Our team decided to take a unique approach by developing a web application not only for the policy makers and teachers, but also to put the data back in the students' hands. Our application, "Study Buddy," was to assist students in post-SOL remediation. This app worked 1 of 2 ways: the student's perspective and the parent's perspective. If you entered the app through the student's perspective, it would prompt the student to enter his/her school name, grade and SOL scores by subject area. The app then returned custom-tailored resources and activities that students could use to improve their scores if they fell below the passing level. From a parent's perspective, we were able to narrow the demographics even further by adding particular flags such as disability, ethnicity, etc. Our team ended up placing 2nd in 2013.
This past June, I joined a panel of Apps4VAJMU alumni as presenters at the Insights Conference 2014. We talked about our experiences with the Apps4VA program and I had an opportunity to explain and demonstrate the Study Buddy web application. You can find our bios and slide presentation at http://www.cit.org/assets/1/7/FG_3--Apps4VA_JMU-Bell_Dorado_Liskey_Martin.pdf
One of the benefits of this type of program is that mentors from Center for Innovative Technology and the Virginia Department of Education were engaged in discovering what ideas local JMU students had for solutions to existing open problems and provided feedback during some class sessions. This mentoring helped us to refine our apps and gave us a feeling that they were more than just class projects. The program can also be beneficial to other students by challenging them to think of how their work during college can impact local and global communities.