“By applying our knowledge of technology, and with the support of a great psychologist and interdisciplinary group helping us improve the application, we have been able to provide a fun and effective ADD treatment for kids affected by this condition, enabling them to receive a better education.” – Team ReImagine, Mexico

Team Reimagine - Mexico
Sep 19

As we continue highlighting the important topic of accessibility this week, we turn next to Mexico! When Mexico’s Team ReImagine got together to compete in the Imagine Cup, they knew they wanted to do something to help kids. And team member Andrea Villasana’s mother provided some inspiration. Her work with students affected by Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) helped to convince the team that they had something to contribute to this growing challenge. The result was KIWI, a platform that helps in diagnosing and treating ADD through educational software, taking current psychological therapies and combining them with technology. ADD is a growing problem, making it more difficult for otherwise intelligent students to advance in their education. Diagnoses of ADD increased three percent per year in a recent nine-year period, and current estimates put the impact at between one and five percent of the total population. Children with ADD have a particularly difficult time in traditional classrooms that focus on memorization and paper-based exercises.

The team placed first in Mexico’s Imagine Cup and went on to compete in the 2012 finals in Sydney, Australia. “The greatest part of it was to meet so many people with so many different ideas,” the team says. “It was interesting to see how passionate everyone was about improving their society through technology.” The project name, KIWI, originally came from the idea that fruit could be used to represent technology. Later, the team realized it was also an acronym of KInect and WIndows – very fitting considering the important role those platforms had in the development and implementation of KIWI.

“We were all amazed to see how the platform actually worked with kids,” the team explained. “The first time we tested it, with a five-year old, we first gave him the paper-based treatment, which he couldn’t complete.  We then gave him a Windows phone with the KIWI platform to use, and he focused on nothing else.”  Interestingly, the kids who participated in the experiment all assumed that the paper exercises were like a test – something they could fail. Conversely, when they got their hands on the KIWI platform, they just assumed they were supposed to have fun.

The platform can be customized to meet the needs of individual students, and both teachers and parents can easily do this with the simple guidelines provided. “We found that these kids’ relatives are the ones that know the most about them and about ADD, and they want to help them,” notes the team. “They know that technology is a great way to help, but they don’t know how to develop a useful application, so we want KIWI’s features to help parents create the right kind of treatment for their kids.”

The team hopes to commercialize KIWI in the next year or so, and they’re already well on their way to making a difference for the millions of children with ADD and the families, teachers and health professionals who support them. Enjoy today’s Daily Edventure.

Can you describe how your professional achievements have advanced innovation in education?

By applying our knowledge of technology, and with the support of a great psychologist and interdisciplinary group helping us improve the application, we have been able to provide a fun and effective ADD treatment for kids affected by this condition, enabling them to receive a better education.

What has changed as a result of your efforts?

The idea some psychologists in Mexico have about technological alternatives to treatment has begun changing; they have often been skeptical of these types of treatment. With the KIWI platform, along with other ones, people are beginning to trust technology for health and education purposes.

How can others facing similar challenges implement what you’ve learned through your work?

We have been successful because of the interest and passion we have for helping other people, in this case kids. If anyone has a question regarding our work, we can help with the answer and we would be very happy to do so.

How have you applied technology in innovative ways to support your work?

Our solution is built upon technology.
We are delivering a fun, innovative and effective treatment solution using today´s greatest technologies to provide a platform that is also versatile and easy-to-use.

What is the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome to ensure students are receiving a quality education?

One of the biggest problems is the distance between some communities and their local schools. Some communities have the closest school kilometers away and some people don´t have a way of getting there easily. In the city I can’t think of an issue such as this one.

What is your country doing well currently to support education?

Lately they have been rewriting and improving the teaching methods for every education level. That´s a good thing because the educational paradigm must be always be up-to-date to implement the best teaching methods.

What conditions must change in your country to better support education?

Poverty. We need to improve our economic standing to get more teachers prepared for primary education and middle school, not to mention college. Sometimes, even people´s state of mind needs to change. We need to become more competitive with ourselves for our own good, not to prove to the guy next to us that we are better, but to overcome our own expectations of ourselves. Everyone has the possibility to be the best at what they do, we just have to want it and work hard for it.

What is the best opportunity for innovation in education?

I think technology is the best opportunity for innovation in education, with all the free information and ways of demonstrating any idea. Education through technology can really boost learning in ways we have never imagined before.

What advice would you give a new teacher (or to anyone wanting to make a difference in education)?

To take advantage of all the tools they have available through teaching methods, technology and their own creativity to improve the students’ learning experience.

What educational “trend” do you think is helping students? Is there a trend that is getting in the way of learning?

A trend that is helping might be social networking. For example, it is now easier than ever to ask someone who lives in a particular place how things are going over there. It doesn´t matter if they live next door or on the other side of the world, they are just a few steps away.

If you could give one educational tool to every child in the world, what would it be? Why?

Definitely a computer with Internet access, and we must teach them how to filter the information they find so that they know what to look for and what to take as true knowledge. I would also give them software to create their own content, so that they express themselves and communicate their own ideas to the rest of the world.

Can you Imagine?

We know you can. Sign up to get the Imagine Cup newsletter, talk to us on Facebook and Twitter, and get the latest scoop on the contests and even more ways to win.

Microsoft’s Imagine Cup is the world’s most prestigious student technology competition, bringing together student innovators from all over the world. If you have a great idea for a new app, bring it to life through Imagine Cup. With Microsoft resources and support, you can make a great app and win travel and cash prizes!

Get Started and Register today to participate in Imagine Cup 2013!

———————————————————————

About Team ReImagine (Ernesto Galindo Rojo, Hector Arriaga Pineda, Andrea Oviedo Villasana, Enreque Morales Mendez, Felix Orlando
Martinez Rios)
Twitter: @kiwi_edu

  • Name: Ernesto Galindo Rojo
  • Job title: Student in engineering and digital animation
  • Birthplace: Mexico
  • Current residence: Mexico
  • Education: Senior year in college
  • Website I check every day: engadget.com
  • Person who inspires me most: My brother
  • Favorite childhood memory: The day I got my first dog as a birthday present
  • Next travel destination (work or pleasure): Seattle, hopefully for work!
  • When was the last time you laughed? Why? A couple minutes ago while talking to my girlfriend.
  • Favorite book: 1984 by George Orwell
  • Favorite music: rock music
  • Your favorite quote or motto: Nobody said it was going to be easy, they just promised it would be worth it.

 

  • Name: Héctor Manuel Arriaga Pineda
  • Job title: Student
  • Birthplace: Mexico City
  • Current residence: Mexico City
  • Education: Engineer in Digital Animation
  • Websites I check every day: www.bungie.net, www.engadget.com
  • Person who inspires me most: Several Technology Leaders
  • Favorite childhood memory: Playing videogames with my best friends every Friday
  • Next travel destination (work or pleasure): Hopefully Seattle
  • When was the last time you laughed? Why? Yesterday, let’s say I have friends with an amazing sense of humor.
  • Favorite book: Ghosts of Onyx by Eric Nylund
  • Favorite music: Indie Music and British rock
  • Your favorite quote or motto: ”When we build, let us think that we build forever.” – John Ruskin

 

  • Name: Enrique Morales
  • Job title: Student
  • Birthplace: Mexico City
  • Current residence: Mexico City
  • Education: Digital Animation engineer
  • Website I check every day: Engadget
  • Person who inspires me most: My grandmother
  • Favorite childhood memory: First time I watched the Lion King
  • Next travel destination (work or pleasure): Hopefully Chicago
  • Favorite book: Lord of the Rings
  • Favorite music: Electro pop
  • Your favorite quote or motto: If you want to make the world a better place take a look at yourself and make a change

 

  • Name: Andrea Oviedo
  • Job title: Product Development and Strategic Planning
  • Birthplace: Mexico City
  • Current residence: Mexico City
  • Education: Digital Animation Engineering – 7th semester
  • Website I check every day: conecti.ca (Mexican technology blog), engadget.com
  • Person who inspires me most: My grandfather
  • Favorite childhood memory: When I was about four-years old, I thought that my favorite cartoon characters lived inside my television. One day I was watching Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (Disney version), and after the credits there was an explanation about the way cartoons are created. Instead of being disappointed after discovering that characters were not inside my TV, I was really fascinated to know that process and the way many artists work to create those extraordinary movies. I started to love animation since then.
  • Next travel destination (work or pleasure): Paris, France (I’m not sure if I will be able to travel there, I’m still saving money)
  • When was the last time you laughed? Why? A moment ago, talking on the phone with my best friend and remembering some of our best moments together in high school.
  • Favorite book: Whalesinger by Welwyn Wilton Katz
  • Favorite music: Movie soundtracks (especially if I liked the movie, I love to listen to its soundtrack and remember my favorite scenes)
  • Your favorite quote or motto: “If you can dream it, you can do it.” – Walt Disney

Visit Microsoft’s Accessibility in the Classroom website
for more ideas on making education accessible to all. The following are just a few examples of the wide range of resources and tools available:

Guide –  Accessibility: A Guide for Educators available for download in English
and Spanish.

Curriculum Resources – Curriculum Resources for Special Education for Windows 7 and Office 2010

Workshop – Accessibility Teacher Training Workshop

Video – Best Practices of Accessibility in Schools

Case Studies

School Uses Accessible Software To Help Blind Student Reach The Top of Her Class (Chile)

Schools Use Familiar Technology to Make Learning More Accessible for All Students (USA)

Students at Abu Dhabi Center for Autism Use Assistive Technology to Communicate and Develop Language Skills (Abu Dhabi)

How-To Articles

Five ways to make a PC easier to see

Four ways to make a PC easier to hear

Four ways to help a student control the mouse

Six ways to help students stay focused

Five ways to help dyslexic students get organized

Three ways to create accessible teaching materials

Three ways to create digital talking books for students with disabilities using Microsoft Word

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