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The Verizon Innovative App Challenge winners are in. Beating more than 470 teams, the champs are comprised of ten teams of middle and high school students from across the country, and each group is taking home a $10,000 prize.
Created by the Verizon Foundation in partnership with the Technology Institute Association, the national competition was designed to boost student engagement and interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) in their respective classrooms. The students were asked to use their STEM skills to design an app that addressed a social issue in their community, tackling issues such as recycling and time-management skills.
In working with the MIT Media Lab to develop their winning app, and make it available for download from Google’s Play Store, the students will learn basic coding. And to help them with this, each student will receive a Samsung Galaxy Note.
“Engineering concepts should be taught at an earlier age,” Justina Nixon-Saintil, the foundation’s director of education initiatives, tells Mashable. “One of the reasons we decided to focus on middle school is because we know that’s when students start to get disengaged. They’re all about mobile devices and apps. Why not use that as a way to get them even more interested in STEM by letting them design and develop it?”