Verizon Innovative Learning Design Thinking Program
The Verizon Innovative Learning Design Thinking Program brings digital tools and hands-on learning opportunities to youth in underserved schools and communities, inspiring tomorrow’s creators to use technology to build brighter futures for themselves, their families and the world. Through the design thinking program, ASU and the Verizon Foundation train high school educators to teach design thinking, innovation, entrepreneurship and STEM skills by collaborating with community partners to solve real-world challenges through mobile app development.
Each year, high schools from across the nation participate in a competitive application process. Those that are accepted to the program receive technology, grant funds and professional development throughout the course of the academic year. A cohort of three teachers from each school participates, and each teacher embeds the program and curriculum into an existing or new course. Training and development for teachers is provided in multiple formats including face-to-face workshops, virtual learning experiences, and observation and debrief cycles.
Teachers immediately translate theory intro practice by applying what they learn within their classrooms during the school year. Educators develop partnerships with community organizations and small businesses, and students progress through the following phases:
- Empathize: Interview and observe partners to gain a deep understanding of their business.
- Identify: Determine key problems and challenges that the partner faces.
- Ideate: Generate ideas for innovative business solutions and mobile apps.
- Prototype: Design business solutions and create a functioning beta of a mobile app.
- Test: Conduct user testing and user feedback to refine mobile app and business solutions.
This experience helps students gain entrepreneurship, creative problem solving and STEM skills as they prototype, launch, test and refine mobile solutions. At the end of the academic year, students share their innovative solutions at a final showcase event that features a fair and pitch competition.
To date, more than 1,000 students from across the United States have participated in the Verizon Innovative Learning design thinking program. A pilot program was launched in the fall of 2014, serving 255 students and 11 educators in four schools. Based on the pilot’s success, four additional schools were added in the fall of 2015. Two schools from each of the following locations participated: Phoenix, AZ; Baton Rouge, LA; Chicago, IL; and New York, NY. During the 2015/16 academic year, the program served 24 educators and more than 850 students. During the 2016/17 academic year, Arizona State University and the Verizon Foundation will welcome an additional 15 schools and 45 teachers to this unique experience.
Applications for the Verizon Innovative Learning design thinking program are currently not being accepted. If you have questions or are interested in bringing this program to your school, contact Katherine.
Verizon Innovative Learning
Verizon Innovative Learning brings technology and hands-on learning opportunities to kids in underserved schools and communities, inspiring tomorrow’s creators to use technology to build brighter futures for themselves, their families and the world. Our programs teach technology and entrepreneurship skills to middle and high school students. We not only fund the programs, but we also create and administer them in partnership with leading nonprofits. We diligently measure the impact of our work and refine our programs to ensure we’re making a difference. We’ve reached more than 100,000 students so far – and we’re just getting started.