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Forney High School Students Win Verizon's National Mobile App Design Competition

FORNEY, Texas, March 19, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- A team of high school students from Forney High School are winners of a national competition to develop mobile applications that address a need or problem in their school. Their "One|Place" app concept is one of the 10 winning designs. The app offers students, faculty and the community one location to find details about upcoming school and community events. 

The competition, the Verizon Innovative App Challenge, was created by the Verizon Foundation in partnership with the Technology Student Association to help boost student engagement and interest in science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM. The students were asked to use their STEM skills to design app concepts that provided real-world solutions for issues in their communities or schools.     

The Forney "One|Place" team will now work on bringing their concepts to market, with professional support and training from Verizon employees and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab. The final product will be made available for download from Google's Play Store. In addition, Forney High School will receive a $10,000 Verizon Foundation grant to advance STEM education at their school, and each team member will receive the new Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1, courtesy of Samsung Mobile.

"The students are extremely excited and honored that their app design was chosen as one of the national winners in Verizon's Innovative App Challenge," said Wesley Benjamin, Project Lead the Way™ Engineering Instructor for Forney High School.  "The entire process has been an invaluable experience for them. We are very proud of their dedication and hard work. We can't wait to see their design come to life for all of the students, parents and staff of Forney ISD!"

More than 470 student teams from across the country submitted concepts for the Verizon Innovative App Challenge.  The Forney team consisted of 5 students and were guided by a faculty adviser, Wesley Benjamin.  Students also received tutorials from Verizon's Innovation Center engineers, who created instructional videos on app design and development.  The submissions were housed on the Innovation Portal of Project Lead The Way, a leading provider of rigorous and innovative STEM education programs used in middle and high schools across the U.S. 

In working with the MIT Media Lab to develop their winning app, and make it available for download from Google's Play Store, the students will learn how to use the MIT App Inventor tool and the basics of coding. If the students build their app by June 7, they will be invited to present it at the National Technology Student Association Conference in Orlando, Fla. later that month.

The 10 winning app designs were selected by a panel of STEM and industry experts from the Verizon Innovation Center, MIT Media Lab, Samsung Mobile, the New York Hall of Science, the National Academy Foundation, National Geographic, the International Reading Association and the American Association of the Advancement of Science. Entries were judged based on their clear identification of a need or problem in a school or community; originality; creativity; the viability of the concept; and the applicability of STEM principles and practices.

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