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In the foreseeable future, mixed reality glasses with 5G capabilities will change education, enabling some students to learn from far-away teachers and transforming fundamentals of the classroom experience for others. To make that future happen sooner for more kids, Verizon and NYC Media Lab are teaming up for the Verizon 5G EdTech Challenge, a contest to harvest 5G-based education solutions using mixed reality and/or machine learning technology, with a total of $1 million in prize money to encourage the submission of ideas.

Starting today, Verizon is inviting education tech nonprofits such as research groups and universities to propose technology-based solutions to challenges in under-resourced middle schools. Confronted with challenges such as unengaged students, the need for educator STEM expertise, and too little personal support for students with special needs, entrants will need to pitch a solution that uses next-generation 5G wireless in combination with AR, VR, or AI/machine learning technology to improve the scholastic experience.

“When we think about the youth in this country and what is needed to prepare students to be competitive in an increasingly tech dependent world,” said Verizon chief corporate social responsibility officer Rose Kirk, “we need to change the educational opportunities and the trajectory of the lives of a lot of students. 5G will open doors in the classroom we can’t even imagine yet, which will ultimately give students the power to be more successful, more engaged, and give them access to higher education and new career paths.”

Submissions will be accepted from October 15 through November 30, 2018 at followed by judging by a Verizon- and NYC Media Lab-selected panel of industry leaders, social impact advocates, and tech experts. The “ten most compelling projects” will receive $100,000 each, as well as access to Verizon 5G’s network and training resources.


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With the money, the nonprofits will be able to actually deploy their ideas to students and teachers in select Verizon Innovative Learning Schools starting in fall 2019. Verizon says that the schools will be able to begin the new school year with 5G, “transforming their educational experience and giving them an opportunity to become 5G innovators themselves.”

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