Our project was inspired by our observation of the detrimental effects of isolation and fatigue associated with online education. As students from Princeton University, University of California Irvine, and the University of Washington, we have all demonstrated different ways of coping with this issue. We agreed that reconnecting with nature and the natural environment has the most positive effect on our mental health and improves our productivity within a classroom setting. We identified field trips as some of the best opportunities that our school has provided us with during in-person classes, allowing us to have mental health breaks from the classroom and help us give back to our local community. It is extremely important that we care for our outdoor environment whilst we depend heavily on its medicinal properties to relieve mental health. Doing so responsibly with respect to our environment is the way to go. Thus, we have created Eco Trip to rebrand the socially distant field trip.
What it does
Our technology focuses on bringing back the “field trip” online. Our first version of this field trip app will be focused on incentivizing students to pick up trash at local beaches in exchange for discounts at local beach shops. The app includes a scanner, to identify the barcode of the item found on the beach. Further, the individual can claim a number of rewards from local businesses that have partnered with the app depending on the number of trash items they have picked up. The data about different specific materials found on the beach - such as water bottles, plastic wrappers, or ice cream containers - will be compiled for the field trip and the students can see the environmental impact they had on their community. Bringing this quantitative - immediate gratification - to the user experience of doing environmental good is crucial to today’s online education. While online education is focused on building technical skills and raising awareness about important issues in the world, it has lost tangible effect that in-person field trips positively contributed toward the local environment.
How we built it
We dreamed of our idea using a mind map and built our prototype from Figma. We feature ten distinct screens engineered for a UI experience like none other.
Challenges we ran into
Our biggest challenge was finding out our "why". Initially, we wanted to create a product that would create ownership between the consumer and the product. However, in the spirit of this competition, we decided to shift our focus to the perfect blend of environmental awareness and mental health for today's quarantined youth.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We are proud of utilizing existing technologies to create something totally new. Through combining the concepts of a physical field trip, beach clean-up, barcodes, scanning devices, and using the outdoors to improve mental health, our product is truly one of a kind.
What we learned
In the creating of this prototype, our team had the opportunity to learn Figma, and Ideation Principles from the provided workshops and hours of determination. We were also able to narrow the scope of our project to high school students by considering edge cases and obstacles such as transportation, schools that are far from beaches, etc. By working with mentors we were able to establish a viable product that addresses a need in the online education space.
What's next for Eco Trip
Going forward, we hope to finish the backend of the app and test it at two locations (Laguna Beach High School, and Jersey Shore Area Senior High School) using some ethnographic observations, etc. Later editions of this app will hopefully include a way to track "serial litterers", and of course, offer larger rewards for student users.