Bunche Middle School in Compton received tablet devices for the upcoming school year through a program under Verizon Innovative Learning. In partnership with the nonprofit Digital Promise, Verizon Innovative Learning equipped Bunche Middle School students and teachers with personal mobile devices and two-year Verizon Wireless 4G LTE data plans, for 24/7 internet access both in the classroom and at home.
The school has also received a full-time technology coach from Digital Promise for two years, to ensure that students are taught how to use these tools responsibly and that teachers receive comprehensive, ongoing professional development on how to effectively integrate mobile technology in their lessons.
Bunche Middle School in Compton, which has become a predominantly Latino city, recently had an experiential Verizon Innovative Learning event in which students learned how the latest technology in coding and robotics is being used in sports today. Students had the opportunity to explore hands-on with:
• "Smart" connected soccer balls that provide instant feedback on power, spin, strike and trajectory. Students had the chance to compete against one another not only by scoring a goal, but by the mathematical accuracy of their kicks.
• Sphero SPRK+ robots, introduced students to the fundamentals of block coding. Students competed in a game of bowling by navigating their robots down the lane at the right angle for a strike. More experienced students directed their SPRK+ through block coding while less experienced students drew the path for their robot.
Bunche Middle School is one of twenty-eight new schools to join the Verizon Innovative Learning program this year, now active in 74 schools nationwide. The initiative will reach a total of 28,000 students and 2,500 teachers this fall. Results from the program during the 2015-16 school year saw 57 percent of students reporting that having the technology makes science more interesting and 47 percent saying they feel more confident in what they can do.
WHY: According to Pew Research, roughly one-third (31.4%) of households whose annual incomes fall below $50,000 and with children ages 6 to 17, do not have a high-speed internet connection at home, placing low income students at a learning disadvantage. While there are more than 4 million available jobs in science and technology, too many students are being left on the far side of the digital divide, unable to explore STEM fields without access to technology and educational resources.
That's why Verizon, as a part of their #weneedmore campaign, is bridging the digital divide and giving free technology, free access, and immersive, hands-on learning to kids in need.