Yorktown Middle School Wins ‘Best in State’ in Verizon’s Innovative Learning App Challenge

Team of Sixth Graders Inspired by Classmate with Severe Allergies Create Allergy Aid App.

YORKTOWN, Ind. – A team of Indiana sixth graders inspired by a classmate’s several food allergies created an award winning app proposal to scan food products, share personalized allergy profiles and make sure all information is easily accessible online.

The innovative app is the Best in State middle school award winner for Verizon’s Innovative Learning app challenge, which attracted more than 1,800 entries in this year’s competition for middle schools and high schools. Concepts were reviewed by a panel of judges organized by the Technology Student Association.

Teacher Shanan Riegle’s advanced language arts class spent two weeks doing research and trying to find an appropriate app solution for a member of the app development team who is highly sensitive to peanut dust.

“One of our team lives with a severe allergy,” said Riegle. The team researched apps already in the marketplace, but found them lacking for assembling an itemized allergy profile that could immediately be shared with caretakers such as babysitters, teachers or parents of friends.

An app game is also part of the team’s proposal so children can easily memorize the foods and food ingredients that trigger allergy attacks.

According to the Food Allergy Research & Education, or FARE, as many as 15 million Americans have food allergies. That includes as many as 1 in every 13 children under the age of 18. The economic cost is nearly $25 billion per year. Those affected know that even trace amounts of an allergen can cause a sever reaction leading to an emergency hospital visit.

Members of Yorktown Middle School’s Best in State app team are:

·        Maria Alexander, 12 (the student who inspired the team to find an app solution due to her allergies)

·        Kolton Nanko, 11

·        Allie Wilhelm, 12

·        Aiden Riegle, 11

·        Raya Tewari, 12

The team, which entered this app challenge for the first time this year, now competes nationally with teams across the U.S. If selected, it can bring its concept to reality with researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab.

Yorktown Middle School will receive $5,000 from the Verizon Foundation and each student also will receive a new tablet (along with 4G LTE service included). The team now competes for one of eight Best in Nation awards, selected by a panel of education and industry experts, and the Fan Favorite award, which is determined by public voting. Those winners will receive an additional $15,000 for their schools.

Voting for the Verizon Innovative Learning app challenge Fan Favorite award opens Jan. 16 and ends Feb. 14. To vote, review the student submissions here, pick your favorite team and text its code to 22333. Voting is free and standard texting rates apply. Best in Nation and Fan Favorite winning teams will be announced Feb. 15.

Source: Verizon Wireless

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