Representatives from Verizon and the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) recently joined local education and political leaders at the Charles Carroll Middle School in New Carrollton, Md., regarding an innovative program that’s helping to spur students’ interest in STEM subjects – science, technology, engineering and math.
The Verizon Innovative Learning School (VILS) program trains teachers to integrate mobile technology in the classroom, while addressing specific areas for improvement at each school. Currently, 24 elementary, middle and high schools across the country participate in the VILS initiative, a partnership between the Verizon Foundation and ISTE.
At the event, several Charles Carroll students shared how mobile technology in the classroom has gotten them more engaged in their studies. The children demonstrated how they use various mobile apps to complete class assignments and approach projects more creatively.
“We are encouraged that our VILS schools are demonstrating meaningful benefits,” said Rose Stuckey Kirk, Verizon's vice president of global corporate citizenship and president of the Verizon Foundation. “Students at these schools are now more adept in using mobile technology to access useful learning resources, and significant portions of students have exhibited an increased ability to solve problems.”
According to research findings from ISTE, students in the VILS program increased their standardized test scores in math by 4.13 percent. Teachers in the program also reported that 35 percent of their students had higher scores on classroom assessments, 32 percent had increased engagement in the classroom, and 62 percent showed increased proficiency with mobile devices.
These promising initial results have resulted in the Verizon Foundation and ISTE launching an online teacher professional development program called the Verizon Mobile Learning Academy. This program will enable teams of teachers across the country to participate in mobile technology training through free, moderated virtual courses that will earn participants Continuing Education Units. The goal is to train 1,000 teachers over the next year, beginning this fall.