If you haven’t heard of the Imagine Cup…or read my previous blogs about it…I really would like to share it with you. It’s one of the things I’m most proud to be involved with and one of the most exciting events around that helps to empower students to use their creativity to change the world.
The Imagine Cup is the world’s premier technology competition, challenging students to develop and implement software applications, video games and mobile solutions that help solve tough social issues like education and healthcare. Last year over 300,000 students from 124 countries and regions registered for the year-long event. Every year the competition generates new ideas and approaches to real and important global challenges. The event fosters a global community of students that are becoming tomorrow’s social innovators and business leaders. Previous participants have created diverse solutions like an educational game system that allows an entire class to access a single computer at the same time, a self-sufficient system that battles famine by breeding insects as a food source and even an environmentally friendly car that runs on vegetable oil. You can read more of their success stories here. I’m constantly impressed and awed by the quality, creativity and optimism driving the solutions submitted…it furthers a lesson I have learned long ago…if we raise expectations of what motivated students can achieve…they’ll continue to meet and exceed them.
Students 16 and over are invited rise to the challenge by registering for one of the local competitions around the world. Winners of these local challenges win a trip to compete at the worldwide finals in Warsaw, Poland this summer. In the US, there is both a fall and a spring competition that teams can compete in. Today, Microsoft announced the finalists for the fall competition. Student can still register for the spring competition by February 1 at www.imaginecup.us. The finalists from both the fall and spring competitions will attend the US finals in Washington, DC in April where the winning team will be selected to represent the nation in the worldwide finals.
Imagine Cup also provides an opportunity for educators to get involved as team mentors or to use the competition for a class project. Participating in the Imagine Cup helps students develop real-world skills, which are so important, especially in today’s struggling economy. Encouraging students to participate in programs like the Imagine Cup helps get students excited about studying technology and exploring career opportunities in the field. This website has a resource kit to help you get started.
Last year, I attend the US finals in Boston and I’m excited to see what innovative ideas young people from around the world will invent this year. You can follow the event on the Imagine Cup Blog and find out more about the competition at www.imaginecup.com.