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North Pole 8th graders create focusing device for struggling students

 From left to right: Danika Dawley, advisor Anne Creamer, Lucy Reese, and Raegan Kingry. (Photo courtesy of Anne Creamer)
From left to right: Danika Dawley, advisor Anne Creamer, Lucy Reese, and Raegan Kingry. (Photo courtesy of Anne Creamer) (KTVF)
Published: Jun. 29, 2020 at 5:02 PM AKDT
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Three students at North Pole Middle School have created a wearable device to help kids with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder focus in class.

The device, worn like a watch, can be scheduled to vibrate at regular intervals. Teachers are also able to activate the device if necessary without publicly reprimanding the student. The planning for this project began in September of last year.

Raegan Kingry, one of the students involved in the project, explained the benefits of the device, saying, "The student wouldn't be isolated, and it would make for a better relationship with their teacher too."

Extended Learning teacher Anna Creamer worked as the students' advisor on the project. She views the process as a learning opportunity for everyone involved. "Teachers aren't necessarily the experts, either. We also have to do a lot of learning, and we really get to go through the process together,” Creamer said.

Danika Dawley, the student who came up with the original idea for the project, found the coding and programming of the device challenging. “No one in our group is someone who does coding a lot so we just kind of had to learn from scratch,” she said.

Dawley explained the feeling of accomplishment that came with building the device. "When we finally did successfully make it vibrate, it was pretty exciting,” she said.

Creamer agreed, saying, “Definitely the highlight was when it vibrated that first time.”

According to Lucy Reese, another student involved in the project, the device started as a project in Creamer’s class to find an area of need in the community and build a solution. "It'd be a different way, other than medication, for kids to be able to manage their ADHD."

Eventually, the project was entered into the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow contest, making it to the finals. “They thought it was a good idea too, and we made it this far, so that was pretty exciting,” Reese said.

Although it didn't place first, Kingry thought it was really cool how far they came. "When we started the project, it was just for class, and then it became so much more,” she said.

The shutdown of school buildings during the COVID-19 pandemic created issues with the continued development of the device, forcing the planning and execution of the project to largely be accomplished via Zoom. "We kind of had to have Zoom meetings and work on it virtually, which was hard, definitely,” Kingry said.

Dawley, Reese and Kingry, who remain close friends, are headed to North Pole High School this fall.

Copyright 2020 KTVF. All rights reserved.

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