The Verizon Foundation announced a new education initiative to boost the usage of technology in the classroom and places an emphasis on STEM learning. The new initiative consists of three integrated programs, the Verizon Innovative App Challenge, Verizon Innovative Learning Schools and the new Thinkfinity platform.
The Thinkfinity platform is what immediately jumped off the page to me. Thinkfinity.org is an online hub that offers a broad range of educational resources to teachers and administrators. The website was recently redesigned to include nationwide free access and training materials. A quick glance reveals timely materials such as resources for teaching concepts related to the Presidential election. If you’re a teacher interested in exploring the kind of resources Verizon’s Thinkfinity has to offer, head over to the site today and sign up.
The Verizon press release stated a growing need for an emphasis on STEM education, citing data that suggests STEM learning boosts competitiveness and economic growth:
“Verizon’s new education initiative is shaped by a growing understanding of the role of technology in transforming STEM instruction in America. Student performance and engagement in STEM are critical to U.S. economic growth and competitiveness. Over the past 10 years, STEM jobs grew three times faster than non-STEM jobs, although the number of American STEM graduates has remained stagnant. According to the National Science Board, only 233,000 of 3.8 million 9thgraders ultimately choose a STEM degree in college.”
The Innovative App Challenge was created in partnership with the technology Student Association and is a competition that invites middle and high school students to propose or design concepts for mobile apps that support STEM learning. Verizon offers a set of instructional videos on the Center’s website.
“This new app challenge is our way of meeting kids where they
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are and showing them how technology can be used in unique and fun ways to help them learn,” said Rose Stuckey Kirk, president of the Verizon Foundation. “Our engineers are excited to participate and lend their expertise to make this learning experience more relevant and engaging for the students.”
Lastly, the Innovative Learning Schools is a program which encourages teachers to integrate mobile devices in the classroom to enhance STEM learning. The program launched this summer with a flagship webinar called “Transforming the Science Class with Mobile Technology.” The program will continue throughout this current school year.