BranchOut! Innovator is a Congressional Award-winning program where participants use their skills in programming, curriculum design, and marketing to build a mobile application that will help students prepare for required state tests. While the BranchOut! mentoring program is over the summer, BranchOut! Innovator is a year-long program that takes place remotely.
BranchOut! Innovator is a project-based program designed for students to use their creativity and technical skills to create meaningful change in their communities. Students in developers, curriculum design, and marketing work together to support a mobile application for the Standards of Learning (SOL) test preparation called SOLve, a mental health initiative called vCare, and a community support application called AAPI Connector.
Our vCare project proposal came with the COVID-19 pandemic in mind. Through an almost year-long isolation period and facets of stress, such as economic or social hardships, this viral outbreak has negatively impacted the mental health of people across all demographics. To alleviate this mental health crisis, we are working to create an app to help relax individuals and provide a method of self-care. We aim for vCare to be a comprehensive solution to this complex issue.
vCare is currently undergoing the design process, with goals of implementing features such as a journal, mindfulness tab, motivational quotes, and more! At the moment, vCare has not been officially constructed into an app yet, however, the Innovator team has been posting weekly original artwork created by BranchOut! Innovator artists paired with inspirational quotes and captions on social media. All of the features we are planning and social media posts are meant to provide a variety of mediums in order to cater to a wider audience.
The SOLs are standardized yearly tests that all students in grades 3-12 take in Virginia. The commonwealth uses this to measure the growth of students based on an expectation of learning and achievement in grades K-12. These standards are mainly tested on English, Math, Science, and Social Sciences. However, we expect this app to be able to adhere to the education standards of multiple states.
SOLve currently has various topics ranging from math to English, covering grades 3-9. The application functions by simulating similar questions and features that are seen in a standard SOL. It also includes a reward feature that is meant to encourage students after they complete a task.
We are currently looking to publish SOLve on the Google Play Store in the near future, however, we still are thinking ahead to add additional features. These would include expanding beyond mathematics and reading, and into social studies and science, adding user feedback, and quotes.
Bring an application to life through code with your programming knowledge. Developers will work collaboratively on the technical aspect of the app to create a final product that can enhance student learning experiences. The app will have attention-grabbing points to effectively engage and encourage students to continue interacting with the app activities.
Design an engaging curriculum for SOLve that aligns with SOL test standards. Curriculum designers will formulate course outlines via writing questions, lessons, and other content that will enable students to successfully learn material and better prepare for the SOL. For vCare, they will design the app screens and self-care features, as well as the layout and aesthetic designs. The team will also conduct research on mental health in order to create articles and necessary materials for the app.
Help increase the app's positive impact by reaching a larger audience. They will promote apps to reach as many eyes as possible. Those on the marketing team will devise strategies to "branch out" with the app and expand its user base through social media, contacting officials, and other means. However, since both applications are still in the production phase, marketing will also be creating website counterparts that will allow users to explore our app on a personal computer.