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High School Students to Participate in Utah IT Challenge

Monday, March 31st, 2014

During April high school students throughout Utah will compete in the annual Utah IT Challenge. The event is held in partnership with the Microsoft IT Academy, a national program that provides industry-leading technology skills. Utah’s IT Challenge includes Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) certifications. Students who participate in the Utah IT Challenge further develop skills in industry-leading technology that will jump-start his/her future career in the IT industry.

Challenges will be held:
April 14, 2014
Salt Lake Metro Area –– Granite Technical Institute (GTI) – Salt Lake City, UT

April 16, 2014
Northern Utah Area –– Layton High School – Layton, UT

April 17, 2014
Southern Utah Area –– Desert Hills High School – St. George, UT

April 21-22, 2014
Utah County Area –– Nebo Advanced Learning Center – Springville, UT

Utah is known as a technology hotspot and is #1 in IT employment growth. According to the Utah Technology Council, there are approximately 7,000 technology companies in Utah, 5,000 in IT. Students who participate in the CTE Information Technology Education Pathways learn and develop IT skills to prepare to advance successfully into the Information Technology industry.

Thousands of Utah Students Participated in the Hour of Code Event

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

Nationwide, over 17 million people participated in an Hour of Code, December 9-15, 2014, with students writing over 563 million lines of code. In Utah, approximately 57,500 elementary, secondary, and postsecondary students participated in the event.

“Southwest Applied Technology College had over 70 students and faculty participate in the Hour of Code. The Hour of Code went so well, some chose to go above and beyond and learn more about programming from codecademy.com and khanacademy.org. I personally think this was a great experience. I can’t wait to see what kind of technology and programs we are going to have [in the future], since many students have now chosen programming as a profession,” said Scott Nelson, Information Technology Teaching Assistant at Southwest Applied Technology College.

Congratulations to Jackson Elementary School, in Salt Lake City, Utah, who was awarded a classroom set of laptop computers, by Computer Science Education Week, for their Hour of Code plan.

National Computer Science Facts:
> Computer science is a top paying college degree.

> Less than 2.4 percent of college students graduate with a degree in computer science. And the numbers have dropped since the last decade.

> Exposure to computer science leads to some of the best-paying jobs in the world. However, 75 percent of the population is underrepresented.

> Computer programming jobs are growing at two times the national average.

> While, 57 percent of bachelor’s degrees are earned by women, just 12 percent of computer science degrees are awarded to women.

> 9 out of 10 schools don’t offer computer programming classes.

> In 36 of 50 states, computer science doesn’t count towards high school graduation math or science requirement.

Source: csedweek.org/promote

Utah Computer Science Facts:
> Utah is one of 14 states that require students to take computer science in order to graduate.

> Approximately one-third of Utah high schools teach computer programming or computer science.

> Approximately 20 Utah schools are teaching a new ninth-grade elective called “Exploring Computer Science.”

“My classes participated in the Hour of Code. I feel like this was a great experience for all of my students to better understand problem solving, but more importantly to get excited about programming. After watching the short intro videos, students were surprised by how many notable people and “cool” people were getting involved in coding. The most exciting thing for me was their enthusiasm for coding. I had a few students complete “Beyond an Hour of Code” (the 20 hour course) for which they received a prize of their choice. What’s even more exciting is that instead of students asking to play games at the end of class, I now have students asking if they can code. What a great opportunity this has been! I would do this again in a heartbeat!” said Kimberly Mendenhall, Computer Technology teacher at Fort Herriman Middle School, Jordan School District.

Students, talk to your school counselor to sign up for a course in one of six Utah Information Technology Education Pathways. By participating in a computer science course you will learn to think creatively, develop problem solving skills, and how to write code.

Utah news stories highlighting the Hour of Code event:
Should Utah require computer coding before graduation?
Event aims to spark kids’ interest in computer science
Monte Vista Students Join Millions in Hour of Code


Digital Media Arts Festival T-shirt and Poster Contest

Monday, November 25th, 2013

The coordinators of the 2014 Utah Digital Media Arts Festival (DMAF) are soliciting entries for the T-shirt and poster contest for the Festival. Students are asked to come up with their own 3-5 word theme for the Festival, with a focus on design, creativity, and/or digital media, and then design a T-Shirt and poster illustrating that theme.

The DMAF is a yearly competition/festival that gives students the opportunity to showcase his or her best work, and for students to see projects from all around the state.  The winning poster will be given to educators attending the UACTE Winter Conference and in May the T-shirt will be given to attendees of the Digital Media Arts Festival. The winner will be awarded a trophy at the Festival.

T-shirt design requirements:

  • The T-Shirt is a one color silkscreen.
    Choose one color for the T-shirt and one color for the ink.
  • Size: 11″ x 17″
  • Submit design in a 300 dpi vector/.ai file format.
  • The design can be either for the front or the back of the T-shirt.
  • The winning design becomes the property of the Digital Media Arts Festival.

Poster design requirements:

  • The poster is full color.
  • Size: 11″ x 17″ and 17″ x 22″
  • Submit design in a 300 dpi vector/.ai file format.
  • The winning design becomes the property of the Digital Media Arts Festival.
  • The poster design should include the chosen theme and festival categories listed below.
2D Animation Art Portfolio
2D Graphics – Raster Audio
2D Graphics – Vector Interactive Media
3D Animation Photography
3D Graphics Video
Animation – Stop Motion Web Design

Entry requirements:

  • Must be a Utah high school student.
  • Designs must consist of completely original artwork, absolutely NO clip-art or stock illustrations, and NO copyrighted material. Any typography must be licensed for free commercial use.
  • Student entering the contest must be willing to sign a media release.
  • Entries submitted via a drop box.
    Contact Mr. Jensen at djensen@dsdmail.net for submission details.

 The deadline for entering the contest is Friday, December 20, 2013.
The winner will be announced by January 31, 2014.

WATCH a slideshow video featuring the 2013 Digital Media Arts Festival winners.


Plan Now to Participate in the Hour of Code Event

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

In celebration of Computer Science Education Week, plan now to participate in the Hour of Code event December 9-15, 2013. The first annual Hour of Code is a campaign to encourage 10 million students to learn to code. Steve Jobs, co-founder, chairman, and CEO of Apple Inc. believed, “Everyone in this country should learn how to program a computer because it teaches you how to think.”

The goal of the Hour of Code campaign is to demystify computer science for students across the country. Through introductory tutorials, that can be completed online, on a smartphone, or even unplugged, students will learn the basics of how to code. Code.org is challenging teachers, parents and even employers to encourage students of all ages to participate during Computer Science Education Week.

Participate at your school
Participate in your community
Participate at your workplace

Did you know?

  • Software jobs outnumber students 3-to-1.
  • The gap is 1 million jobs over 10 years and these are some of the highest paying jobs.
  • 90 percent of schools in the US do not teach computer science.
  • In many countries, computer science is required (China, Vietnam, Estonia. Soon UK, Australia)
  • The basics of coding can be learned by anybody, starting in elementary school. But fewer than 10 percent of students try and only 2 percent are women.

There is no need to wait until December 9, 2013 to start learning how to code. Start now by trying out one of the programs listed below:

Khan Academy

“Whether you’re trying to make a lot of money or whether you just want to change the world, computer programming is an incredibly empowering skill to learn, says Hadi Partovi, co-founder and CEO, Code.org.

To join this event sign up HERE and WATCH what people are saying about the Hour of Code.

Dallas Pedersen: From High School Student to IT Professional

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

Dallas Pedersen graduated from Jordan High School. While in high school Dallas took all of the courses available, at the Canyons Technical Education Center, in the Network Systems Pathway and the Technical Support Pathway.

“The classes helped me to realize how much the future is integrated with technology and no matter what group of technology you are working with it all has to be networked together somehow. Experience is everything in IT and certifications are the quickest way to get you on your way, says Dallas.”

In addition to taking the Network Fundamentals, A +, and Security Fundamental courses, Dallas took advantage of the opportunity to become certified in:

> A+
> IC3
> Strata
> MTA Operating Systems Fundamentals
> MTA Security Fundamentals
> MTA Networking Fundamentals
> MTA Server Admin Fundamentals

Obtaining multiple IT certifications not only gave Dallas a competitive edge, but jump-started his career in a 21st century workforce. Dallas says, “Immediately after high school I got a job working technical support for the Red Cross. A year later, I now work for Executech as a network administrator/IT Consultant for multiple clients.

According to the Utah Department of Workforce Services, the median wage for a Network Administrator is $32.58 an hour or $67,766 a year. Because of the skills Dallas obtained in high school by completing the Network Systems Pathway, and by becoming certified in multiple IT areas, he is now earning a salary well above the median wage for this occupation.

William Yocom: Future IT Technical Support Specialist

Monday, June 24th, 2013

William Yocom, a student at American Fork High School, recently received a CTE Scholarship and Tuition Award to Utah Valley University. William will be studying for a career in the Information Technology industry. “I want to become a programmer with industrial design skills. This would make me very marketable with companies that design computer games, product design and anything within the entertainment business, says William.”

William works at Office Max where he does graphic design work and printing. “My current job has taught me how to work with the public and complete projects on time. To succeed at any occupation you need to be on time, dress well, get along with coworkers and know what you are doing, says William.”

William describes how Career and Technical Education has prepared him for life after high school. “The CTE courses I have taken helped me get the technology skills that I will use in college and on the job. In my classes I have learned some programming, Web page development, and Linux skills. I am glad that I had the opportunity to take CTE classes. I feel better prepared for college and the work place because of them.”

While in high school William took several CTE skill tests and says, “My skill certificates helped me get my current position. They interviewed three of us and I got the job. They liked that I had the skill certificates to back up my skills. CTE classes set me apart and gave me opportunity.”

Watch what William has to say about why he participated in the IT program at American Fork High School and in the Novell Young Technology Scholar Program.

CTE Students Compete in Digital Media Arts Festival

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013

Congratulations to the 160 Utah high school students who competed in the Digital Media Arts Festival held at Utah Valley University. Students from 19 high schools throughout Utah entered a digital media project in one of twelve categories. Entries were judged on technical and artistic value. Students spent hours working on their projects in order to compete against their peers in this final digital media competition.


 Below are the 2013 winners:


View some of the winning projects:

Information Technology occupations are high skill, high wage, and are in high demand, especially in Utah. In Utah, tech companies employ about 140,000 people, paying approximately 57 percent higher salaries than the statewide average. Check out the Career and Technical Education Information Technology Digital Media Pathway.

If your interested in participating in the Digital Media Arts Festival next year talk to your school counselor or Career and Technical Education teacher for details on how to enter.

The 2014 Utah Digital Media Arts Festival will be held the first week of May at Utah Valley University.

Parker Kingsford: Future Computer Engineer

Friday, May 10th, 2013

Parker Kingsford
Occupational Goal: Computer Engineer


“I have felt great interest in becoming a computer engineer since I started working with computers at the age of 10. I love technology and engineering, to solve and fix problems. I like to design new computer systems that can be more effective in day-to-day life. Becoming a computer engineer would incorporate some of my greatest passions and joys in life.

“I am currently attending Canyons Technical Education Center (CTEC) in Sandy, Utah. I am enrolled in the Computer Repair and Network System course. This program has helped me earn many industry-level certifications including: CompTIA, IT Strata Fundamentals, IC3, Microsoft Technical Associate (MTA), OS Fundamentals, and Security and Academy of Information Technology certifications. At CTEC, I was recently recognized as the most outstanding PC repairman for the first semester.”

—Parker Kingsford, West Jordan High School

UtahCTE.org congratulates Parker on the CTE Scholarship and Tuition Award he received to Salt Lake Community College. Parker was one of 102 students honored at the CTE Scholarships and Tuition Awards banquet on Wednesday, May 1, 2013.

Left: Blair Carruth, Assistant Commissioner, Utah System of Higher Education
Middle: Parker Kingsford
Right: Jared Haines, Vice President, Utah College of Applied Technology 


Students Compete in Utah IT Challenge

Wednesday, May 8th, 2013

Throughout April students across the state of Utah competed in the annual Utah IT Challenge. This event was held in conjunction with the Microsoft IT Academy, a national program that provides industry-leading technology skills. Utah’s IT Challenge included Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) certifications. This year Utah’s IT Challenge was held in three regions—Salt Lake Region, Northern Region, and Central Region. From Photoshop to CIW Site Design to Oracle Java, over 60 students—grades 9-12—took the challenge to compete among their peers. Over 100 tests were taken with 16 MTA certifications awarded.

 Students who achieved the highest score in each IT Challenge area:


Each Adobe first place winner was awarded Adobe Suite software, generously donated by Adobe. Other first place winners were awarded Windows 8 operating system, generously donated by Microsoft. Novell donated a nice laptop bag for the top Linux winner.

Adobe Photoshop winners
Left to right: Sienna Pickard, Sarah Cotner, Ty Bayn,
with Francie Stewart, Certiport representative

Students who participated in the Utah IT Challenge further developed his/her skills in industry-leading technology that will jump-start his/her future career in the IT industry. In Utah, tech companies employ about 140,000 people, paying approximately 57 percent higher salaries than the statewide average.1

If you’re interested in competing in the Utah IT Challenge next year contact your Career and Technical Education (CTE) teacher to learn how to prepare and register. Learn about the CTE Information Technology Pathways HERE.

 1 Utah Technology Council

Supercomputing Competition

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

Utah high school students are invited to participate in the 2013 Utah High School Supercomputing Competition (UHSSC) to be held at the University of Utah on Wednesday, March 20, 2013. Applications are due by Sunday, December 30, 2012. So, don’t delay in submitting your application for the opportunity to participate in this event. Teams will be announced as the applications are received.

The Supercomputing Competition is an event sponsored by the University of Utah’s Center for High Performance Computing (CHPC) and will provide Utah High School Supercomputing Competition (UHSSC) participants with a chance to become familiar with supercomputing. This competition provides an opportunity for Utah students to learn hands-on about the art of programming computer clusters.

The UHSSC uses retired supercomputers that are no longer suitable for research, but are more than suitable for use by high school students. This year the UHSSC will be using the Bootable Cluster CD distribution. Each of the clusters have been modified to have a faster interconnect and a more portable form factor.

WHAT: Utah High School Supercomputing Competition
WHO: Twelve selected Utah high school teams
WHERE: The Competition will be held as part of the Salt Lake Valley Science
and Engineering Fair at the University of Utah.
WHEN: Wednesday, March 20, 2013
HOW: Visit uhssc.org to apply. This year, the application process has changed to allow any motivated team a chance to participate. Please ask your mentor to contact Dan McGuire for more details.

Applications are due no later than December 30, 2012. Teams will be announced as the applications are received, so don’t delay submitting your application.

Twelve teams will be selected to compete in the Supercomputing Competition. Six to ten students and one mentor will comprise each team. Each team will execute the following two challenges:

  1. Software Optimization Challenge: This challenge requires that each team write an application to evaluate the “roundness” of a range of integers from a given minimum value to a given maximum value, where the minimum value is greater than zero and the maximum value is less than 10 million. The application should sort these numbers first by roundness, then by numerical value.
  2.  The “Hotseat” Challenge: The teams are presented with a problem and asked to generate the code and optimize their system at the SLVSEF site. Teams will have 6 hours to complete this challenge.

Cash awards will be awarded to the winning teams. A $400 award will be awarded to the team winning the Software Optimization Challenge and a $600 award will be awarded to the team that wins the Hotseat Challenge.

Hurry and don’t delay, apply now for the opportunity to compete in this Supercomputing Competition!