This Halloween, the Verizon Foundation is giving hundreds of NYC middle school students a different type of treat that’s super sweeeeet – tablets and 24/7 connectivity – through an initiative under Verizon Innovative Learning. On Saturday I was able to attend a very special event at P.S. 171 Patrick Henry where the school was turned into an interactive playground where students immersed themselves in high tech experiences while receiving personal mobile devices, a treat that will last 2 years with a 4G LTE data plan for use at home and at school.
P.S. 171 became one of three New York City schools, joining the ranks of 46 schools nationwide participating in the Verizon Innovative Learning initiative.
Students participated in the following technology experiences:
- Science: Virtual Reality Universe to immerse students in the worlds of physical and life sciences.
- Technology: See Your Future, with a short quiz to uncover their potential STEM career and see their individual photos come to life in a STEM inspired digital jumbo mosaic art installation.
- Engineering: The Great BB-8™ Race – May the force be with the students as they apply robotics and engineering to an app controlled BB-8™ droid.
- Math: How Do You Stat Up? Students will learn how variables in the quadratic function can help them sink the perfect basketball free throw shot!
WHY: Low income students are at a learning disadvantage. According to Pew Research, roughly one-third (31.4%) of households whose annual incomes fall below $50,000 and with children ages 6 to 17, do not have a high-speed internet connection at home.
With the recent growth in STEM-skilled jobs, and the under representation of minorities in these fields, it’s clear we need to do more to level the playing field for students from minority and underserved communities. Through Verizon Innovative Learning, the education initiative of theVerizon Foundation, we develop measurable STEM education programs that provide students with technology and hands-on learning to help build the confidence they need to become tomorrow’s creators.
STEM Entrepreneurs and Influencers:
- Clarence Wooten, entrepreneur – Wooten couldn’t afford video games when he was young, and then he discovered that he could copy games on a computer. Today he is a millionaire and the creator of Image Café, the first hub of pre-built websites for small businesses.
- Jaylen D. Bledsoe, Tech Entrepreneur and Motivational Speaker – 17-year-old Jaylen started his own Information Technology Consulting business when he was 12 years old, and had 150 contractors working for him by the time he was 14. Today, he consults for Fortune 500 companies including Facebook, Google and Walt Disney World.
- Cynthia Erenas, TED Talk Speaker at age 14 –Erenas wasn’t even sure she would graduate from HS, but heard engineers made a lot of money, so she entered and won a national robotics competition with a little help from will.i.am, and became a TED speaker.
- Jason Mares, Columbia University Student – Jason started working with Dean Kamen’s First Robotics Competition Team around the middle of his sophomore year, and by senior year he was the main student leader on the team.
To learn more about Verizon Innovative Learning, please visit verizon.com/inspires.
More About the Verizon Innovative Learning Initiative
Verizon Innovative Learning, in partnership with the nonprofit Digital Promise, is providing every student and teacher in schools across the nation with a personal mobile device and 2-year Verizon Wireless 4G LTE data plan for use at school and at home. More than just devices, students are taught to use these powerful tools responsibly, and teachers receive comprehensive, ongoing training on how to effectively integrate mobile technology in their lessons.
Since its launch in 2012, the initiative under Verizon Innovative Learning has reached more than 27,000 students and 2,100 teachers nationwide, and the impact has been promising. Last year, results of the initiative have shown that 67% of teachers believed their students were more engaged, 53% of teachers felt that interactions among students in the classroom were more positive and 41% of teachers said their students completed hands-on projects using technology on at least a weekly basis.
Disclosure: No monetary complenstaion was provided for this post. All opinions are my own.