Students Create Apps to Help Improve Learning

Alex Ngure, 2014 Coding Contest Winner

“Seeing the fruits of your labor turn into something tangible is amazing. There is no limit to what you can do with coding,” said Chris Siegler, a member of the third-place winning team of Pearson’s 2nd Annual Coding Contest. More than 100 students from nearly 70 universities competed against one another building apps that integrate with Pearson’s APIs and could show measurable improvement in learning. The competition, which was held in 2014, culminated with the top three finalists converging in Denver, February, 2015 to give their final pitches to a panel of judges.


The three winners were announced in April and are:

1st Place/Cash Prize: $5,000
Alex Ngure from the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, for his app CrowdLearn.

2nd Place/Cash Prize: $2,500
Garrett Smith from Harper College, Palatine, Illinois, for his app Curriculab.

3rd Place/Cash Prize: $1,000
Yhlas Jorayev, Christopher Siegler, Ryan Jones, and Nicholas Brantley from Troy University, Troy, Alabama, for their app QuickDef.


Their final journey in the competition was documented in a video, where first-place winner, Alex Ngure, said that he believes the contest helped instill confidence. He found that if he challenged himself, he was impressed with what he could accomplish. While all of the Troy University team members were not able to travel to the final competition, Nicholas Brantley, explained how this experience helped him to appreciate teamwork. He said, “Working on this project has expanded my knowledge of the roles people play in making a program. By working as a team, we each had unique individual jobs to do, and our combined abilities made us better as a group. Knowing about all the different steps required to make a program, pitch the idea, and adjust it to fit the wants and needs of the target audience has also expanded what I thought programming involved.”

To further explore the students’ app-building journey, we met with them to record this podcast. Listen as they showcase their innovative apps, explore the inspiration behind the app development, explain what they learned through the process and some give great advice for students considering entry into next year’s competition.