Using Mobile Technology to Engage Students' Hearts and Minds

Verizon presented a $50,000 grant to Sims-Fayola International Academy in Denver to help teachers integrate mobile technology to help boost student engagement and learning. The two-year program recently kicked off with a three-day training workshop for teachers and administrators.

The Denver-based charter school is one of 24 schools across the United States selected to be part of the Verizon Innovative Learning Schools (VILS) program, an initiative of the Verizon Foundation and the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE).  

Through the program, teachers receive two years of professional development on using mobile technology to support teaching STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) courses. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, STEM jobs are growing almost twice as fast as non-STEM jobs while the percentage of U.S. college grads with STEM degrees is decreasing. 

“This partnership with Verizon allows us to drive our project-based learning to the next level and engage students in a way that’s relevant to them,” said Dedrick Sims, executive director for Sims-Fayola International Academy. “Our students will use mobile technology to create multi-media projects, connect with students around the world and enrich their learning. Our teachers now have the tools and training to better fit the technology into the classroom and enhance student's understanding and success at school."

Chris Lewter, president of Verizon Wireless’ Mountain Region, said, "We’re delighted to include Sims-Fayola as one of the new participants in the VILS program. The Denver School District is already making significant strides in empowering students to learn in new ways. This program will help give Sims-Fayola a competitive advantage to inspire students and equip them with digital-age skills to succeed in college and in tomorrow’s workforce."

The Verizon Foundation, which provides funding through grants to ISTE and the participating schools, will increase its funding to $1.6 million to cover schools now in the program. More than 12,000 students will benefit from classroom environments that effectively integrate technology and exhibit National Educational Technology standards