Verizon App Challenge Provides Students Opportunity to Advance STEM Skills

Jul 18, 2014 6:00 PM ET
Campaign: Education

July 18, 2014 /3BL Media/ - Entries for 2015 Verizon Innovative App Challenge Accepted August 4 – November 24, 2014

Wish there was a way to inspire young girls to become passionate about science, technology, engineering and math (STEM)? Looking for a way to engage your students in a rich, project-based learning experience that will pay lifelong dividends?

The Verizon App Challenge, now in its third year, is an exciting, creative and collaborative competition open to middle and high school students nationwide that offers $20,000 grants and the latest mobile technology to the winning teams. The Challenge also helps student develop and hone highly sought-after skills in STEM that will prepare them for STEM-related careers.

STEM skills are in high demand among U.S. employers and play a critical role in driving innovation and economic growth, according to a July 2014 Brookings Institution study that provides detailed evidence of a STEM-skills gap that exists in our country. The Verizon Innovative App Challenge hopes to change that, by inspiring students to embrace STEM through an engaging and empowering learning experience.

Since the App Challenge launched in 2012, nearly 2,300 student teams from across the U.S. have entered the competition, submitting more than 1,200 app concepts, and apps created through the contest have been downloaded more than 14,000 times.

In the initial stage of the App Challenge, student teams pair up with a faculty advisor to help guide them through the process. Winning teams then work with instructors at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab’s Center for Mobile Learning, who provide onsite and virtual training on coding, using the MIT App Inventor, to bring the students’ app concepts to life.

From the nearly 1,300 entries this year which generated eight winning teams from four middle schools and four high schools, leading apps were unveiled and demoed June 29 at the 2014 national Technology Student Association Conference, with 7,000 students, teachers and parents in attendance.

The 2014 winning teams and their respective problem-solving apps, many of which are available for download in the Google Play store are:

• Helena High School, Helena, Mont. – Exact 3D Extract, which uses mobile technology to create models for 3D printing.

• Open Window School, Bellevue, Wash. – HikeAbout, which offers maps for hiking trails and safety information for hikers.

• Bartlett High School, Bartlett, Ill. – FITTASTICK!, which tracks food intake and exercise, and encourages fitness and weight loss through social networking.

• Cheney Middle School, West Fargo, N.D. – Snap Docs, which converts hard copy text to editable documents, using mobile technology.

• North Hills Preparatory, Irving, Texas – Leave No Trace, which encourages reduction of energy consumption by displaying information about energy usage.

• Resaca Middle School, Los Fresnos, Texas – Hello Navi, which assists blind or visually-impaired people in navigating inside buildings.

• Westford Academy, Westford, Mass. – Tactillium, which delivers science education through a mobile device chemistry simulator.

• Jefferson Township Middle School, Oak Ridge, N.J. –Super Science Girl, which inspires interest in activities to encourage young girls to pursue science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers.

The third Verizon Innovative App Challenge opens August 4 and runs through November 24, 2014. For more information, visit

Melanie Ortel, Verizon Wireless