Name of Finalist Erin O'Malley

Location Carlsbad, CA

Duckie will be a Chromebook extension that aims to help students with ADHD with their time management, productivity, and organization skills. The extension will allow students to break up their tasks into time blocks, while a cartoon duck character offers encouraging messages and timed mini games as breaks. Duckie will also include a reward system, which enables students to earn tokens after being productive for a set amount of time. Duckie aims for their extension to be free to any student with ADHD. 

The Problem

For all of us, Covid was a tough time. It forced schools to go completely online whether it be an elementary school or a college. All these young children got almost 2 of their essential school years taken from them, what should have been in person was instead online. This shift was a challenge for both the teachers and the students. Now factor in students who also have attention disorders like ADHD and ADD. This can cause them to have a short attention span, hyperactivity, poor organizational skills, and more. Multiple resources show, including the CDC, that ADHD students are very challenged when it comes to classroom learningI have personally witnessed this struggle to stay on task. Last year, when I tutored a fourth grader who has ADHD, I learned his needs and how to accommodate them to ensure he was learning productively. Through learning this, it allowed me to see how challenging it is for those with ADHD to stay on task, and how important it is for them to have a good support system. With this knowledge, me and my partner Sophia decided to transfer it online. To get more familiar with attention-deficient students’ needs on a virtual side we did lots of research, varying from basic to more specific needs of a ADHD child. In the end, we decided that we wanted to create this support system, to allow these students to learn and become more confident in their abilities.

Your Solution

In our school district, Chromebooks are set as early as 2nd grade, and from there on we learned and progressed our minds with the everchanging world. Due to COVID, we realized that it would be more logical to implement and more versatile if our solution was virtual . Also, it is a known thing that most solutions for helping younger students with ADHD are dependent on an educator to supervise and help the kid in class, something that we wanted to change. This is where our solution Duckie comes into play. Duckie, which would be a Chromebook extension and easily downloadable/maneuverable, will nurture productivity, organization, and time management. As students complete assignments set by their teachers or themselves, Duckie will be able to monitor students’ progress on selected tabs, break up their total work time into time blocks, and split up workload with timed games like tic tac toe or snake. After a short game break, they can resume work motivated again. On top of that, while they are learning, different duck characters will pop up and offer empowering messages. To account for the impaired sense of time that ADHD kids suffer from, there would also be an option to display a timer. After they completely finish their whole assignment while being productive the whole time they will be awarded tokens. These tokens can be used by different duck characters to encourage them. 

Founding Story

It started when we were introduced to a design project led by the SWE (Society of Women Engineers) program at Cal Poly SLO. The whole goal was to come up with a solution that could improve health for students, mostly K-8th grade. Through brainstorming with our club and finalizing the ideas with friend/co-inventor, Sophia Gocan, we drafted a general idea for having a Chromebook extension to help kids keep focus, with our target being kids with ADHD. I wouldn't say there was a specific "Aha!" moment because it was a gradual process, but it was a proud feeling when we realized what we wanted.

Your Impact

I believe that because our idea is direct in who the audience is, any students K-8 but especially those with ADHD, the application part of it is simple. With Duckie fully coded, the implementation process into schools should be an easy process, as we can use the Chrome Web Store and make it available downloadable for anyone. At zero cost, we can allow for anyone to have access to this tool, guaranteeing that ADHD children have an equal chance of getting a support system for their individual needs. In addition, we have a strong group of girls at our school that are a part of our club and I think that with a coded design it will be very impactful for our community. This club allows us to connect with others and overall share our message on the impact this invention will have on children. Finally, something that we have already done is present this idea to the SWE program at Cal Poly SLO, like I mentioned before. At this convention, we went head-to-head with other schools presented with the same challenge and with a five-minute presentation we pitched them our idea, showed them our Figma program and also got feedback from the judges and audience. In the end, we won the challenge with our idea and it was a very good learning experience. With things like this, we are already getting introduced to the world and getting an idea on what we can do with Duckie overall