Future Ready Tech Challenge


+400 Points

Today’s industries are seeking creative ways of improving career readiness. They’re witnessing more students leaving high school without knowing what is next, or how to navigate college or training. Many students have access to immersive tech, and industries are invested in using it to help them students navigate their careers. In this Challenge, you’ll address the question: 

How can high school students use cutting-edge tech (e.g., AR,VR, XR, or AI) to explore and choose their best fit career and/or training path (college or technical program)?

Note: This Challenge is still available to complete to earn points and add to your resumes!! The prize money was awarded in the past to the following winners.

TechnologyEarn Points!
Future Ready Tech Challenge Banner
Lenovo Logo - Red

Skills you'll develop

  • Problem Solving
  • Social Awareness
  • Communication
explore graphic

Future Ready Tech Challenge Explore

We believe that using AR, VR, XR, and AI can make college and career options more accessible to high school students. Let's embrace these amazing tools to create brighter opportunities and make education available to everyone. Together, with companies like Lenovo and KnoPro [powered by NAF], we can ensure that every student is on the right path for them!

In this section, you'll dive into the world of immersive technologies and select one area to focus on (such as VR tours, AI chatbots for navigating the financial aid process, etc). Once you've identified your area of interest, it's time to unleash your creativity and dream up an engaging product idea, marketing campaign, or business model that will bring your innovative solution to life. See a few examples below: 

  • Virtual Tours and Experiences, and Career Interviews/Explorations

  • AI Driven Career Guidance and/or College Application Assistance

  • Interactive Skill Building Simulations 

What is the difference between some of these emerging technologies and how can it impact education and career readiness? 

Understand the Explore Phase

⏱️Time: 2- 4 Hours (Week 1 of the Challenge)

✏️Use the optional KNOtebook to record notes and questions

💼Mentor: Ask a mentor questions about the topic

🎯Future-Ready Skills: Social Awareness, Initiative and Self-Direction

Build Background Knowledge

What do you already kno about the challenges facing students as they start thinking about what happens next after high school? Not much? Kno worries! Explore here and build your KNOwledge

The Big Picture: What does the future of higher education and career readiness look like?

High School Goes By Fast

High school is a time when things change fast, and students get to explore who they are. It's also a good time to think about what jobs and careers for the future. Figuring out a career doesn't have to be stressful. A high school student should take it one step at a time. And it is important for high school students to know that they don't have to have it all figured out right now.



For a high school student identifying their skills and interests it's important to think about getting experience. This can help make it easier to think about the kinds of jobs best fit. Some key pieces that take time for the average high school student is to think about volunteer experiences, looking into work experience, mentorships, and doing self-directed research. Doing this can help boost a resume and help with college applications, as well as just get to learn about your own values and priorities.


What are some challenges students face at the end of high school?

College Application



Applying to college can be tricky. There are lots of forms to fill out, essays to write, and deadlines to meet. It's like a big puzzle!
Teen with Computer



Money matters, right? Finding scholarships is like hunting for treasure. It takes time and effort to uncover the ones that fit you best.
Careers Lightbulb



Picking a career path can be confusing. There are so many options out there. Some students may not be sure what they want to do, which is totally okay.
Decision Making

Decision Making

Decision Making

Making big life decisions can be stressful. Students might worry about making the wrong choice and what that means for their future.

Pressure Graphic



Sometimes, there's pressure from parents, teachers, or peers to go a certain route. It's important to make choices that feel right for you, not just what others want.
Financial Planning



Understanding money stuff like loans, budgeting, and managing expenses is crucial. It's like preparing for the real world.
College Campus sign



College enrollment went down by 8% across the country from 2019 to 2022, even when students started going back to in-person classes. This drop in the number of students going to college is the biggest it's ever been since 2018, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Different Degrees

Different Degrees

More young folks are exploring education options beyond traditional four-year degrees. After a drop in 2020, the number of new apprentices in the U.S. is almost back to how it was before the pandemic, says the Department of Labor.

Apprenticeship and Career Infographics

Apprenticeship and Careers

Apprenticeships are an arrangement in which a worker receives hands-on job training, technical instruction, and a paycheck—all while learning to do a job. Want to learn more about careers in the following areas:

  • Helping Others

  • Installing and Fixing Things

  • Producing Things

  • Other Careers like Food Services and Hospitality

Click here for a great article from U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics that has infographics on each area.

Making Things Graphic

Build Background Knowledge

What do you already kno about immersive technologies? Not much? Kno worries! Explore here and build your KNOwledge

The Big Picture: What does the future of higher education and career readiness look like?

Immersive Technology Terms

Extended Reality (XR) is an umbrella term for describing Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), and Mixed Reality (MR). We are extending the definitions to also include Artificial Intelligence (AI).

VR flipped image



Virtual Reality (VR) is a fully immersive experience where the user steps into a computer-generated experiences outside the physical world. Users wear a headset that projects a 360-degree digital environment to navigate and interact with virtual objects.
AR flip image



Pokemon Go and Snapchat filters are examples of Augmented Reality (AR). AR takes place in the physical world, with information added virtually as an overlay on top of real objects. Using our devices, AR changes our perception of the real-world.
MR flip card image



Mixed Reality (MR) is the merging of real and virtual worlds to produce new environments and visualizations, where physical and digital objects are present in real time. With MR, 3D objects can be superimposed on the real world, and users can interact with their physical environment.
AI Flipped image



Refers to the use of computer systems that can perform tasks that typically require human intelligence, such as problem-solving, data analysis, or decision-making.

Lenovo Tech World 2022: The Future of the Metaverse

Join Lenovo’s CTO, Dr. Yong Rui, at #LenovoTechWorld as he explains Lenovo’s Metaverse technology, applications, and his vision for the future!

To read more click here!

Future Ready Tech Challenge Jump Around

Have fun exploring and follow what interests you most! You can jump around the different sections and don't need to watch every video or read every article. Just enjoy learning and let your curiosity lead the way to a clever solution!

Professional Uses of XR

With XR, we can now practice brain surgery without operating on a patient; learn to land a plane without the dangers of flight; construct a building without laying a brick; and operate machinery without climbing onto a crane. XR tools are transforming the way we live, work, and play. A research report (2019, PWC) estimated that 23 million jobs worldwide will be using VR and AR by 2030. Take a look at professional uses of XR technologies.

AR in Medicine (0:23)

VR for fire fighting (2:57)

MR for training (1:29)

The Universe of the Virtual World: The Metaverse

Maybe you’ve watched or read Ready Player One or Wall-E; played Minecraft; or used the Roblox app. These are all early examples of the Metaverse. The potential of the metaverse is to take XR technologies and create a world that is parallel to our real world, blurring the lines between the digital and physical worlds. Watch some TikTok videos for an introduction.

The Metaverse Explained

60 Seconds Defining the Metaverse

The Future of the Metaverse

Student KNOtebook: Immersive Technologies POR framework

The Power of XR for Learning

Travel to the Amazon jungle? Explore the inside of a human heart? Join a re-creation of the Apollo 11 mission? Journey to the past? Kno problem! Just step into educational virtual worlds!

Why use immersive technology in education and beyond?

What is it about AR/VR/XR/AI that’s game changing for learning? And why should you care? One important reason is that immersive experiences enable you to step into the shoes of scientists, doctors, artists, and others – in other words, be active “players”. This could help you or other students figure out if you want to pursue these career fields (or NOT!) before paying lots of money to a college or training program and then changing your mind. The following are some other opportunities provided by these immersive technologies.
Beyond the Classroom

Experiences beyond the classroom

With the help of AR and VR, teachers can give students the ability to travel virtually to places that are physically inaccessible – transcending barriers of space and time (and mobility). 

Check out a few examples.

VR field trips

David Attenborough's First Life VR | Official Behind The Scenes 2021 (3:36)

(image source: Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license)

Teaching, Learning, and Creating in VR at Ithaca College

Using Lenovo’s VR Classroom solution, Ithaca College implemented a VR pilot in their Teacher Education Program. Explore their lessons learned from the perspectives of the instructional technology lead of the program, as well as faculty, students, and staff as they discuss what makes a successful immersive learning experience in Higher Education. Ithaca College deployed Uptale and Mozilla Hubs to create their own materials for a “Teach the Teacher” program, and used Veative to practice teaching STEM topics to K-12 learners.

Real-life simulations

Virtual simulations are like advanced computer games that help people learn about different jobs and practice important skills. They are used in many fields, such as medicine, the military, and construction. With AR and VR, you can experience things that feel real, even if they are on a computer. These cool technologies let us learn and do things in a fun and safe way, just like playing a game!

Augmented Reality in Education | Transforming Learning Experience

Transforming Medical Education with Microsoft HoloLens

SimX COVID-19 Evaluation Scenario (1:00)

virtual-2055227 640

New Ways for Guidance

In many schools, there is one guidance counselor for every 200-300 students. This ratio is too low to provide adequate guidance for students on what comes after high school. Additionally, tutors can be expensive and difficult to find. Using AI to help students study and understand concepts could be a game-changer.

Khan Academy's GPT-4 Powered Virtual Guide for Learners

Learn Anything FASTER With ChatGPT (13 ChatGPT Prompts For Studying)

13 Prompts for Studying Doc

The Fantasy, The Ideal, and The Reality of Career Exploration *How could AR/VR/XR/AI help in this process?


How to Use AR Experiences to Support Student Writers

Try these tips to use augmented reality experiences to support student writers!

Lenovo Headset

Student KNOtebook: Immersive Technologies Role in College or Career Paths

Identify the Problem

All of this wonderful technology is available! Is it being used in your school or after-school program? What kind of materials do you use in school? As you explored, you may have wondered who has access to this technology and who decides what to create and make available to schools. Here are some of the challenges facing the adoption and use of immersive technology in education.

Barriers to Using XR in the Classroom

Even though immersive technologies have undeniable value, their incredible potential is not being realized in K-12 classrooms. Here are some of the barriers:


Immersive technologies can be expensive to purchase and maintain. Most VR technology is expensive. Headsets generally cost several hundred dollars each, and some cost thousands.Google Cardboard was just $10 or free to print your own, though it still requires a smartphone. Google stopped supporting Google Cardboard (2021) and instead directs users to web applications. AR tends to be more accessible as it can be used with a phone or tablet that a student or school may already own.

The Evolution of VR Headsets

Virtual Reality in Schools

Teacher Training

Teacher Training

Teachers need training on how to use immersive technologies effectively in the classroom. Teachers are some of the most overworked people on the planet, and schools and districts do not always provide enough training for teachers on the latest technology, which means students miss out on having XR in the classroom. Perhaps your product or marketing campaign can address this issue.

Products Not Built for K12 Learning

There is a shortage of high-quality content for immersive technologies. Most VR headsets are designed for people aged 13 and over, and because VR headset manufacturers are focused on the gaming market, students may be exposed to inappropriate content that is geared towards gamers. Currently there is some research being done on the bias of AI as well, so thinking about who is being represented and whose voice is being included in the creation of these tools. Additionally, the apps and experiences may not provide the learning that teachers need for their classrooms, as the goal was to create a game that is first and foremost fun, and educational second.

Distraction & Safety

There are concerns about the safety of using immersive technologies, especially for young children. Immersive technologies can be distracting for students, especially if they are not used correctly.

Student KNOtebook: What barriers might there be with immersive technologies?

icon training small

Mentor Moment: Ask Questions!

Did you know that there are professionals, who created the Challenge, standing by to help you? They will also be judging your final pitches, so be sure to take advantage throughout the Challenge and post your questions on your dashboard. They want you to win!

What are you curious about? Ask them any questions that came up for you during the Explore phase.

Get Inspired

Remember, you’re addressing the question of How can we tap into cutting-edge technologies like AR,VR, XR and AI to help high school students choose the best career for them, and/or navigate getting into the right college or postsecondary training program?


One important part of The KnoPro Challenges is choosing the type of solution you plan to create (in a group of solo) and ultimately pitch to the judges. You have three choices: a product idea, a new business concept, or a marketing campaign. Don’t worry, you don’t actually have to finish or launch anything into the world for real, but you should at least put together a smart plan and a mockup of your ideas so the judges can understand the potential impact of your solution.


Create a solution, a digital product (such as a website, app, game, tool, etc) that adds to the experience of applying to college and/or choosing a career path after high school.

Examples: Virtual College Tours or Career Fairs. With virtual reality, students can take immersive tours of college campuses from the comfort of their homes. They can explore different buildings, classrooms, and facilities, and get a feel for the campus atmosphere. This helps them make informed decisions about which colleges to apply to. Virtual reality platforms can host immersive career fairs, allowing students to virtually interact with representatives from different industries, companies, and universities. They can explore virtual booths, attend presentations, ask questions, and gain insights into various career options and educational institutions.


New Business Idea

Imagine a unique business idea that combines career exploration and real-world experiences to help individuals find the right career path. This innovative business could use cutting-edge technologies like virtual reality or augmented reality to offer immersive simulations of different careers. Additionally, the business could provide personalized career counseling and guidance, assisting people in identifying their interests, skills, and values to match them with suitable careers. Whether it's a for-profit or non-profit venture, an online platform, or an in-person experience, the possibilities are limitless!

Examples: Imagine a TikTok channel that offers location-based Augmented Reality (AR) career interviews. Users can virtually experience different job settings and interact with professionals in various industries, gaining valuable insights into potential career paths. With the integration of AI-driven features, personalized career recommendations and chatbot support provide users with guidance and inspiration to make informed decisions about their future. Or a career coaching business that combines AI-driven sorting for initial rounds and peer feedback for the final round. The AI system helps candidates find suitable opportunities based on their skills and interests, streamlining the job search process. In the final stage, peers provide valuable feedback, fostering a supportive environment and enhancing applicants' chances of success.

Marketing (1)


Design an exciting and catchy marketing campaign to encourage students at your school to responsibly use the power of new technologies for college applications, career exploration, and future planning. Show how augmented reality, virtual reality, and artificial intelligence can help them make informed decisions about majors, careers, and finding support for their post-high school journey. Let's create a campaign that spreads like wildfire and empowers students to embrace these ethical tools for a successful future!

Examples: "The Future is in Your Hands" Campaign: Highlight the power of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) in the college application process. Create captivating posters and social media graphics showing students confidently holding AR/VR headsets, symbolizing their control over their future. Showcase how these technologies can take them on immersive college campus tours and help them visualize their dream careers. Encourage students to join interactive workshops where they can experience firsthand the benefits of these technologies in making informed decisions about their future. OR "AI Your Way to Success" Campaign: Design an attention-grabbing campaign showcasing the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on career exploration and planning. Create engaging videos featuring students interacting with AI-driven career guidance platforms, personalized to their interests and strengths. Promote AI-powered chatbots as friendly career advisors, providing support and answering questions. Host a virtual panel discussion with successful professionals who credit AI tools for their career success, inspiring students to leverage these technologies responsibly in shaping their own paths to success.

Narrow the Issue

Get ready to choose a focus, an audience, and a brainstorming question!