Smithsonian and ePals® Kick-Off Second Annual Global Student Invention Contest

WASHINGTON, DC (Marketwire) – ePals Corporation (TSX VENTURE: SLN), an education media company and the world’s leading safe social learning network, today announced the launch of Invent It, the second annual invention contest for K12 students in partnership with the Smithsonian’s Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation. The contest kick off is timed to coincide with the September 28th Smithsonian Teachers’ Night, an education expo of resources and best practices at Washington D.C.’s National Portrait Gallery and Smithsonian American Art Museum. The Invent It invention challenge is offered to teachers, students and parents worldwide through the free ePals and Smithsonian learning communities. This year the contest includes both a school theme and an opened-ended theme choice for students seeking more freedom in their creative projects.

Both School and Open Ended Challenge Themes • Challenge 1: Think about a problem in your school and come up with an invention to solve it. • Challenge 2: Find an invention that is used in your school and tell us how you would improve upon it. • Challenge 3: Think about a real-world problem that exists today and invent something that could help solve it.

Each challenge will have four age categories for submission: ages 5-7, 8-11, 12-14 and 15 and up. Submissions, which can be in the form of videos, PowerPoint presentations or printed documents, will be judged on originality, effectiveness, creativity, and technical quality. “ePals is so happy to once again be partnering with the Smithsonian to support creative entrepreneurship in classrooms and homes around the world,” says Stephanie Cohen, ePals Vice President of Community Programming. “This kind of applied challenge encourages students to develop the innovative thought processes so in demand in the 21st century workplace. We look forward to seeing the great projects and ideas kids will come up with.”

Invention Process Reinforces Common Core Standards

The Lemelson Center’s Spark!Lab offers students guidance by identifying the key steps they should follow in creating an invention: 1. Identify a problem or need (Think it) 2. Conduct research (Explore it) 3. Make sketches (Sketch it) 4. Build prototypes (Create it) 5. Test the invention (Try it) 6. Refine it (Tweak it) 7. Market the invention (Sell it)

This invention process reinforces both the cross-disciplinary and higher order thinking skills outlined in the Common Core Standards, including valuing evidence, comprehending and critiquing and demonstrating independence in exploring learning. “The Smithsonian’s Lemelson Center believes that everyone is inventive — particularly kids,” said Tricia Edwards, education specialist at the center. “Following the imaginative submissions and enthusiasm of the previous contest, we can’t wait to see what students come up with this time.”

Social Media Campaign Built into Judging Process This year, the challenge adds another layer to the final evaluation process, with an “ePals Choice Award.” ePals and Smithsonian community members will have a chance to vote online from among those top winners beginning on Jan 17th, 2013, Kid Inventor Day. Also, finalists will have the opportunity to “market” their product to voters during a month-long campaign before all winners are announced on February 4, 2013. Winner prizes will be provided by sponsors including LEGO and the Columbia, SC-based law firm Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP.

The deadline for submitting inventions to the Invent It contest is January 4, 2013. For details and to enter an invention project, go to

About ePals Corporation

ePals Corporation (TSX VENTURE: SLN) is an education media company and the leading provider of safe social learning networks (SLN). Focused on the K-12 market, ePals offers elementary and secondary school administrators, teachers, students and parents worldwide a safe and secure platform for building educational communities, providing quality digital content and facilitating collaboration for effective 21st century learning. ePals’ award-winning products include: the ePals Global Learning Network; SchoolMail®365; LearningSpace®; In2Books®, a common core eMentoring program that builds reading, writing and critical thinking skills; and popular children’s educational publishing brands including Cricket® and Cobblestone®. ePals customers and partners include the International Baccalaureate, Microsoft Corporation, Dell Inc., IBM Corp., National Geographic and leading school districts across the United States and globally. ePals serves approximately 800,000 classrooms and reaches millions of teachers, students and parents in approximately 200 countries and territories. Visit For In2Books, visit

About Spark!Lab

Spark!Lab is a hands-on invention activity space that is part of the Jerome and Dorothy Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation ( at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. The center’s mission is to document, interpret, and disseminate information about invention and innovation, to encourage creativity in young people, and to foster an appreciation for the central role of invention and innovation in the history of the United States. Spark!Lab is currently closed for renovations and will reopen in 2015.