Verizon just recognized ninety middle school and high school student teams as Best in State winners in the third Verizon Innovative App Challenge. The teams were selected from more than 1,099 app concept submissions nationwide and will advance on to the next phase of the competition.
Launched in 2012 in partnership with the Technology Student Association (TSA), the Verizon Innovative App Challenge aims to bolster student engagement in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) by challenging them to ideate concepts for mobile applications to solve an issue in their community.
Currently in the United States, there are 3 million STEM jobs unfulfilled and occupations related to STEM are projected to increase to more than 9 million by 2022. Although 80 percent of jobs over the next decade will require STEM skills, student interest and proficiency in STEM education has stagnated in the United States, particularly amongst women and minorities.
Verizon recognizes the vital need to inspire student achievement in STEM and is committed to integrating technology into the classroom through various initiatives. Through the Innovative App Challenge, students are encouraged to critically think about how technology can solve community issues and winners are given an opportunity to learn about mobile app development and design. Because mobile devices and apps play a leading role in the lives of young people today, app development is an effective way to engage them, transforming them from users of technology to creators.
On Jan. 16, Verizon and the TSA will name the twenty-four Best in Region middle school and high school student teams from the West, Midwest, South and Northeast and they will earn a $5,000 cash grant for their schools to further develop or support STEM programs. On Feb. 3, the Innovative App Challenge’s final phase will conclude with the selection of eight Best in Nation winners – four middle school and four high school student teams – who will receive:
- An additional $15,000 cash grant to further develop or support STEM-related programs
- A Samsung tablet, courtesy of Samsung Electronics America
- Onsite and virtual training on coding and app development by MIT App Inventor Master Trainers from the Center for Mobile Learning at the MIT Media Lab
Verizon, in collaboration with the MIT Media Lab, will help the students develop their app concepts using MIT App Inventor, making them ready for sharing and distribution. Apps developed during the first two years of the Verizon Innovative App Challenge have been downloaded more than 26,000 times from the Google Play store.
In June, the members of the eight winning teams will also be invited to present their apps in person at the National TSA Conference in Dallas, courtesy of Verizon.
To see the list of the Best in State winners, visit http://verizon.com/appchallenge2014.