Verizon is celebrating 10 years of its award-winning education initiative focused on addressing barriers to digital inclusion: Verizon Innovative Learning. Over the last decade, working through nonprofit partners, Verizon Innovative Learning has committed $1 billion in market value to support digital equity and inclusion within education for some of the most vulnerable populations across the country. This effort is part of Citizen Verizon, the company’s responsible business plan for economic, environmental and social advancement; which is underpinned by using leading edge technology to drive social impact and create lasting change. To mark a decade of dedication to the education community, and to honor the resilience of teachers at the end of another challenging school year, Verizon is proud to support the first-ever TIME Innovative Teachers Project. Chosen by a team of editors at TIME, the list profiles 10 teachers who are changing the landscape of education in America through innovation.
The 10 finalists of the TIME Innovative Teachers Project have helped students with disabilities get placed in STEM careers, made unaccompanied minor immigrants feel welcome in the U.S., connected students around the world on video chat, planted micro-forests to teach ways to fight climate change, and designed video game lessons to teach anti-racism. And they have all demonstrated leadership in their schools and teaching communities.
“We understood early on that closing the digital skills gap in the U.S. must start in under-resourced schools. Verizon Innovative Learning is a strategy to help solve this issue. Our mission has never wavered and now, 10 years later, we are proud to have reached over 1.5M students. This is an important milestone, yet our work is far from over,” said Rose Stuckey Kirk, Chief Corporate Social Responsibility Officer, Verizon. “We will continue expanding and evolving this initiative to ensure that deserving students have the tech tools and resources to become the next generation of innovators.”
Celebrating 10 years of Verizon Innovative Learning
Since 2012, Verizon has been working to help close the digital divide through Verizon Innovative Learning, the company’s signature education initiative focused on helping students develop the skills, knowledge and capabilities for future success. Created to help foster digital inclusion, the initiative has reached over 1.5 million students at schools across the U.S., including Title I schools, and provided hundreds of schools with connectivity and next-gen technologies that bring innovative lesson plans to life.
“My journey into tech really started with my experience in Verizon Innovative Learning. Being part of the program throughout middle school not only taught me about STEM and the possibilities of tech, but also about discipline, leadership and accountability. I now mentor young girls, while pursuing a career in technology, because I know firsthand what a difference learning to believe in yourself can make,” said Minu Patel, Verizon Innovative Learning alumni and current Information Science and Technology major at Temple University.
Advancing innovation in under-resourced classrooms
The initiative’s signature program, Verizon Innovative Learning Schools, in partnership with long-time nonprofit partner Digital Promise, equips students and teachers at select Title I schools across the country with free technology devices, internet access and innovative STEM learning programs. The program also provides schools with extensive teacher training focused on technology integration into the learning experience, support and the opportunity to engage in powerful teaching and learning strategies that leverage technology.
With the need for in-classroom tech resources greater than ever, Verizon is continuing to expand its Verizon Innovative Learning Schools program and will welcome 50 new Title I schools from 11 cities across the country this fall, including Birmingham, AL; Cleveland, OH; Fort Lauderdale, FL; and Houston, TX – bringing the program’s reach to 561 schools nationwide. Students and teachers at this new cohort of middle and high schools will be equipped with devices – including tablets, laptops and hotspots, and up to four years of data, empowering 24/7 learning in and out of the classroom. This addition brings the program’s reach to 94 school districts across 37 states and Washington D.C., with 100% of eligible middle schools across 35 school districts in the country participating in the Verizon Innovative Learning Schools program.
In addition, Verizon is launching 50 new Verizon Innovative Learning Labs in Title I schools across the country this fall, bringing the total to 107 across 18 states, which will offer emerging technology with a student-facing, project based curriculum. In collaboration with non-profit partner Heart of America and the J. Orin Edson Entrepreneurship + Innovation Institute at Arizona State University, the Verizon Innovative Learning Lab program provides students with access to robust, hands-on curriculum and learning tools such as virtual reality (VR) equipment, 3D printing stations, augmented reality (AR) apps and more in a custom-designed, state-of-the-art experiential learning environment. Verizon plans to bring 5G technology to over 100 Verizon Innovative Learning Labs within Title I schools across the country in the coming years.
Verizon Innovative Learning HQ, next-gen learning for all
Verizon is leveraging its decade of experience through Verizon Innovative Learning HQ, its new, freely available open access education portal that scales the resources of Verizon Innovative Learning and its proven approach to integrating technology into the classroom. The portal enables any K-12 educator in the country to access innovative learning apps, professional development and tailored lesson plans to empower students to be social innovators and to create solutions using emerging tech. Verizon Innovative Learning HQ provides next-gen learning for students, covering a range of subjects from history to biology, through access to the latest AR and VR education tools.
Citizen Verizon: Goal to 10 million youths with digital skills training
Citizen Verizon empowers Verizon to deliver on its mission to move the world forward through action by expanding digital access and resources, protecting the climate and ensuring people have the skills needed for jobs of the future. Through Citizen Verizon, and the key pillar of Digital Inclusion, the company’s responsible business goals include providing 10 million youths with digital skills training by 2030.