As a mother, a former engineer, and currently the Verizon Foundation’s National Director for Education, I see the importance of engaging students in meaningful learning experiences that empower them while they are in school and enrich their opportunities for the future.
Problem-based learning projects that allow students to conceptualize, design and ultimately build their own apps can provide enrichment for students at just about any age. There is a place in this exciting world for individuals with many different skill sets and talents.
Working individually or collaboratively in teams, students can express their creativity and hone their critical thinking and problem-solving skills. If they are able to take these apps through to the marketplace (which some students have already successfully done), they will add a few more skills to their toolkits and additional experiences to their college applications or work resumes as well.
Our goal at the Verizon Foundation is to support educators in their efforts to prepare students for college and the workforce. To help get the ball rolling with middle and high school students, the Foundation is launching the Verizon Innovative App Challenge today. Teams and faculty advisors will have access to a variety of tools and resources on the dedicated contest website to help guide their work as they conceptualize a mobile app that incorporates STEM and addresses a real need in their school or community.
We are providing the resources that will directly support the design and development of apps available in the Designing Mobile Apps group, as well. We also welcome educators who are not engaged with the challenge to check out the resources. And, we’ve set up our discussion board to address questions and facilitate sharing of information among all who are interested in the dialogue.