Interactive kick-off event for the Verizon Innovative Learning program on October 6 at Austin Middle School will bring technology to life through sports, to spark greater interest in engineering and coding

verizonFive middle schools in the Irving Independent School District will receive tablet devices for the upcoming school year through a program under Verizon Innovative Learning. In partnership with the nonprofit Digital Promise, Verizon Innovative Learning is equipping 5000 students and 490 teachers at five Irving schools – Austin, Bowie, Houston, Lamar and Crockett middle schools – with 1-to-1 mobile devices and two-year Verizon Wireless 4G LTE data plans, for 24/7 internet access both in the classroom and at home. The schools are each receiving a full-time technology coach from Digital Promise for two years, to ensure that students are taught how to use these tools responsibly and that teachers receive comprehensive, ongoing professional development on how to effectively integrate mobile technology in their lessons.

Participating schools will host experiential Verizon Innovative Learning events in which students will receive the devices and learn how the latest technology in coding and robotics is being used in sports today. Students will have the opportunity to explore hands-on with:
• “Smart” connected soccer balls that provide instant feedback on power, spin, strike and trajectory. Students will have the chance to compete against one another not only by scoring a goal, but by the mathematical accuracy of their kicks.
• Sphero SPRK+ robots will introduce students to the fundamentals of block coding. Students will compete in a game of bowling by navigating their robots down the lane at the right angle for a strike. More experienced students can direct their SPRK+ through block coding while less experienced students can draw the path for their robot..

Media is invited to see the rollout at Austin Middle School to hear firsthand from educators and parents on why hands-on learning experiences using technology are so important to academic achievement, and how Austin Middle School teachers plan to integrate technology-based learning into their classrooms.

These Irving Independent School District schools are five of twenty-eight new schools to join the Verizon Innovative Learning program this year, now active in 74 schools nationwide. The initiative will reach a total of 28,000 students, and 2,500 teachers this fall. Results from the program during the 2015-16 school year saw 57 percent of students reporting that having the technology makes science more interesting and 47 percent saying they feel more confident in what they can do.

According to Pew Research, roughly one-third (31.4%) of households whose annual incomes fall below $50,000 and with children ages 6 to 17, do not have a high-speed internet connection at home, placing low income students at a learning disadvantage. While there are more than 4 million available jobs in science and technology, too many students are being left on the far side of the digital divide, unable to explore STEM fields without access to technology and educational resources.

That’s why Verizon, as a part of their #weneedmore campaign, is bridging the digital divide and giving free technology, free access, and immersive, hands-on learning to kids in need.


Presented by Verizon and Irving Independent School District, October 6, 2017

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