Inventor’s Challenge: Playing the Way to a Better Tomorrow

By Anne Wintroub, Director of Social Innovation, AT&T
Jan 24, 2017 2:55 PM ET

For the second year in a row, AT&T Aspire is teaming up with the Imagination Foundation to invite students of all ages, from pre-k-to high school, to make something amazing — using whatever tools are available — that addresses a specific problem or need in their community.

If there is one thing I’ve learned from my kids, it’s that they see things from a whole different perspective! I believe when it comes to tackling challenges in our communities, sometimes all you need is a child’s ingenuity. That’s the guiding premise of the Inventor’s Challenge, an opportunity for kids of all ages to create novel, imaginative and perhaps even viable solutions to challenges they see in their schools, communities and the world.

Last year, more than 350 students — from New York City to Nairobi, Kenya — submitted their amazing ideas on how to solve the issues that impact their schools, communities and world. The inventions tackled all sorts of problems — from connecting people with disabilities to local places that offer accessibility features, to developing devices that help detect when plants and vegetables need water to helping protect our planet’s precious resources. Needless to say, we were seriously impressed!

One of the most exciting aspects of the Inventor’s Challenge is the way the program integrates science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) alongside critical 21st century skills. The concepts cultivated by the Inventor’s Challenge — imagination, problem-solving, teamwork, optimism, patience, and the ability to experiment and take risks — are critical to student success in the 21st century. They’re also the skills we look for every day at AT&T.

Do you know a budding young builder, maker, or scientist? Encourage them to submit their best and brightest ideas for this year’s Inventor’s Challenge. The month-long Challenge begins today and culminates on Friday, February 24. Throughout the month our young inventors will share their creations in their schools, neighborhoods and online.

I can’t wait to see what kind of amazing projects students create for this year’s Inventor’s Challenge! They are sure to be inspiring.