South Fayette students' program redefines the flashcard
By David Paulk
Published: Monday, Sept. 9, 2013, 6:20 p.m.
Three South Fayette High School students want to change the definition of the flashcard.
Ben Kenawell, Radhir Kothuri and Varun Thangavelu started a flashcard program they say will enhance students' learning. When their work is complete, students will be able to answer computer-based flashcards by writing answers on a tablet computer.
The project's focus is on creating educational software, said Kenawell, 17, a team manager. The target audience so far is students in kindergarten to second grade.
Still, “The possibilities of that application can go anywhere,” Kothuri said. “I can use that for my calculus class, or a kindergarten student can use it to learn the alphabet.”
This isn't just a science project for the group. Over the summer, they showed it at the Workshop on the Impact of Pen & Touch Technology on Education conference at Pepperdine University in California.
They hope to market the product to businesses by Nov. 30.
Carnegie Mellon University computer science Professor Ananda Gunawardena helped with the project. With his expertise, the team made the flashcards more user-friendly.
Team adviser Aileen Owens said the software program's ability to notice a student's weakness makes it unique.
“Teachers can create a series of flashcards for students who are struggling in class,” Owens said. “They designed them so that if a student gets (a question) wrong, it appears randomly in the deck so the student has to answer it again.”
Making the code for the project was a grueling task, team members said, but they embraced the challenge.
“Working at 2 in the morning, trying to code, I just got a big smile on my face when it finally worked,” Kothuri said.
Sarah Hertzler, 16, took on graphic designing for the project.
“I've always had a thing for technology,” she said. “I kind of wanted to get involved and make it look prettier, so that when they actually tried to sell it people would want to buy it.”
Sam Cohen, 14, a freshman, focused on research and development, importing Microsoft Word documents, audio and video into the program.
Breanna McCann, 13, was in charge of public relations, and obtaining tablets. She hopes to get Windows 8 RT tablets on which to run tests, through a grant application to Best Buy.
Still, the future of the program isn't certain.
Thangavelu left for the University of Illinois. Seniors Kenawell and Kothuri graduate at the end of the school year. They are confident their successors will get the job done.
“We wanted a way to hand over something to the middle school students, so they could continue beyond the flashcards,” Kothuri said.
The next step is refining the program, and beginning a new set of trials. “We want to see it deeply engraved into South Fayette,” Kothuri said.
David Paulk is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5804 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Around Town: Bridgeville boutique opens; Kmart begins ‘lease & go’ program
- Work progressing on apartment complex in Green Tree
- Notebook: Crafton pool slated for upgrades; Heidelberg property tax rate staying put
- Carnegie mayor selects child to light borough tree
- Town Talk: Many personal milestones achieved by community members
- County tree decorated with a touch of Carlynton