Mount Vernon Tech Program Taking Top Prizes

It is lights, camera, action in Mount Vernon with the school’s technology program experiencing success far beyond the classroom walls.

Besides producing original content for the school district’s television channel – MVTV 105 on the Santel network and live streaming sports events on – students in Communication Arts and Technology Instructor Jeff Sand’s technology classes are provided genuine, real-world opportunities to extend their learning beyond the curriculum and standards taught in class.

“The eighth grade students in technology class took their learning to a new level by competing in the Verizon Innovative Learning App Challenge and winning the ‘Best in State’ award,” Sand said.

“This contest provided students with an outlet to collaborate, think creatively and work together to meet deadlines.”

For their top performance in the Verizon Innovative Learning App Challenge, which featured more than 1,800 submissions, Gavin Franks, Kolby Kayser, Lily Mikkonen and Logan Tlam earned the Mount Vernon School District $5,000, which will fund STEM-related training and tools in the district, and each student received t-shirts, Verizon gear and Verizon Ellipsis tablet.

The contest challenged students to design an app concept they believed would better their school, community or the world.

M-V’s tech class eighth graders designed an app titled: FitFresh.

FitFresh integrates a meal sharing program where people can create a group with different people assigned days to cook meals each week and a calorie camera, which would allow a person to take a picture of a meal and the app would calculate the calories and nutritional value of the meal.

These features combined with a BMI calculator, food journal and user-friendly interface helped the team earn the distinguished honor of best in state.

The eighth grade tech class also created a video for the “What’s So Cool About Manufacturing?” Video contest created by South Dakota Manufacturing and Technology Solutions, an organization founded by the Governor’s Office of Economic Development. The students were paired up with Dakota Pump, a pump station manufacturer located in Mitchell.

This real-world learning opportunity allowed students an opportunity to tour Dakota Pump Inc., interview owners and employees, and record footage of manufacturing in progress. Students then edited the video and interviews to create their own video for the contest.

The team of Franks, Mikkonen, Dylan Reimnitz and Naomi Troutman and their video were selected by Dakota Pump Inc. to be entered into the contest.

“Students’ knowledge of manufacturing, video editing and technology has grown tremendously during the 2016-17 school year,” Sands said.