America has an urgent need to cultivate a strong workforce of innovators in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) subjects, but too few students are equipped academically and lack opportunity or interest in STEM. Why should we care? In the next five years it’s expected that STEM job openings will grow twice as fast as other jobs in the United States, however Department of Education figures show that only 16% of American high school seniors are interested in a STEM career. The figures for minority students are particularly low.
But a solution may
be right in our students’ hands. A study commissioned by the Verizon Foundation found that more than
one out of three middle school students report they are using smartphones and
tablets to help with their homework. Not only that, students reported that
using mobile devices at school makes them want
to learn more about STEM subjects than students who don’t. Incredibly, nine out
of ten students reported that mobile devices make learning more fun.
Early intervention appears to be the key. Dynamic programs using technology that aimed at middle and high school students are a way to maintain students’ interest in STEM as they progress to graduation. The Verizon Innovative App Challenge is a fun way to inspire students to put their STEM skills into practice. The competition is a chance for them to think critically and develop a solution to a real problem such as recycling, environmental issues and time management.
As adults, we use mobile devices to manage our work and social lives, and we know that the current generation of kids will integrate these technologies in ways we can only imagine. So why shouldn’t we encourage kids to integrate mobile devices into their school lives in a fun and challenging way? The second annual Verizon Innovative App Challenge is open until December 17. You might inspire them to invent the next great innovation.