FedEx volunteered to mentor the project and together "Dragon Tags" were created -- a colorful tag that kindergarten students wear on their book bags.
An RFID reader scans them on the way to dismissal where a display screen announces what bus they should be on or if a parent is coming to pick them up. An additional QR code is visible on the tag that can be scanned by any smart phone. If you have the password, your phone will display emergency information.
“Seven saves so far,” Glorian, a research fellow picking up the dragon tag project and forming with another fifth-grader a new programming club around the technology, brags to classmates about the number of times students have been helped by the dragon tags.
One kindergarten student was heading into the bus lane when his tag informed the teacher that the parent had recently called to say he was being picked up.
Another student made it to a transfer site where no one was sure on what bus they were to board. The scan brought up the information and she was placed on the right bus.
Even the difficult morning procedures at the transfer sites became easier. A sea of new kindergarten students arrived for their first day and school officials needed to separate them. Dragon tags made the task easier to send onto Baden the students that were enrolled at the school.
According to school officials, this task can be very time consuming during those initial days when faces aren’t recognizable and young students are often too afraid to speak up or speak clearly.
One of the FedEx engineers who accompanied the school on one of the research days to track dismissal remarked how impressed he was by how conscientious each staff and bus driver was.
The program continues to grow, with students analyzing the data each day and planning to lead the new programming club. The after-school program for fourth- through sixth-graders will help them understand and make changes to the PHP, programming language running the huge database of information.
Together, FedEx and Baden Academy are committed to inspiring a new generation of STEM Athletes who see technology as a support and needed assist to the complexity of a 21st century learning community.
Submitted by Ellen Cavanaugh