“When you let the students’ creativity come into play it can just escalate from there, and really become something they’re motivated to do.” – Team EnCourage, Germany

It’s one of my most favorite times of the year: time for the Microsoft Imagine Cup World Finals! Imagine Cup is the global student technology program and competition that provides opportunities for students across all disciplines to team up and use their creativity, passion and knowledge of technology to create applications and games. Each year, the event is not only inspiring (seeing what these students across the globe develop is amazing!) but it’s also a ton of fun.

Today we’re featuring Team EnCourage — Cole Bailey, Dominik Doerner, Rene Brandel, Tobias Roddiger – an international group of four computer science students studying at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany.

EnCourage is an innovative multi-platform smartphone application that anonymously broadcasts signals for help, immediately informs everyone in the local area about nearby emergency situations, and helps users coordinate and work toward de-escalating the situation at hand. Basically, it’s using crowdsourcing to get people who are nearby to come help in an emergency.

Inspired by real-life events, EnCourage is a very thoughtful application that uses something most people have – a mobile device – to become a 21st-century call for help. “There was a friend of mine, she was in the city and there were some guys following her,” says Roddinger. “She texted me and asked, ‘Can you help me?’ and I was way too far away. We sat together and I told [the team] about it, and we thought we have to come up with something that can solve this problem.”

The Team has been vigilant about garnering feedback for EnCourage, including working with the German police and other law enforcement professionals. In fact, their collaboration led to feedback and dialogue with people all over the world – including a South African looking to integrate EnCourage into their neighborhood watch program.

When I asked if they had any words of inspiration for educators, Bailey had this to say: “What really got us on to this idea, is that we had the freedom to do whatever we wanted. When you let the students’ creativity come into play, it can just escalate from there and really become something they’re motivated to do.”

Here’s today’s Daily Edventure with Imagine Cup Finalists, Team EnCourage. Enjoy!

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