Description & History

ThinkQuest NYC is a seven year old 501 C3, dedicated to providing a rich, meaningful learning experience for NYC students.

We employ a contest model that exploits the natural curiosity and enthusiasm students have for technology.

Research has shown that: o Economically disadvantaged students begin to disengage from academics in the early school years o Minority students show a steep decline in academic achievement in middle years of school (grades 5-8) o A gap in the digital divide is clearly evident among races in the US today.

African American, Latino and Native American students are not being afforded the same access to technology as Caucasian and Asian students.

We seek to keep inner city students engaged in learning through free, city wide contests.

These competitions are based on using state-of-art technologies (Internet and digital media).

We require participants to work in teams. In the process of working with their teams to compete for wonderful prizes, students learn teamwork, collaboration and project management in addition to technology.

Our innovative contests have received acclaim.

In 2003, Technology & Learning magazine cited ThinkQuest NYC?s Internet Challenge as one of its Top 10 Innovative Projects, ranking it number 3 in the country (from a pool of several thousand learning projects).

DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION The students we serve are economically underprivileged and racially diverse.

The overwhelming majority (75%) of schools participating in TQNYC are in New York City?s most troubled low- income areas.

Participating students break down as follows: 37% Latino, 35% African American, 14% Asian and 14% Caucasian and other.

PROGRAM Our approach is comprehensive.

There are five elements to our program: 1.

The competitions During the school year, New York City students in grades 3-12 work in teams (teams consist of 2-6 students plus one to two coaches) to design, research and create educational, interactive websites and videos.

Contest topics are selected by students. TQNYC provides participating teams with free web server accounts, web-based development tools, tutorials for independent learning, an ?on-line Help Desk? for technical support and miscellaneous tools to augment videos and web site projects (e.g., message boards, counters, guest books, quiz generators). After teams finish their projects, they submit them to TQNYC for judging.

Judges are volunteers who are given a rubric weighing educational value, content quality, technical quality, and interactivity.

2.

Annual Awards and Recognition Ceremony Finalists, winning teams, schools and educators in both competitions are celebrated in June at our annual recognition and awards events.

Winners are recognized in front of families, friends, educators, and government officials and awarded wonderful prizes (laptop computers, camcorders, digital cameras, etc).

3.

?Bootcamps?: Formal educational program for teachers TQNYC provides free instruction to NYC teachers so they can mentor teams and become proficient in creating websites and videos.

To date we have trained over 1040 New York City teachers in our full day bootcamp sessions.

Participation is voluntary.

Teachers spend an entire day (8:30 am ? 3:30 pm) learning how to combine curriculum and technology and create a fun, challenging 21st century classroom that engages students.

We also offer free advanced sessions for teachers who want to explore more complex authoring tools (e.g., Photoshop, Java and database management).

4.

?Extravaganzas?: Formal educational program for students TQNYC provides training and education for students. From January through March we hold Saturday ?extravaganzas? (workshops dedicated to complex web and video topics such as Photoshop, data manipulation, flash, story boarding, citation rules, etc.) 5.

After school programs We sponsor after school programs in economically disadvantaged areas of the city so that students have a safe, supervised place to work with their teams on projects.

The application process for after school grants is rigorous.

In addition to completing a request and qualifying demographically, to be eligible for after school grants, teachers must have experience coaching a student team, recruit a co-coach and sign up a minimum of 25 students to participate.

Teachers also need the support of their principal and need to commit to meeting at least once a week with teams to work on websites and videos.

Once approved, they have to attend at least one additional teacher training session and have teams formed and in progress by January student extravaganzas.

Demand for these programs consistently exceeds our capacity.

FUNDERS 2008 funding sources include: NBC Universal, SCI FI, Citi Foundation, WaMu, Best Buy, Oracle Education Foundation, NYC Dept of Education, NY City council, Board members

About the organization

ThinkQuest NYC

Contact:
Alison Carrabba
Executive Director
(212) 581-3773