Published on May 9, 2016
Middle School and High School Students from around New Mexico traveled to NMSU to participate in the annual Innoventure competition, an Entrepreneurial competition hosted by the Arrowhead Center.
Marie Borchert, Director of the Innoventure Program at Arrowhead Center says student teams of 2-5 are given a theme at the beginning of the year, and then have to develop a project and meet different business deadlines.
“Throughout the entire school year,” Borchert said. “They’ve been working on projects to redesign or improve the classroom in some way. They’ve built a business plan along with a prototype that they’ve presented in front of judges today.”
Phaedra Wouters is a senior from West Las Vegas High School who was at the competition with her company Techno-Desk, which created the Smart Desk, a desk that provides extra comfort for students.
“It’s very comfortable,” Wouters said. “We also have a tablet holder. There’s a compartment below, so you can have easy access to books and your stuff. The desk also is chalkboard, so you can write little notes on there.”
Wouters says the comfortable desk could help students pay closer attention in class.
“Because I think at least at West Las Vegas,” Wouters said. “A lot of students get up of their chair to throw something away that they can definitely keep with them, but they want to run around. Because the desk is not comfortable, the chair is not comfortable. So you run around, then they’re not paying attention. I think a comfortable desk where you just want to sit in and listen to the teacher and be comfortable would really help me a lot.”
Marie Borchert says by participating in the competition, students get both tech and business experience.
“It gives them a tremendous number of skills,” Borchert said. “It gives them project management skills, public speaking skills, writing skills, working with technology skills, all sorts of STEM skills, bringing engineering into the classroom, and a lot of team collaboration skills as well.”
Borchert says this also lets them put the skills they learn in the classroom into practice.
“Sometimes the teacher’s don’t have the opportunity to also help the students understand how all of these things will help them in the real world,” Borchert said. “So, this type of programming helps the kids make those connections, as well as develop those collaborative working skills.”
39 teams participated in the final competition.