HAMPSTEAD, NH — A team of eighth grade students from Hampstead Academy are winners of a national competition to develop mobile applications that address a need or problem in their school and community. Their Chow Checker app concept is one of 10 winning designs. The app will help people with food allergies avoid foods and ingredients they are allergic to – such as milk, eggs, peanuts and shellfish.
The Verizon Innovative App Challenge was created by the Verizon Foundation in partnership with the Technology Student Association to help boost student engagement and interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The students were asked to use their STEM skills to design app concepts that provided real-world solutions for issues in their communities or schools.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab will continue to work with the Hampstead Academy “Chow Checker” team to refine their project. Verizon will provide the teams with professional support and training to help bring their concepts to market. The final products will be made available for download from Google’s Play Store. In addition, Hampstead Academy will receive a $10,000 Verizon Foundation grant to advance STEM education at their school, and each team member will receive the new Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1, courtesy of Samsung Mobile.
“The Hampstead Academy students’ work on the App Challenge is further proof that innovative ideas can be found and fostered everywhere, and at any age,” commented Christine Berberich, regional president for Verizon Wireless. “We’ve all seen examples of young inventors and entrepreneurs turning their ideas into life-changing solutions, and the ‘Chow Checker’ team has thought of a way to help those living with food allergies. We look forward to following the student’s progress as they leverage mobile technology to bring their concept to fruition.”
“The Verizon Innovative App Challenge demonstrated how STEM can be utilized in a classroom setting with all students, not just those who may have an aptitude for science and math,” stated Chris Sousa, Grade 8 faculty advisor for the winning Chow Checker app at Hampstead Academy. “The Challenge completely engaged our diverse group of learners by requiring them to use their creative and language-based skills, along with STEM principles, to work on a real world application. It was a great overall experience, and winning was just the icing on the cake. We’re extremely excited to have the opportunity to work on our app with MIT experts. Another exciting byproduct of this challenge is that my 6th and 7th grade students are already talking about doing this next year!”
More than 470 student teams from across the country submitted concepts for the Verizon Innovative App Challenge. The Hampstead Academy Chow Checker team consists of seven students and is guided by faculty adviser Chris Sousa. Students also received tutorials from Verizon’s Innovation Center engineers, who created instructional videos on app design and development. The submissions were housed on the Innovation Portal of Project Lead The Way, a leading provider of rigorous and innovative STEM education programs used in middle and high schools across the U.S.
In working with the MIT Media Lab to develop their winning app, and make them available for download from Google’s Play Store, the students will learn how to use the MIT App Inventor tool and the basics of coding. If the Chow Checker team builds their app by June 7, they will be invited to present their app at the National Technology Student Association Conference in Orlando, Fla., later that month.
The 10 winning app designs were selected by a panel of STEM and industry experts from the Verizon Innovation Center, MIT Media Lab, Samsung Mobile, the New York Hall of Science, the National Academy Foundation, National Geographic, the International Reading Association and the American Association of the Advancement of Science. Entries were judged based on their clear identification of a need or problem in a school or community; originality; creativity; the viability of the concept; and the applicability of STEM principles and practices. Another Verizon Innovative App Challenge will be held in the fall.
The Verizon Foundation is focused on accelerating social change by using the company’s innovative technology to help solve pressing problems in education, healthcare and energy management. Since 2000, the Verizon Foundation has invested more than half a billion dollars to improve the communities where Verizon employees work and live. Verizon’s employees are generous with their donations and their time, having logged more than 6.65 million hours of service to make a positive difference in their communities. For more information about Verizon’s philanthropic work, visit www.verizonfoundation.org; or for regular updates, visit the Foundation on Facebook (www.facebook.com/verizonfoundation) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/verizongiving).
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