Palacios, Education Program Specialist, Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education, U.S. Department of Education
  • Rafranz Davis, Executive Director of Professional and Digital Learning, Lufkin ISD
  • Stephanie Santoso, Program Fellow, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation; Former White House OSTP
  • Kate Machtiger, Senior Analyst, Luminary Labs