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
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Skills you'll develop

  • Problem Solving
  • Social Awareness
  • Communication
focus graphic


Feeling like an expert yet? No worries if not, but you should have a good grasp on this matter. If not, keep on exploring! Let's now piece together all the info and give it a fresh spin to create something truly unique.

By the end of the Focus phase, you should have:

  • Identified the specific problem you want to solve

  • Selected your Big Question

  • Created a User Persona of an example user

Understand the Focus Phase

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

✏️Use the optional KNOtebook to record notes and questions

💼 Mentor: Get feedback from a mentor on your Big Question

🎯 Future Ready Skills: Problem Solving

See an Example

Watch the video to see how some students focused their research.

Step 1: Choose a Tool

Now that you're up to speed on the problem, let's get down to business and organize what you've learned. Take your pick from the awesome tools below or use your own approach to sort through the research. If you're unfamiliar with the tools, you may want to watch the tutorials on the tool websites! Flip the cards to learn about each tool.

Optional Tools

mirox (1)



Miro (miro.com) is an online collaborative whiteboard tool. It includes digital sticky notes, diagrams, icons, emojis, and more for you to work creatively with a team without being in the same room.
mural (1)



Mural (mural.com) is an online collaborative workspace used for virtual collaboration. It includes fun visual features such as sticky notes, shapes, and images.



Google's Jamboard (jamboard.google.com) is another whiteboard collaboration tool. You can write, draw, and add notes on a shared whiteboard.

Step 2: Clarify the Issue

It's time to roll up your sleeves and piece together all the juicy findings you uncovered in the Explore section, highlighting the key bits that will help solve a specific angle of the larger issue. Whip out your handy tool of choice and let's get crackin'! Select each tab to learn how.

focus1 (1)

Identify Key Information

So, what did you learn about the problem? What made the strongest impression? What was shocking? Upsetting? Annoying?

Consider: Review your notes and and if you’re working in a group, share stories, especially if you explored different resources or if you talked to people or did your own research.

Jot: Use your brainstorming tool to write down key information that you found most interesting, shocking, surprising, or concerning–this may include quotes, facts, data, or your interpretations. You can even add photos, drawings, or words.


Cluster to Find Themes

As you look at your brainstorming, you’ll likely see common themes or topics emerge. Do you notice patterns? Repeated information? Surprises? What feels important and meaningful?

Identify: Look for patterns and relationships and group the stickies together.

Organize: Discuss, arrange, rearrange and see what’s emerging. In the end, you should have clusters around a few themes that represent opportunities.

insights (1)

Draw Insights

Select: Choose a theme or topic that you formed a cluster around that interests you. Consider or discuss the following, if you are working in a group:

  • What were you surprised to learn in this theme area?

  • What’s important in this theme?

Make Insights: Insight statements explain the most important "lightbulb moments". Write out a few insight statements.

Step 3: More Research

computer-4560227 1280

Conduct Research

Do you need to do more research to learn about the theme or user group you are most interested in addressing? If so, you may want to go back to the Explore section and review resources that you already saw, look at resources you didn't, or find additional resources.

Step 4: Create Your Big Question

Get ready to come up with a Big Question based on your research to narrow the issue.

Help with Your Big Question

It's time to develop your Big Question! Start by creating a list of questions, then narrow it down to one. This will be the question that guides you in addressing the issue at hand. Follow these steps to create your list of questions, based on your insight statements and the specific aspect of the larger issue that you want to tackle. Select each starter to see examples.

Big Question

✏️ Student KNOtebook: Brainstorm Questions

Steps for Coming Up with Your Big Question Future Ready Tech Challenge

Step 5: Choose Your Big Question

Consider which questions allow for a variety of solutions. If they don’t, you may need to broaden them (but not too broad!). Your final Big Question should make you think of a lot of wild ideas in a brainstorm.


Your Big Question

Discuss, vote, and decide upon one question that has the most potential, based on:

  1. Which question brings up the most ideas right away?

  2. Which question makes you think about the problem in a new way?

  3. Which question is objective, (not influenced by your personal feelings or opinions)?

  4. Which question is not too broad and not too narrow?

Student KNOtebook: Select Your Big Question

Step 6: Create a User Persona

You may have decided on the group you’d like to be the focus for your solution. To help you come up with a solution, it’s useful to have a specific person or people in mind. You can create a persona for this.

A User Persona

A user persona is an imaginary person that would fit into a focus group for your idea. Personas help us to get to know these users, create awareness and a shared opinion about who our users are, their needs, life goals, characteristics, traits, gains and pains. As you come up with a solution, you’ll find that personas will be helpful throughout all aspects of the process.

KnoPro Assets (1)
3 choices

Three Approaches: Your Choice

One important part of The KnoPro Challenges is choosing the type of solution for your idea and ultimately creating a video pitch. You have three choices: a new product idea, a business concept, OR a marketing campaign. Check out some examples from other Challenges:

A Product Idea

A Unique Business

A Marketing Campaign

You can also get inspiration from all the winners.

Ideation Time!

It's time to brainstorm a solution to your big question!