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Blog post by Justina Nixon-Saintil
For their submission to the Verizon Innovate App Challenge, a team of girls from Resaca Middle School in Los Fresnos, Texas, came up with a novel idea: a smartphone app to help visually impaired students better navigate inside their schools.
Now, the members of the team who created the “Hello Navi” app team have added another prestigious honor to their collection – an invitation to participate in the annual White House Science Fair taking place today.
Read more about these inspiring girls and watch the White House Science Fair live!
Recently, I made a visit to the Cornell University campus to give a talk in the Energy Seminar regarding “Breaking New Ground: On-site Green Energy Generation.”
I presented about Breaking New Ground in terms of on-site Green Energy at Verizon office locations. Technologies like solar, wind, geothermal, gas turbines, and fuel cells provide significant advantages for businesses. Globally, we are constantly looking for innovations to harness energy without pollution.Read more...
This is the fourth and final in a series from Verizon employee, Bea Tassot. Follow along as Bea explores our partner programs in India.
Located five hours away by car from Calcutta, on a 25 acres piece of land, the Christian Hospital of Seranga is part of the Swinfen Charitable Fund (SCF) network of hospitals around the world. This network links health workers, nurses and doctors from developing countries to volunteering specialists from developed ones. The latter helping the former when they are facing cases they do not how to solve or treat.
This is the third in a series from Verizon employee, Bea Tassot. Follow along as Bea explores our partner programs in India.
Santosh Bijur, VDSI country leader and well known for his personal involvement in the community, invited me to update him on the Foundation programs in India. This meeting was followed by another one focusing on informing the Hyderabad volunteers on the new IIE (Institute of International Education) program. Like in Chennai, this program will provide the 100 selected students with a mentorship opportunity led by our employees.Read more...
The Business Roundtable (BRT) is an association of CEOs from leading companies in the United States which strive to uphold strong public policy and a thriving U.S. economy.
The CEOs who are members of the BRT lead U.S. companies with $7.4 trillion in annual revenues and more than 16 million employees. I am proud to say that our very own CEO of Verizon is a part of the BRT.Read more...
This is the second in a series from Verizon employee, Bea Tassot. Follow along as Bea explores our partner programs in India.
My first day in Chennai was dedicated to internal meetings. I was able, not only to meet with our Foundation ambassadors Ramesh Kumar and Sajan Pookkodan, but also with a very active team of volunteers, mainly belonging to our SPICE (Software Professionals Inspiring Community Empowerment) and WAVE employee resource groups, very passionate people about CSR.
There is a math problem in our country, and I am not referring to a hard-to-solve equation. In 2013, just 34% of U.S. 8th graders were rated proficient or higher in a national math assessment, and more than one in four scored below the basic level. Few of these students will end up choosing a science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) degree in college, despite the fact that three million STEM jobs remain unfilled in the U.S. This is a math problem that will hurt generations of America’s students, unless we address the critical shortage of students pursuing education and careers in STEM fields.
That is why I am excited to announce the evaluation findings of our Verizon Innovative Learning Schools (VILS), an intensive multi-year professional development program to help teachers effectively integrate mobile technology in the classroom and boost student engagement and achievement in STEM. The results are promising for both teachers and students, and indicate that training teachers on an on-going basis to use mobile technology in the classroom may have a positive impact on standardized math test scores.
Through a partnership with the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), we developed VILS, a comprehensive, in-person and online professional development program for teachers and implemented training in 24 schools in underserved areas. Following the 2012-13 school year, ISTE rigorously evaluated the VILS program and found that:
These results show a substantial difference in achievement, but they are just one element of the story. Data from our January 2014 survey of VILS teachers indicates that the VILS program is changing the way teachers teach. Nearly 100% of teachers reported positive impacts on either student achievement or learning. Half of the teachers said they’re lecturing less, organizing more student projects, and doing more small-group and hands-on work.
In addition, a majority of students say they’re now using technology to access useful learning resources, and significant portions of students have exhibited an increased ability to solve problems. These students are earning higher classroom assessment scores and creating more sophisticated student projects.
Because of these promising results, we want to make this training available to more teachers nationwide. I’m pleased to announce we’re launching the Verizon Mobile Learning Academy, a moderated virtual professional development course offered for free to any team of teachers that completes the registration requirement. This program is in partnership with ISTE. Thorough the Verizon Mobile Learning Academy we are sharing the training and professional development curriculum that produced meaningful results in the VILS schools with educators across the country. We aim to train 1,000 teachers in 2014 and expand the training over the following years.
Verizon’s corporate social responsibility efforts seek to use our technology to help solve some of the world’s most pressing problems. Our education initiatives may make solving that tough math problem a little easier.
This series comes from Verizon employee, Bea Tassot. Follow along as Bea explores our partner programs in India.
After two days of preparation meetings in Delhi with the Institute of International Education (IIE) for our site visits in Chennai and Hyderabad, and an internal meeting with our VES employees, I headed to Bangalore to do my first site visit at the Shanti Bhavan School. Located about two hours from the city in very remote countryside, Shanti Bhavan is a boarding school welcoming 269 kids from the lowest cast of the Indian population.
Today, Verizon released its 2013 Corporate Responsibility Supplement, and I invite you to take a look because this past year has been one of tremendous impact and breakthrough. At Verizon, we believe technology can provide powerful answers to the big challenges in our world, and last year – again and again – we saw the reality of this belief unfold in communities across the globe.
In the report you will read stories of how we’re working with leading nonprofit innovators to overcome challenges in education, healthcare and energy management, and how we’re expanding access to advanced mobile and cloud technologies in underserved communities.
To close the achievement gap in science and math, we provided teachers at 24 underserved schools around the country with on-going training and support on how to effectively integrate mobile technology into their instruction. The results are impressive: teachers reported that 37 percent of their students showed increased academic achievement and 59 percent of teachers were individualizing instruction more. It’s a powerful training model that works, and we’re expanding the program to reach teachers in every state as part of a public/private-sector initiative announced in February 2014 by President Obama.
In healthcare, we are using technology to enhance access to quality care in underserved communities. In the U.S., healthcare costs nearly $3 trillion a year, and 75 percent of costs are due to chronic disease. Technology can dramatically improve productivity in this system; bring vast, immediate improvements to care; and transform people’s lives for the better. For instance, by equipping Children’s Health Fund buses in key cities with 4G LTE wireless technology and other health IT solutions, Verizon is helping to save 4,000 hours of administrative work a year, enabling medical staff to provide more effective, real-time care for underserved children and families.
Similarly, mobile and cloud technologies provide the tools for people and institutions to use energy more efficiently. We’ve teamed up with Pecan Street Inc., a Texas-based energy research group, on a home energy trial that will empower consumers in underserved communities to make smarter choices about their energy use.
Our report also highlights steps Verizon is taking to ensure we are acting responsibly in all our operations. Our progress includes an amendment to our Supplier Code of Conduct that explicitly protects workers’ freedoms; the launch of a Transparency Report; and a $100 million investment in green energy.
I invite you to read more about how we are applying our technology to solve big challenges, accelerating social change and creating value for our shareowners and the communities we serve.
Guest post by Justina Nixon-Saintil, director of education and technology programs for the Verizon Foundation.
Today, eight teams of students across the U.S. were given news they’ve been hoping to hear for months: They are the Best in Nation winners of the Verizon Innovative App Challenge. I’m proud to recognize these young aspiring app designers, who applied their science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) knowledge, creativity and ingenuity to conceptualize mobile apps that would present solutions to problems in their schools or communities.
These students will be rewarded for their hard work with brand new tablet computers, courtesy of Samsung Telecommunications America, as well as the opportunity to turn their ideas into working, downloadable apps through personal guidance from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Center for Mobile Learning @ The Media Lab. In addition, each winning team will receive $20,000 in cash grants to advance STEM education in its school.
It has been exciting to watch these teams of middle- and high-school students move up through each successive round of the App Challenge. These students faced stiff competition from nearly 1,300 teams to become champions in their home states and then in their regions, before ascending to the national stage. The eight Best in Nation teams, and indeed all the teams that entered the competition, have shown enthusiasm, creativity and engagement in their schools and communities that are truly inspirational.
Verizon is focused on stimulating student interest in STEM because – while STEM jobs are integral to a successful future for our country and our company – not enough students are earning degrees in STEM fields. As a result, as many as 3 million STEM jobs are going unfilled. Verizon is taking on this challenge through initiatives like the Verizon Innovative App Challenge, a competition that helps students develop skills in problem-solving, writing, production, presentation, organization and critical thinking, all of which are vital to their success in their futures in education and career.
On behalf of Verizon, I commend all the student teams that worked hard on their app concepts. I wish every student who entered the challenge a lifetime of success in dreaming up fresh ideas and applying STEM learning to bring them to life.
The 2013-2014 Verizon Innovative App Challenge Best in Nation winners are:
Click here for further information about the Verizon Innovative App Challenge, the list of Best in State and Best in Region winners, and apps developed by past winners.
Today, I was at Buck Lodge School in Maryland with President Obama as he stressed the importance of an initiative to connect, within the next five years, 99% of our nation’s classrooms to the Internet through high-speed broadband and wireless. Called ConnectEd, this effort is a critical element of 21st century education, and if we want to maximize its benefits for students, the government, private and non-profit sectors must all play a role in its success.
We are driving the 21st century education agenda by ensuring that teachers know exactly what to do with the high-speed broadband networks available in schools and that they understand how best to integrate technology into their classroom in the most impactful ways.
When teachers are trained properly and given the right support, the results of a technology infusion in the classroom are eye opening. We developed the Verizon Innovative Learning Schools (VILS), a program specifically focused on comprehensive, ongoing teacher training in technology in 24 schools in underserved communities across the country. The program is designed to train teachers to use technology effectively, and to increase student interest and achievement in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) partners with us on this initiative.
A year into the program, we asked teachers to evaluate the impact of the training. The results show that 59% of teachers were able to individualize their instruction, 52% of students showed increased technology proficiency, 40% of students had increased ability in problem solving and 37% showed increased academic achievement.Read more...
Guest post by Justina Nixon-Saintil, director of education and technology programs for the Verizon Foundation.
Today, 81 teams of students from middle and high schools across the country learned that they’ve earned the title of Best in State in the second Verizon Innovative App Challenge. I’m so proud to recognize these students for the hard work they put into developing ideas for mobile apps that address problems in their schools or communities. Last year’s Innovative App Challenge delivered outstanding apps and we are excited to see more innovative and creative concepts with this second competition.
I have been thrilled to see students, some as young as sixth graders, using their STEM knowledge and skills combined with their imaginations to identify problems and conceptualize solutions that can be developed into usable apps. Due to the quality of submissions, it was very difficult to choose our 2014 Best in State winners. Nearly 1,300 teams of 5-7 students registered this year! Thousands of students were inspired to work together to find real-world solutions to obstacles that mattered to them.
On behalf of Verizon, I commend every student and team that worked hard on their ideas.Read more...
Guest post from Verizon’s Randal Milch, executive vice president, public policy, and general counsel. He leads the company's public policy, legal, regulatory, government affairs and security groups.
Verizon announced last year that in 2014 we would publish a transparency report online, after calculating the number of 2013 law enforcement requests for customer information that we received in the United States and other countries in which we do business. Today, we are publishing that Report.
The past year saw an intense focus around the world on government demands to obtain customer data. Although Verizon has released a great deal of information over the past few years regarding the number of law enforcement demands we’ve received, Verizon’s online Transparency Report now makes an expanded data set more easily accessible. We will update our Transparency Report semi-annually to show the number of law enforcement demands we received in the prior six months.
Guest post from Samantha Yakal-Kremski, manager of employee engagement for the Verizon Foundation.
‘Tis the season to be merry and celebrate the holidays - and Verizon employees were in fine form yesterday helping to ensure that others can have a festive end to the year. Verizon’s employees were in Paterson, NJ yesterday for a day of elfish fun, wrapping presents.
The activity took place at Eva’s Village, a non-profit social service organization dedicated to fighting homelessness and poverty. The Verizon team wrapped gifts for children of mothers living in Eva’s Village housing units. The time passed quickly and by end of day the team had wrapped enough gifts to ensure that every local child and family supported by the organization can unwrap some joy over the holidays.
To add to the seasonal spirit, and provide a welcome extra pair of helping hands, Governor Chris Christie visited Eva’s Village yesterday to assist in serving the resident lunch crowd. Our team snagged a photo opportunity with the Governor when he came by to thank the volunteers (pictured from right to left is Christie, Melody Brown, Samantha Yakal-Kremski, and Philip Puthumana) - as you can see.
Is it possible for 13-year olds to create an app that the medical profession finds useful? Of course it is! In the era of college-age students creating companies worth billions (think Facebook) and simple online games like Angry Birds becoming global entertainment--all things are possible.
That’s why it’s so exciting to see a major news outlet like ABCNews.com write about a newly launched mobile app called Chow Checker that identifies allergens in everyday foods. This app was created by a team of eighth-graders from New Hampshire who were one of the top 10 ‘Best In Nation’ winners in the Verizon Innovative App Challenge. The students created a novel solution to a serious problem affecting a growing number of children and young adults.
ABC News asked a pediatric allergist, Dr. Jonathan Field, to review the Chow Checker app. Dr. Field’s perspective is that the app could be “profoundly helpful” for those with food allergies and that he even plans to recommend this app to his patients as a resource.
The App Challenge, which engages middle and high school students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) in a new way, encourages kids to think critically and to problem-solve by empowering them to design STEM-related app concepts that solve real-world problems in their communities or society at large. And the result is extraordinary solutions to everyday issues. The challenge also creates the environment for students to consider what mobile technology, which is already such an integral part of their lives, can do and how they can provide solutions which leverage that technology.Read more...
Can we all do more when it comes to recycling? Yes!
Each year on November 15th, America Recycles Day (ARD) inspires us to look at recycling with fresh eyes. This year’s slogan is “I Want to Be Recycled” and underscores the many unsuspected items that can be recycled or reused.
Work green, live green. This is a motto we follow as we conduct business at Verizon.
As more smart phones and tablets enter the marketplace, we are committed to collecting used models to mitigate the rise in electronic waste.
For students interning at Verizon, we created an annual program to help teach ethical values. This year, we selected a special community project to help support Belmar Elementary school recover from Superstorm Sandy.
The goal is simple – teach good corporate citizenship values, and share our success with the communities in which we work.
Verizon recently selected the Howard High School of Technology in Delaware as one of 12 schools around the country selected in 2013 to be a part of the two-year Verizon Innovative Learning Schools (VILS) program, which since last year is providing on-going training to help educators use technology in new, innovative ways to enhance student learning in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) subjects.Read more...
More than 1,000 applicants beat the July 1 deadline to enter Verizon’s first annual $10 million Powerful Answers Award competition. The award is designed to give companies, entrepreneurs and individuals an opportunity to generate innovative ideas using wireless, wireline or cloud-based technology to help solve some of the world’s biggest challenges in education, healthcare and sustainability.
June 5th marked World Environmental Day, an annual celebration of environmental action and awareness across the globe. It is a powerful reminder of the impact each of us has on the environment, and how we can help educate others on sustainable living. And in the digital age, one of the most important things we teach this year is how to curb the rapidly growing problem of electronic waste.
Take the pledge and spread the word. Texting and driving don't mix.
Guest blogger is Martha Delehanty, senior vice president of human resources for Verizon, writes about the DC Volunteer Lawyers Project's annual Voices Against Violence event and its honoree, Vice President Joe Biden, who has championed against domestic violence for more than two decades.
Verizon is investing $100 million in green energy to install solar panels and fuel cells at 19 Verizon buildings around the country as part of our commitment to cut carbon intensity in half by 2020.
The Verizon Wireless retail store in Toms River, N.J., place first among retails stores and third overall in the EPA’s 2012 Energy Star National Building Competition. Billed as “The Battle of the Buildings,” more than 3,000 schools, businesses, and government facilities across the country competed to see which could reduce its energy use the most in a year.
Verizon Wireless customers can now text to donate to support One Fund Boston, a charity established in the wake of the April 15 attacks in Boston. Text messaging fees will be waived, and 100 percent of each donation goes directly to One Fund Boston.
To mark Earth Day, we're launching two initiatives to help reduce our impact on the environment: our new ECO Specs label will list five key environmental factors of our wireless devices, and we'll help plant a tree for with the purchase of selected new wireless phone via our second annual Plant-a-Tree promotion, which runs through April 28.
To aid the victims of the April 15 Boston terror attacks and their families, the Verizon Foundation has pledged $100,000 to One Fund Boston, and it also will provide a 1-to-1 match of employee online donations to the fund.
In honor of the more than 13,600 Verizon employees who supported Earth Hour across 37 countries, Verizon is planting 6,000 trees, including 1,000 in Pillaiarkuppam Village in Puducherry, India, where American Forests is working to reforest an ecosystem along the Gingee River.
Chief Sustainability Officer James Gowen reports that Verizon Wireless a 2013 ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year for our ongoing work to wring every possible kilowatt out of our retail store operations. We have worked closely with the EPA for more than six years, resulting in ENERGY STAR certification for all 116 of our eligible stores, and we’ve improved overall energy efficiency by 5.2 percent.
Rose leads Verizon's global corporate responsibility initiatives and philanthropic strategy, which focuses on applying Verizon's technology to improve education, healthcare and energy management.
James oversees Verizon’s supply chain, vehicle fleet, investment recovery, purchasing and materials management and sustainability initiatives.
Jack promotes digital wellness and online safety. He works with parents, educators, service providers, application developers and industry leaders to foster responsible use of Verizon's mobile and broadband networks.
Discuss technology and telecommunications public policy.
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Information on Verizon's efforts to reduce domestic violence and promote literacy and education.
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