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Plano ISD Academy High School Learners: Heidi Riddle, Luke Padgett, Hank Davis, Matthew Jamison, and Kedar Brooks

AT&T Foundry partnered up with Academy High School students for the first annual “Smarter School” Hackathon in December.

The AT&T Foundry hosted a Hackathon on their campus for the students from Plano ISD Academy High School. Hackathons are competitions in which teams create novel solutions to a challenge using computer code, microprocessors, sensors, and additional technology.

Eight teams participated in the 24-hour long event which was organized by AT&T Foundry Customer Experience Manager Hadar Kauffman and Innovation Coaches Joe Bossalini and Mike Albrecht. The AT&T Foundry provided the space, catering, and most importantly, mentorship. The volunteer mentors surprised by the focus and professionalism of the students. Bossalini shared, “I could not have been more impressed by the learners’ approach to the challenge.”

During the event, students proposed solutions that included a voice activated personal assistant that connects to the Academy’s learning management system, a method to track facilitators within the school building using radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags, and creating windowless windows to view the welding bay for safety and instructional purposes.

The winning team (below) created a system to link RFID tags to the learners’ ID badges. This RFID badge controls a box that allows electricity to flow to a power tool only if the student’s training is verified through an online connection.

Student teams presented their ideas to a packed house of AT&T Foundry volunteers, parents, and a panel of judges:

  • Mike Iapalucci – AT&T Lead Principal, Technical Architect
  • Matt Shaheen – District 66, TX House of Representatives
  • Dan Armstrong – Assistant Superintendent for Technology, Plano ISD
  • Antoine Diffloth – AT&T, Foundry Director
  • Don Willis – AT&T, Technical Architect
The grand prize is additional mentoring with the AT&T Foundry Innovation Coaches.