Verizon Foundation gives mobile technology to NYC middle school #VerizonInnovativeLearning

At a recent event, the Verizon Foundation in partnership with the nonprofit Digital Promise, gave hundreds of NYC middle school students tablets and 24/7 connectivity – through an initiative under Verizon Innovative Learning.

Verizon Foundation gives mobile technology to NYC middle school students
Verizon Foundation gives mobile technology to NYC middle school students

During the event, the P.S. 171 Patrick Henry school was turned into an interactive playground where students were immersed in high tech experiences while receiving personal mobile devices, a treat that will last 2 years with a 4G LTE data plan for use at home and at school.

Verizon Foundation gives mobile technology to NYC middle school students

P.S. 171 has become one of three New York City schools, joining the ranks of 46 schools nationwide participating in the Verizon Innovative Learning initiative.

Students participated in the following technology experiences:

  • Science: Virtual Reality Universe to immerse students in the worlds of physical and life sciences.
  • Technology: See Your Future, with a short quiz to uncover their potential STEM career and see their individual photos come to life in a STEM inspired digital jumbo mosaic art installation.
  • Engineering: The Great BB-8™ Race - May the force be with the students as they apply robotics and engineering to an app controlled BB-8™ droid.
  • Math: How Do You Stat Up? Students will learn how variables in the quadratic function can help them sink the perfect basketball free throw shot!

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The students also hear firsthand from special guests, educators, parents and other students on the importance of integrating technology-based learning into the classroom and hands-on learning experiences.

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STEM Entrepreneurs and Influencers:

Clarence Wooten, entrepreneur – Wooten couldn’t afford video games when he was young, and then he discovered that he could copy games on a computer. Today he is a millionaire and the creator of Image CafĂ©, the first hub of pre-built websites for small businesses.

Jaylen D. Bledsoe, Tech Entrepreneur and Motivational Speaker – 17-year-old Jaylen started his own Information Technology Consulting business when he was 12 years old, and had 150 contractors working for him by the time he was 14. Today, he consults for Fortune 500 companies including Facebook, Google and Walt Disney World.

Cynthia Erenas, TED Talk Speaker at age 14 –Erenas wasn’t even sure she would graduate from HS, but heard engineers made a lot of money, so she entered and won a national robotics competition with a little help from, and became a TED speaker.

Jason Mares, Columbia University Student – Jason started working with Dean Kamen’s First Robotics Competition Team around the middle of his sophomore year, and by senior year he was the main student leader on the team.

Why was this such an important event?

According to Pew Research, low income students are at a learning disadvantage since they do not have a high-speed internet connection at home. Roughly one-third (31.4%) of households with children ages 6 to 17, have an annual income that fall below $50,000.

With the recent growth in STEM-skilled jobs, and the under representation of minorities in these fields, it’s clear more needs to be done to level the playing field for students from minority and under served communities.

In the last two years, the preliminary results of the Verizon Innovative Learning initiative show that:
  • 67% of teachers believe their students were more engaged
  • 53% of teachers felt that interactions between students were more positive and
  • 41% of students completed hands-on projects using technology on at least a weekly basis.
Through Verizon Innovative Learning, the education initiative of the Verizon Foundation, measurable STEM education programs were developed that provide students with technology and hands-on learning to them become tomorrow’s creators.

To learn more about Verizon Innovative Learning, visit

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