Middle and high school students can win prizes and possibly have their problem-solving smartphone application idea turned into reality by entering the Verizon Innovative Learning app challenge.

The contest, which is held in partnership with the Technology Student Association, is open to teams of students from nonprofit organizations and public, private and parochial schools, a news release said. Teams are asked to develop an app idea to solve a problem in their school or community.

Entry deadline is midnight Nov. 18; winners will be announced in January and February.

From among the qualifying entries, one team of middle school students and one team of high school students from every U.S. state and Washington, D.C. will win $5,000 for their nonprofit group or school and tablet computers for each team member, the news release said. Twenty-four teams from among those winners will advance for Best in Nation judging.

Eight Best in Nation winners and a “Fan Favorite” team selected by the public from Best in Nation nominees each will receive an additional $15,000 for their nonprofit group or school and the chance to work with experts at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to build their app, which then can be made available for the public to download, the news release said.

For details on how to enter and tips for creating a winning app, go to http://www.verizon.com/appchallenge, @verizongiving on Twitter or http://www.facebook.com/VerizonFoundation on Facebook.

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