When organizers of the TomTom Founders Festival offered a prize for young people to flex their innovation muscles, four high school students in Charlottesville stepped up to pitch an app that could help teenagers everywhere.
Four students from St. Anne’s-Belfield School wanted to help fellow teens with something they often do.
“We thought about making a parking app, a shopping app,” recalls Emily Cai. But ultimately they settled on putting things off. All admit they've been known to procrastinate.
“ I don’t know about other students," Cai says. "Maybe they’re better at focusing, but I know that for myself, I’m very distracted, and when I actually need to study I have to isolate myself from my peers.”
For Andy Wood, it’s more subtle. “My problem with procrastination isn’t that I put off starting an assignment," he explains. "It’s that something slips by, and I don’t remember until the last minute about an assignment, and then I have to rush to complete it.”
To help, they’ve designed an app that will send reminders about homework to student phones directly from the school office, and Eric Liu says the app may offer incentives to get things done.
“The teacher may give some extra points if you complete these assignments maybe five days before the due date – or on time – something like that," he says.
Coco Wu suggests adding an element of competition.
“Students like to compete with each other, and you could see some kind of ranking – like who gets the most points.”
The students plan to work on their app over the summer – doing more market research and using their prize money -- $500 – to create a company that will launch the service they call Procrastinapp.