Conrad Challenge Announces Special Category Sponsored by SMART Technologies

Update: The registration deadline for the 2018-19 Conrad Challenge has been extended to November 2, 2018. Learn how to register your team of 2-5 students at conradchallenge.org

2018-19 Challenge will feature a special category, Transforming Education with Technology, presenting students with the opportunity to design new technologies or services that will help transform education experiences

Sept. 27, 2018

Conrad ChalllengeHOUSTON – The Conrad Challenge is pleased to announce a special category, sponsored by SMART Technologies, that will be available to participants in the 2018-19 competition. The category, Transforming Education with Technology, invites students to create new technologies or services that will help transform education experiences and drive better outcomes for individual students, schools or communities. The submission process for the 2018-19 Challenge is now open and teams of 2-5 students between the ages of 13-18 are encouraged to register by visiting www.conradchallenge.org.

“In the Conrad Challenge, we believe learning should be student-centered and relevant to real needs of our learners. We are excited to offer a special category for 2018-19 that explicitly invites students to design new technologies to transform learning for themselves and future generations,” said Nancy Conrad, founder and chairman of the Conrad Foundation, which produces the competition. “SMART has been a leader in educational technology for more than 25 years and their tools have impacted students worldwide. They are an ideal partner for this category. We look forward to collaborating to support the student perspective and we can’t wait to see the innovations developed by this year’s student teams.”

Student teams who enter the Transforming Education with Technology category may focus their innovations on driving a wide range of positive outcomes, including improvements in test scores and pass rates, impacts to soft skills including social-emotional learning (SEL) and 21st century skills, and more. Studies have shown that technology in the classroom doesn’t automatically lead to better student outcomes but, when the right technology is implemented in alignment with well-thought-out instructional strategies and objectives, it can accelerate learning in a meaningful way. The Conrad Challenge will unleash students’ innovation and entrepreneurial skills to develop new commercially-viable technologies that can help learners across the globe achieve positive results.  

"SMART created this challenge category with the Conrad Foundation to provide students with the opportunity to develop new solutions and rethink education through the lens of technology,” said Jeff Lowe, Chief Marketing Officer of SMART Technologies. "As the future leaders of tomorrow, we want to empower students to leverage technology to ultimately transform education experiences. We are excited to support the students as they challenge themselves to inspire greatness and foster better learning outcomes around the world.” 

There are countless areas in which new technologies or services could be developed to impact learning. Just a few of the possibilities include:

  • Physical space―Reimagining the learning environment how can it be improved to be more effective.
  • Curriculum and content―How learning content might be improved to support better student outcomes.
  • Processes―New processes that might be employed to improve learning tool implementations or educational community communications.
  • Learning systems/tools for students and teachers―Different ways in which content could be delivered.

In addition to Transforming Education with Technology, the 2018-19 Conrad Challenge will feature five more categories: Aerospace & Aviation; Cyber-Technology & Security; Energy & Environment; Health & Nutrition; and Smoke-Free World, a special category sponsored by the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World. Interested participants can learn more about each category by visiting this page.

Throughout the competition, coaches and judges from the best in business, industry, research and academia worldwide will be there to guide the teams’ innovative ideas. The special categories will follow all of the traditional guidelines of the Conrad Challenge and adhere to the same timeline. In February 2019, five teams in each challenge category will be chosen as finalists and travel to the annual Innovation Summit taking place April 24-27, 2019 at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. Transforming Education with Technology will be judged based on the same Challenge criteria and a Pete Conrad Scholar will be selected within this category, while the category will also have special judges from SMART Technologies with the potential for additional prizes and awards.

Interested teams should visit the Registration Form and 2018-2019 Conrad Challenge Overview for more information on this year’s competition. Registration will remain open until Friday, October 19, 2018 at 11:59 PM ET. Expert judges will then select semi-finalist teams in each challenge category who will be invited to develop comprehensive business plans for their innovation.

About The Conrad Foundation

The Conrad Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting collaborative, student-centered, real world-relevant learning that fosters innovation and entrepreneurship. Through its programs, the Foundation unleashes students’ potential to create impactful solutions and a sustainable society for generations to come. For more information, visit www.conradchallenge.org.

About SMART Technologies

SMART is a world leader in classroom technology, providing interactive solutions to help every student and teacher discover and develop the greatness within them. A consistent innovator for more than 25 years, SMART is the inventor of the SMART Board® and the developer of SMART Notebook®, the world’s most popular collaborative learning software, and part of the SMART Learning Suite. With their full range of interconnected displays, software, and accessories, used in more than 3 million classrooms, SMART helps students and teachers around the world achieve better learning outcomes. To learn more, visit smarttech.com.

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