The BBC, Verizon Digital Promise and Irving ISD teamed up to produce a documentary featuring the cutting-edge learning and instruction taking place at our Verizon Innovative Learning Schools (VILS) labs across the district.

“The goal is to help close the digital divide to make sure that every student has access to digital skills and the newest technology,” says Ryan Higgins, Senior Manager of Corporate Social Responsibility at Verizon. “We want to make sure that our students become innovators and inventors and are ready for whatever comes next.”

Released on June 6, the documentary takes an in-depth, behind-the-scenes look at learning in the VILS lab at Johnson Middle School, from the perspective of a teacher and his students.

“Our students have primarily centered around the question of ‘What can we do to improve our campus and our community?’,” says Patrick Yates, VILS Lab Teacher at Johnson Middle School. “In the documentary, you see the smart devices our students created to help our newcomer students who do not speak any English. When I would speak in real-time, it would translate through the devices. Even though it was just a prototype, the students collaborated and bounced ideas off one another, all while using a variety of tools. It was awesome to experience!”

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in the past 10 years, more than half a million new STEM jobs have been created, and that number is not slowing down any time soon. 

“We are lucky to be able to provide a STEM and Innovation curriculum to our entire student population, K-12,” says James Tiggeman, Director of STEM and Innovation for Irving ISD. “This is the future; this is where the jobs are going to be. There are thousands of unfilled tech and STEM jobs all over the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex waiting for our students to fill them.”

Watch the documentary in its entirety.