President leads off with Hello Navi app [The Brownsville Herald, Texas :: ]
(Brownsville Herald (TX) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) May 28--President Obama gave first mention to the Hello Navi app development team at Resaca Middle School in Los Fresnos in his speech Tuesday at the White House Science Fair.
Last week, the White House invited three of the six girls developing the Hello Navi mobile smart phone app to attend this year's White House Science Fair to demonstrate their app.
This year's fair is focusing on girls and women who are excelling in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and math. The Hello Navi app team just happens to be all female.
"So one of their classmates, an outstanding young man Andres Salas, is visually impaired," Obama said as he recognized the girls at his press conference about the event.
"So they designed an app to help him navigate their school and other buildings. The app tells him where he is, where he may need to go, which saves Andres a huge amount of time, because they were explaining ... Andres was explaining ... if he goes from middle school to high school ... he has to memorize and track his surroundings. This app is helping him do that," the president said.
Salas is attending the science fair, along with Resaca Middle School Principal Asael Ruvalcaba and science teacher Maggie Bolado, the instigator of the Hello Navi project.
The White House limited the invitation to three of the six girls on the team. Cassandra Baquero, Kaitlin Gonzales and Janessa Leija were chosen in a drawing to represent the school. Grecia Cano, Kayleen Gonzalez and Jacquelyne Torres are the other girls on the team.
In March, Resaca received a $20,000 check for winning one of eight Best in Nation awards in the Verizon Innovative App Challenge to create mobile smartphone applications.
Last fall Bolado spotted the Verizon contest on Twitter. Teams then submitted app ideas and the Hello Navi team was chosen to represent Resaca based on its app concept.
"The kids had to come up with the concept, which was that we needed to identify a problem or issue on campus or in our community that the app would benefit," Bolado said at the time.
In his speech Tuesday, Obama said, "So not only do these ladies have big brains, they also have big hearts."
"Hello Navi" integrates a variety of digital tools such as a compass, scanner, VoiceOver, optical Braille readers and Google indoor navigation technology to guide blind or visually-impaired students around their schools, or any building.
Resaca students and other winning teams have received in-person training by Massachusetts Institute of Technology's App Inventor Training Corps to build their apps and make them available for download. They are scheduled to complete their app by June 1, and present it at the 2014 National Technology Student Convention in Washington June 27-July 1.
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