Students use mobile technology to solve everyday problems for their community so why not task them to develop one?
Today, eight teams of middle and high school students across the country received the news they have been waiting to hear for months: They won the Verizon Innovative App Challenge. The app concepts developed by the “Best in Nation” winners range from assisting with driver education to managing stress and depression to a competitive social media environment to encourage sustainability.
This year’s winners and their app concepts are:
- Meyzeek Middle School, Louisville, Kentucky – Log ‘N Learn, provides information and assistance for the requirements of the Kentucky driver education program.
- Upper St. Clair High School, Pittsburgh – A Look Inside, allows elementary and middle school students to explore the inner workings of different inventions and machines through virtual take-apart system.
- Lime Kiln Middle School, Fulton, Maryland – VolunteerMe, provides information about volunteer opportunities in the school or community to take advantage of the younger generation’s interests and willingness to serve.
- Cab Calloway School of the Arts, Wilmington, Delaware – VirDoc, provides a virtual cadaver for students to dissect and learn anatomy.
- C M Rice Middle School, Plano, Texas – Mind Glass, offers students with dyslexia options for customizing text to make it easier for them to read and comprehend.
- Jefferson County International Baccalaureate, Shades Valley High School, Irondale, Alabama – Vocal, uses a calendar and social media to help people find and volunteer for causes they want to support.
- Kyrene Aprende Middle School, Chandler, Arizona – Endurvinna, sets up a competitive social media environment that encourages sustainable and green choices.
- Tri-Tech Skills Center, Kennewick, Washington – Safe & Sound, offers teens ways to manage stress or feelings of depression.
The winning teams earned their schools $20,000 in grants to further develop or support STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education in their schools, and each team member received a Samsung tablet courtesy of Samsung Electronics America. The eight teams will also receive personal guidance from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Center for Mobile Learning to turn their ideas into working, downloadable apps. In June, the members of the eight winning teams will be invited to present their apps in person at the National TSA Conference in Dallas, courtesy of Verizon.
Now in its third year, the Verizon Innovative App Challenge was designed to respond to a critical need to inspire student interest in STEM. Student interest and proficiency in STEM has been stagnant in the U.S., especially among women and minorities, even though 80 percent of all jobs over the next decade will require STEM skills and 3 million STEM jobs are currently unfilled in the U.S. More than 90 percent of the winners from last year’s Innovative App Challenge expressed interest in pursuing STEM careers after learning coding and launching their winning app.