Verizon invites Hoosier students to submit best problem-solving app ideas

| August 11, 2016

Fifth Annual Verizon Innovative Learning App Challenge opens for new submissions

INDIANAPOLIS—The Verizon Innovative Learning app challenge, the no-coding-skills-needed contest that gives middle and high school students a chance to bring their problem-solving app ideas to life, is now accepting new app ideas nationwide for the 2016-17 annual competition.

The fifth annual challenge invites students throughout the U.S. to gather teams, dream up ideas, and create concepts for mobile apps that could solve problems in their schools and communities.

The app challenge is open to teams representing non-profit organizations in addition to public, private and parochial schools, who compete for the ultimate prizes: free tablets for each team member, up to a $20,000 cash prize to support their school or organization, and the chance to turn their ideas into working smartphone apps that will be made available for download.

Students can submit ideas now until midnight Nov. 18, 2016. Winners will be named in January and February 2017.

Delivered by Verizon Innovative Learning in partnership with the Technology Student Association, the annual app challenge is a hands-on learning experience that aims to help students envision brighter futures for themselves as business owners, app inventors, coders and technology professionals.

Over the past four years, the app challenge has produced apps that have now been downloaded more than 23,500 times. Winning app ideas have addressed a wide variety of problems, from navigation for the blind to feeding the homeless. In 2015, a team of middle schoolers from Pine Crest School in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., came up with an idea for an app to help prevent concussions among athletes. The concept caught the attention of the National Football League, and the students were recognized with a special invitation to attend the NFL’s annual meeting.

“When we first launched the app challenge five years ago, we couldn’t have foreseen the dramatic impact that it would have, not only on individual students but on entire schools across the country,” said Justina Nixon-Saintil, director of education for Verizon. “Now, after reaching more than 24,500 students and reviewing their amazing ideas, we have seen that this competition is truly about inspiring a new generation of creative thinkers who will apply passion, ingenuity and drive to solve problems and make a positive impact on our world.”

One team of middle school students and one team of high school students from every state and Washington D.C. (provided there are qualifying entries) will win $5,000 for their schools, groups or clubs, and tablets for every team member as “Best in State” winners of the app challenge. From these submissions, 24 “Best in Region” winners will advance to the next phase of the competition, and have a chance to win the “Best in Nation” distinction. Eight “Best in Nation” teams will earn an additional $15,000 for their school or club and a chance to bring their app ideas to life with in-person guidance from experts at MIT.

Additionally, all the “Best in State” winners, including those from Indiana, will be eligible to be named the “Fan Favorite,” which will be voted on by the public. The team that gets the most votes will win the title of “Fan Favorite” and all the same prizes as the “Best in Nation” winners. The “Best in Nation” and “Fan Favorite” winners will also present their apps in person at the 2017 Technology Student Association National Conference.

For more information on how to enter and tips for creating the next winning idea, visit or follow @verizongiving on Twitter and on Facebook.

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Frost Illustrated is Fort Wayne's oldest weekly newspaper. Your Independent Voice in the Community, featuring news & views of African Americans since 1968.

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