Help students win $15,000 and the chance to bring their app Ideas to life in the Verizon Innovative Learning app challenge

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Jessica Thorpe
Ninety-four student teams win at state level, now eligible to win national awards

NEW YORK – Today, ninety-four teams of middle and high school students were named Best in State winners of the fifth annual Verizon Innovative Learning app challenge, a nationwide contest challenging students to design mobile app concepts aimed at improving and solving for societal issues in their schools and communities.

The Best in State winners were chosen from more than 1,800 teams from across the country who submitted concepts for review by a panel of judges assembled by the Technology Student Association (TSA). Each Best in State team will receive $5,000 from the Verizon Foundation for their school, club or organization, along with tablets for each student team member. The teams will compete to earn one of eight Best in Nation awards, selected by a panel of education and industry experts, and the Fan Favorite award, determined by public voting.

“As the job market shifts due to the rapid progression of technological advances, it’s clear that we need to do more to increase student interest and proficiency in technology and give them project based learning opportunities”, said Justina Nixon-Saintil, director of education programs for the Verizon Foundation. “Part of that is preparing students to thrive in a digital economy, and the Verizon Innovative Learning app challenge encourages them to ideate solutions to real world problems through the digital lens they will be required to think through to be competitive for future careers.”

Over the past four years, winners of the Verizon Innovative Learning app challenge worked with experts from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab to produce apps that have provided solutions, such as helping blind students navigate schools, tracking sports-related concussions and making learning easier for autistic classmates.

The eight teams named Best in Nation and the team voted as Fan Favorite will receive an additional $15,000 for their school, club or organization, the chance to build their concepts into working apps with experts from MIT and an all-expenses-paid trip to the TSA Conference in Orlando, Fla. in June 2017.

Voting for the Verizon Innovative Learning app challenge Fan Favorite award opens January 16 and ends February 14, 2017. To vote, review the student submissions, pick your favorite team and text its code to 22333. Voting is free and standard texting rates apply, according to your service plan. Best in Nation and Fan Favorite winning teams will be announced on February 15, 2017.

Verizon Innovative Learning, the education initiative of the Verizon Foundation, created the annual app challenge in partnership with the Technology Student Association, and in collaboration with the MIT Media Lab, to spark greater student interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and provide hands-on learning experiences.