- November 11, 2021
Spruce Creek's Academy of Information Technology and Robotics has won first place in the national Ford STEAM High School Community Challenge.
The AITR team received a $20,000 grant that students will put toward developing a smartphone application that enables people in disaster areas to communicate with emergency response teams, family and friends. The project, titled the Text of Least Resistance, will use Wi-Fi to obtain information within the area. It was this idea that helped the students win the competition, which challenged students to provided an innovative solution to solving a community problem.
Money from the grant will also go toward marketing the app once it is completed.
"Some of the students have waited a long time to see this project recognized for its potential to help communities," Becky Ling, AITR teacher, wrote in an email. "So it was very exciting to find out they not only won, they got first place and they will have the chance to actually develop their idea. I couldn’t be more proud."
The process to come up with the app has not been a quick one. Several of the students started the project in their seventh grade year in a program call First LEGO League, which was a robotics team coached by Ling. The team went on to the World Tournament but did not win.
When this second challenge opened up, the students then decided to revamp and redesign their original idea. According to Ling, the programming for the app idea is very difficult and the team was able to bring in an IBM programmer to teach and mentor the students.
"The process and how long is part of the planning," Ling wrote. "We will work with Ford to create a business plan and hopefully finish the app by the end of the school year. It will take much longer to implement."