Every day students are told to turn off mobile devices at school, yet studies show that these devices can get kids interested in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) subjects in which American kids under achieve. 

STEM proficient workers are currently in high demand with jobs growing at 3x the rate of other areas. 

The October 2012 issue of The Atlantic’s “By the Numbers – How Far We’ve Fallen Behind the Rest of the World – and the Economic Benefits of Catching Up” provides the following:

•       Top-Ranked Countries — the U.S. is ranked # 21 in Science and ranked # 30 in Math

•       Top-Level Science Scores — only 1% of American 4th- and 12th-graders scored at the Advanced level on national science exams in 2009

•       Engineering Degrees — as a percentage of bachelor’s degrees awarded in 2008, 4% in the U.S. compared to 31% in China

•       How School Improvements Could Jump-Start The Economy — if the math proficiency of U.S. students improved to match that of Korean students, our annual growth rate would increase by 1.3%.  The resulting increase in GDP over 80 years would be $75 trillion (nearly five times the current GDP) 

The Verizon Foundation’s major education initiative sets out to accelerate the use of mobile technology in the classroom and advance student achievement in STEM. 

This new initiative is designed to strengthen teachers’ expertise in integrating mobile technology into STEM instruction and to engage students in innovative and creative ways. 

They recently launched the Verizon Innovative App Challenge, which is created in partnership with the Technology Student Association.  

The App Challenge is a national competition that invites middle and high school students to design concepts for mobile apps that integrate STEM and address a problem in the students’ school or community. 

To guide the students, Verizon’s Innovation Center engineers have created a set of instructional videos on app design and development that are available on the App Challenge website at www.verizonfoundation.org/appchallenge.  10 winning teams will each be granted $10,000 to turn their app concepts into reality and bring into the android marketplace.

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