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Cisco and Web Compete at World Wide Technology

Cisco and Web Compete at World Wide Technology

World Wide Technology hosted it’s fourth annual STEM Student Forum on February 23 and our Web & Computer Programming (WCP) and Cisco Networking students were ready to represent! They competed against 19 other area school teams who were all striving to best answer the forum’s challenging question: “In a world that is more connected than ever before, how can STEM be used to foster meaningful human connections and positive social change within your school communities?”

Back in January, our students met with their WWT mentor, Marc DeSantis, for an ideation session. He and fellow WWT mentor Bobby Hilvert assisted our team as they worked through the development stages of their submission. “The team worked together very well,” said DeSantis, “they played to each other’s strengths in order to find ways that each team could contribute to the project. During the initial ideation session, the students all contributed their best ideas on which problems they could address within their school community, and finally agreed to focus on building an Event Calendar mobile app.” He also appreciated how quickly the team switched gears and worked with HTML and Javascript when they learned they couldn’t use native Android development tools due to technology restrictions.

Our combined Web and Cisco team determined that lack of knowledge about North Tech and its programs might best be solved by developing an app. Beginning with Xamarin C#, the students planned their app and considered initial content. This required real collaboration and compromise, as the two programs did not always see eye to eye on decisions. “When working on this project, it took more than coding skills. It took teamwork, cooperation, and trust among us” said WCP student Marcus Jones.

The team proposed using Raspberry Pi hardware due to it being open source and easy to configure and monitor. Their program proposal recommended using Visual Studio Code, HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript, and Responsive Web Design software. Our students worked on their app development in their spare time for several weeks to prepare for the Saturday competition.

“This was a great event,” said Patti Venturella, WCP instructor, “and our students did great, they gave 100% and I was so impressed. I would have hated to be a judge!” North Tech’s programs earned $1000 for participating in the challenge. Cisco Networking student Zach Beaver found real value in the experience, saying “The STEM project was a great opportunity and allowed me to understand what it takes to work on a large project with a team. It also allowed me to make a lot of connections in the technical world, which will hopefully help me later on in my career.”

Ultimately, Pattonville High School landed the top prize of $10,000 for their website to support the operating efficiency and reach of a school care closet. Second and third prizes went to Incarnate Word Academy and MICDS, respectively. In all, WWT awarded more than $30,000 to local schools to help improve their STEM programs.

The rewards for our students, however, extended far beyond prize money. Alexa Carrol from Cisco took away new insight regarding app development, WCP student India Booth appreciated the “fantastic” employees who hosted the WWT event, and Cisco student Jayla Templeton found the experience both eye-opening and enjoyable. The most valuable takeaway for all students was best summarized by Kiya Aaron from Cisco, who said the forum was a great learning experience “because I was able to see teamwork making the dream work.” And that real world lesson is invaluable.

To learn more about the Cisco Networking Academy and Web & Computer Programming courses at North Tech, visit our programs page here: http://northtechnical.org/programs/. We are currently accepting applications for Fall 2019.


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