UPGRADE

Up your Grades to Upgrade your Gear

Photo of Mark Baptiste
5 7

Written by

Eligibility: Are you employed by T-Mobile or related to an employee of T-Mobile?

  • No

Eligibility: Date of Birth

March 16th, 2003

Where are you located:

Hawaii: Honolulu (96744) | Future: Hawaii Statewide, and then the whole country!

Website or social media url(s) (optional):

We're on Instagram as @upgradetracker but we don't have any content yet. We do hope to add to it soon.
For now we also made some GoogleDocs to help detail Upgrade:
Why Upgrade? https://bit.ly/2L5GpdJ
Our Timeline https://bit.ly/2kDMfrG
FAQ and AAQ https://bit.ly/2xsELku

Date Started

May / 01 / 2018

Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.

  • Idea (hoping to get started in the future)

1. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project? NOTE: All applications must include a 1 minute video that answers: “I am stepping up to make change because..."

We're stepping up to make a change because it's personal and because it matters and because this could have helped us, so it WILL help future generations.

2. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

There is no type of visual active feedback available for students to feel motivated into keeping up their grades on a daily basis. There are many programs which schools use that will report grades, but these are just represented as numbers and data. For a student that may already be having issues with too much information/"data" being thrown at them, this doesn't help. Most motivation is external in the form of parents, teachers and coaches.

3. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

We want to create a video game, where your character's individual attack power and level is determined by your past and current grades. The game will be accessible as both an online website and a downloadable mobile app.
Each student will be able to create a character. That character's weapons, armor and accessories will each represent a different class they are taking in school. Each item's individual strength will be determined by the student's current daily average grade in that class.
For example, English classes will be represented by a sword. At the beginning of 9th grade, you select your sword and it has 500 out of 1000 possible Attack Points (AP). Each quarter, the student can earn or lose up to 125 AP. A 70%-C will have no effect on the AP, anything above that will increase it. Getting under a C will have more negative effects, with a 50% dropping the full 125 AP.
At the end of the year, the student's AP will be a total out of that potential 1000 AP. Let's say they end at 896 AP, in 10th grade, their next english class upgrades their sword again. They will start with 1396 AP(896+500) out of a potential 1896 AP. Each day and each year they grow and upgrade.

4. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of what happens when a person or group gets involved with your project.

The game will feature a daily accessible tap-attack style game, fighting enemies for in game currency. Each course will be represented on the screen by it's own AP value while the student plays. Let's say that English AP for most of 3rd Quarter has been hovering around 719 AP. A big BLUE 719 pops up on the screen every time the character swings it's sword, acting as a passive reminder of where the student currently stands. One day, the student forgets to turn in a homework assignment, and the next day they notice that big blue number is a 708. They're going to notice, and they're going to wonder what happened. The student will be able to click on the sword to see it's current values, with links to real world assignment results.
We also want NPCs in game, like a Word Smith, that will make suggestions to players about studying resources, tutoring options, and contacting teachers.

5. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?

There are a lot of grade reporting systems out there. But they are boring, numbers on a page. Most kids only look at them when something is wrong with their grades, and usually a reminder from a teacher. UpGrade will be a fun game which passively shows a student their performance on a daily basis. It will create motivation for those who want to "max out their character" and create a topic of conversation between classmates discussing their progress. We would also like to work with companies to supplement the costs of the game with rewards players can earn like gift cards.

6. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?

By having a system students can log into, we will automatically get feedback on app engagement. However, the real goal is to have the game get students more actively aware of their grades. We believe we will be able to create a level of excitement around the game that will cause more active engagement in the student body. We honestly believe the addition of this game will increase the average GPA in our school, and possibly even have an effect on graduation rates.
Through the use of notifications on the mobile app, players will get daily reminders that its time to play each morning. This will start the day off for each student with their performance in mind. Currently, most students only check their grades when something is wrong, and sometimes that's too late. With UpGrade, the players are aware of their grades every day.

7. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?

We need help designing the tech side of the app and how it would work. We don't want to replace current grading systems, but instead work with them. For example, our school uses infinite campus. So we'd like to work with them to link our app to theirs to pull grade data.
We'd like something we can test within 6 months, so that the incoming freshman for the 2019-2020 school year can be our first full class of testers. Once we prove the value of UpGrade in our school, we'd like to extend to our School District, including 4 more High Schools. Then statewide, and expanding into other states. Every school is slightly different, so we'd need to rework parts of the game for each school.

8. Future Support: What are the resources needed to make your vision a reality?

We know apps are expensive to create and host. We will need to fund that and will probably need to look into sponsors. The game will need a website, and we think a different server for each school that participates, we're not clear on that. We need more technical help to help us with this.
We will also need artists to help make the game visually appealing and make players enjoy it more with a visual attraction
We believe the State of Hawaii may see the value in our project once we win ChangeMakers, and support us in making it a reality. Once the game proves to be a valuable tool to our school, we see sponsors and the school districts helping to fund to the point that the game becomes self sufficient.

10. Ripple Effect: Please share some ideas of how you could partner with other changemakers or involve other young people as leaders in making a difference.

We know we will be able to engage other students in our school to assist in the creation process of the app. We might be able to enroll student artists and coders. But the real ripple will come after we create the app and prove it's value.
First, we will show other local students, and other teens throughout the world what you can do with an idea when you're passionate about it. We believe our success will inspire many others.
Secondly, we are planning to start testing and actually using the game in our own school. When it comes to expanding into other schools, we want to run workshops with the students of those schools. We want to take everything we've learned about this process and teach it to student and teacher ambassadors at those schools as we work with them to tweak the app to fit their needs as a school. We know this is going to be a crazy experience and we are going to learn a ton. We want to share that with others who are interested. We can have our app coders come in and teach a coding class, our artists come run a character creation workshop, and more. We can create ownership in UpGrade at every school that implements it, by engaging the students in it.

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 1 [optional] Which of the following categories do you identify with?

  • Asian (for example: Chinese, Filipino, Indian, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, Pakistani) (9)
  • Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander (for example: Native Hawaiian, Samoan, Chamorro, Tongan, Fijian, Marshallese) (12)

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 2 [optional] Do you identify as part of any of the following underrepresented communities?

  • Low-income community

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Social media
  • Recommended by others
  • Word of mouth

Referral: If you discovered the Challenge thanks to an organization or person other than Ashoka or T-Mobile, who was it?

Trenton's tutor and our mentor heard it on the radio back in April and told us we should think of an idea to use for a project. We spent a few week brainstorming and building on our idea to create something we were proud of.

Evaluation results

8 evaluations so far

1. Overall evaluation

5 - This idea rocked my world. It’s awesome! - 75%

4 - This idea seems really exciting. With a little more polishing, it’d be among my favorites. - 12.5%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 12.5%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - It didn’t make my heart beat faster. - 0%

2. Changemaker Quality

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 75%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 12.5%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 12.5%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

3. Creativity

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 75%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 12.5%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 0%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 12.5%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

No Answer - 0%

4. Commitment

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 100%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 14.3%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 14.3%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

No Answer - 0%

5. Connection

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 87.5%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 0%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 12.5%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

No Answer or No Connection - 0%

5 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Photo of Odyn
Team

Unorthodox but intriguing. You have my support. If you need anything that I can help with just ask.

Photo of Mark Baptiste
Team

We will! Thanks for the support Odyn. We know it's different, but that's the point, not everything works for everyone, so this will be a different option

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