We're using our advanced mobile and broadband technology to prepare students for success in the 21st century.
Student achievement in a science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) curriculum is critical to U.S. economic growth and competitiveness on the global stage. Studies have shown that the use of technology in the classroom can improve the way teachers teach and keep students engaged and excited about learning.
We believe broadband and mobile technologies are the keys to answering the challenge of driving greater achievement in American schools as educators reinvent the classroom around interactive and collaborative methods of instruction.
To personalize the classroom experience, we're developing innovative products that adapt our technologies to the needs of students. We're building partnerships with education organizations that embrace the idea of mobility and digital content. We're also launching pilot programs with major universities to prepare college students for teaching careers by integrating technology, mobile devices, learning systems and cloud computing into their college curriculum.
INNOVATIVE LEARNING SCHOOLS
Last year we launched the Verizon Innovative Learning School program in 12 schools in underserved areas across America. Teachers received extensive training on innovative ways to use technology in the classroom, provided by the International Society for Technology Education via a grant from the Verizon Foundation. Samsung donated Galaxy tablets for the program, which started with a summer workshop and continued with ongoing training throughout the academic school year.
Schools receive grants ranging from $33,000 to $50,000. Verizon targeted schools in which at least 40 percent of the students are eligible for free and reduced lunches.
To determine our impact, we will measure teacher and student technology proficiency and student achievement. Early results indicate that teachers are able to individualize instruction and implement new strategies to better engage students in science and math. The program will reach as many as 12,000 students in 24 U.S. schools in 2013.
INNOVATIVE APP CHALLENGE
To encourage students to put their STEM skills to good use, in 2012 we launched the Innovative App Challenge. This competition offers a rich, project-based learning experience that fosters teamwork and encourages participation from students regardless of their academic interests and strengths. Because the teams are judged only on their innovative app concept, the Challenge encourages participation from any middle school or high school student who possesses creativity, imagination and desire to make a difference.
Verizon challenged teams of high school and middle school students to develop original concepts and designs for a mobile app that incorporates STEM and addresses a need or problem in their schools or communities. A panel of judges from business, industry and academia will select the winners.
Students on the winning teams will receive a Samsung Galaxy tablet. Team representatives will be invited to present their winning apps at the 2013 National Technology Student Association Conference in Orlando, Fla. In addition, each school will receive a $10,000 grant from the Verizon Foundation to further its STEM education work. The Verizon Foundation has partnered with MIT Media Lab to provide training to each of the winning teams to turn their concepts into actual market-ready apps.
FREE DIGITAL CONTENT
Verizon Thinkfinity.org is an online educational resource with tens of thousands of free materials designed to help teachers use technology to increase student engagement and boost achievement. With Thinkfinity.org, educators can connect and collaborate through themed groups, blogs and discussions, sharing resources and best practices that support 21st century teaching and learning.
The site offers rich, interactive content — including K-12 lesson plans, in-class activities, webinars, games, podcasts and videos — developed in partnership with the country's leading educational organizations. All content is aligned to state and common core standards, and everything is easily searchable by grade level, keyword or subject.
For parents and for afterschool programs, Thinkfinity.org offers great learning experiences, such as activities and interactive games that help children practice and master essential skills and concepts.
In 2012 there were more than 35 million visitors to Thinkfinity.org and its partner sites.
To learn more about how Verizon is committed to finding new education solutions, visit our Corporate Responsibility site at http://responsibility.verizon.com/education.