And yet another awesome weekend of hacking concludes in the Big Apple with some pretty darn good projects that popped out over the last 24 hours. All told, we had around 102+ attendees with 15 completed applications. If you'd like to take a look at the photos or add to them, hit this link.
Big props go to Mayor Bloomberg's NYC Truancy Taskforce, AT&T Aspire, NYC Digital and NYCEDC for helping pull together the hackathon. The attendees were very excited about the prospect of creating apps that could have an immediate impact in NYC schools.
There were a number of excellent applications that teams had worked on over the course of the weekend, but one that jumps to mind is "Iam Here." The app was interesting because it directly engaged the issue of truancy by rewarding the kids for showing up, but not with prizes like toys or candy. Instead, the team decided to award the children with healthy foods like snap peas, carrots or apples from local sustainable farm co-ops and potentially fully cooked meals from local restaurants with similar interests in truancy. The best part perhaps is that the schools wouldn't have to be directly involved in the program and deal with technology training associated with program. Better yet, even if the children tried to game the system they would get more treats like brussel sprouts and carrots. Additionally, if the app targeted children that were already on food programs, the new truancy program could potentially take help feed under privileged children by redirecting food from willing sources.
With so many fantastic ideas and teams with experienced developers, it was difficult to choose the top three teams, but here they are:
- NYC Catchup
- Fantasy School
Avatarcracy - 3rd Place Overall Winner - Avatarcracy is an application to motivate students to improve their education performances continuously. Students accumulate merit points by attending schools, completing homework, and participating in classroom activities consistently. They can exchange merit points for merchandise and social ranks in the Second Life game. Avatarcracy enables teachers to manage student behavior effectively. It also allows parents to keep track of their children's academic performances. We market our product directly to teachers and administrators. We generate revenue through subscription fees.
ImHere - Location based attendance incentives ecosystem. This app provides a formal structure for positive reinforcement towards school attendance. Every day of attendance enters the student into a school wide lottery. Perfect weekly attendance doubles the student's probability of being selected as the winner at the end of the week. Checkins are automated through our geolocation services and our rewards can include organic produce supplied from local NY farms and sponsored by local NY businesses. We want to make sure that students are rewarded properly for showing up to school.
Know Truant - This app is basically Foursquare meets NYC Public Schools. Check-in to school, earn points towards prizes, get educated about school services to help prevent truancy.
If Truant - Pearson API Prize Winner - We are embracing truancy. Since we know kids are going to skip, we are giving them a list of educational activities to involve themselves in, and hopefully get a excused absence from school
Fantasy School - 2nd Place General - Fantasy school is an interactive virtual competition in which students are group in fours to compete with other groups to accumulate points based on attendance, participation, homework, lateness, and absent. Points are dictated by the teachers who administer the website. A team's total point is the sum of all students points.
TruVillage - 1st Place Tiggzi Prize Winner - Truancy has grown into a serious problem in New York City. To empower leaders, organizers, and officials we've developed an application that uses geo locations to tag area's where kids gather while being truant. The app will be used by anyone in the community to submit reports, which are aggregated into a datastore, alerting truancy officers and others after a certain report threshold had been met for an area.
Gradr - 1st Place Bazaar Voice Prize Winner - Gradr is a mobile application designed for collaborative educational engagement. Students can submit homework assigned by their teachers and then grade their peers submissions for extra credit. This allows students to own their education experience and empower them through accountability for themselves and their classmates
noSkip - As we heard during yesterday's presentations, there are 200k truant students in NYC schools every year. Some of these students have valid reasons for being absent, such as having to take care of younger siblings. My team members and I decided to tackle the issue of truancy head on. By targeting students who are not going to school due to a lack motivation, we felt we could deliver the maximum results in the shortest amount of time. We developed a web application called noSkip with the intention of focusing on truant children who have parents that care about their future and their education. noSkip simplifies attendance taking for educators, while also facilitating communication between teachers and parents through the application as well as sms messaging.
Study Wagon - AT&T API Prize Winner - Tackling truancy head-on is unnecessarily hard. Let’s tackle truancy by focusing on educating the kids that want to learn but can’t attend class.
Buellerly - 2nd Place Tiggzi Prize Winner - Buellerly allows teachers to easily track student absences and notify parents in real-time when their child is absent from school. The app immediately sends an SMS text message to parents when a student is absent from school. It also sends It will improve student attendance by collecting detailed data to help identify and quantify the most common reasons for absences.
Urbien Education - We determined that students skip school as their teachers are grumpy from being overworked, underpaid, but most importantly under-appreciated. Urbien Education is an American Idol for teachers which will help them become cool again and thus reduce truancy. We setup a scene with 900 Khan Academy videos and challenge teachers to submit their own version of typical 8-10 minute segments on math, physics, chem, history, etc. We then run a non-stop tournament with weekly winners. Tournaments are run duel style for easy voting. Voting weight is based on users' reputation score. Tournaments can be sponsored, and prizes will attract more participation. Local vendors can offer sponsored products to be purchased with prize money for extra savings. The app was built in a day on an Urbien Data Commons civic platform.
CxnParent - 3rd Place Tiggzi Prize Winner - CXNParent is the ideal instant messaging system to alert parents if their kids are present, late or absent in school. It is a bilinguals system, English and Spanish. Parents have the ability to respond to let teachers know why their son or daughter is absent.
Roll Call - This app is a website that aims to help boost the classroom attendance in students by incorporating a teachers counselors and students.
BoardSync - This app eliminates the headaches of taking notes and not hearing what the teacher says by providing the notes that the teacher takes as he or she takes them and giving them to the students in realtime.
Catchup NYC - 1st Place Overall Winner - CatchUp is a location based on-demand search that connects students with tutors. When a student falls behind, school resources and assistance at home are often insufficient to get them caught up. The resources to help do exist, we make the connection. Help is near. Find it. Catchup.