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“Aspiring World App”

Creators: Naveen, Kiana, and Skylar
Middle School Students from Mouse Design League (DIIT) @ PS/MS 161
Screen Shot 2022 05 13 at 12 43 37 PM

About this Project:

The Aspiring World App will address the issue of climate change in our community. Naveen, Kiana, and Skylar chose this topic because they are passionate about creatively bringing awareness to climate change issues in their community. The student group conducted interviews with students and teachers at PSMS 161 to learn more about the climate change issues that people in our community deal with each day. The group learned that people care about climate change but don't know how they are personally contributing to climate change.

The Aspiring World app will address these concerns in fun and creative ways. The app features a recycling tracker to help people understand how much they are recycling, and creating waste every day. The app also features a game called "Waste Warriors." The "Waste Warriors'' game lets players pick up virtual trash in a digital environment to encourage good habits in the real world. "Waste Warriors" hopes to partner with existing climate change organizations to reward players for high scores in the game and help remove real waste in their local communities.

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Community Feedback:

Great Design
Makes Me Think

Feedback from the Judges:

👏 Sr. Product Manager, Z-Team at Tinder — Emoti-Con Judge
This is a fantastic idea! I love the insightful premise that individuals don’t know how they’re contributing to climate change. This is probably why there haven’t been drastic measures to curb it; “it’s everyone else’s responsibility”. People probably often wonder how not recycling impacts everyone else, without thinking that there are probably millions of people who think that way, which makes it a much larger collective problem that’s hard for the individual to see. Giving people a way to visualize their impact is an easily-digestible way to get them involved with very little effort on their end, so that’s a very smart feature. I also love the inclusion of the game in order to form better recycling habits. I think that this would definitely connect with younger demos who are probably more amenable to changing their habits - and saving the planet so that they don’t retire on an uninhabitable planet.

One thing that could take this already-innovative project to the next level is the idea of community and collective impact. For example, seeing your contributions as an individual is very important. However, what if you could see other people using the app and their recycling habits? Like a map of other app users and how much they’re recycling, then getting a holistic community view of how well you’re doing as a neighborhood/city/state? Perhaps you could gamify this in real life by having communities compete against each other to see who has the best recycling stats in a month? Obviously, this would increase scope and probably take it out of “MVP” status, but may be worth investigating for future iterations.

Either way, really socially-impactful idea and a very simple and thoughtful design to attack a very pressing world issue. Keep up the good work!

👏 Software Engineering Tech Lead at Google — Emoti-Con Judge
I think this is a really great project. You've taken on a very difficult challenge of how to take something like climate change, which most of us worry about in the abstract, and encourage people to engage with it at the local level and better understand how they may contribute to the problem or to its solution.

The fact that you incorporated a game is great because you can use that to keep the users engaged with the app. The idea of promising that picking up trash in the app will result in trash being cleaned up in the real world is a bold one. I wonder how we could make that a reality. One idea would be to have the game take place in a virtual world. You could sell advertising space in that world to companies that want to promote how they are addressing climate change, and the money you earn from the advertising could be used to fund cleanup projects.

Another idea you could incorporate would be allowing users to share with their friends what they have done to clean up their local communities, possibly by posting photos of themselves with the trash or recycling they have collected. Then the app could host competitions such as who can collect the most bottles in a two week period, or even competitions between whole neighborhoods. Perhaps the app could be used to organize local events, such as gathering in a park to clean it up and then have a cookout.

👏 UX Research Lead at WorkMarket an ADP Company — Emoti-Con Judge
I love your idea to bring awareness to climate change through an interactive app experience - great topic and execution. Kudos for doing your up-front research that led to the focus on recycling - an activity that every individual can do, and do better to help the environment.

Adding gamification to the app is also brilliant - and will likely bring people back to see how they measure up in their real life activities.

To allow for more engagement in the app, you might consider adding activities beyond recycling - such as water use tips and measures (Do you run the water when brushing your teeth? How long are your showers?), along with information about that topic that demonstrates the broader climate issue (e.g., stats on water scarcity around the world).

I agree with other commenters here that expanding the app to include shared community activities - i.e., adding a social aspect - can also take the app to the next step in a big way.

Great job. Keep designing for the world!

Feedback from the Community:

👏 a Teacher and/or Educator from PS 161
I love that this game could be fun but also teachable! Starting young is the way to go! Kids love games!
Anayah 👏 a Middle School Student
Hi kiana
Ms. Reide 👏 a Teacher and/or Educator from PS/MS161
Wow! I think having people track what they waste will really help them understand where they can make changes to their behaviors to change the environment. Great job.
👏 a Middle School Student from PS/MS161
Nice job on information kids and teachers on this important problem
francis 👏 a Middle School Student
i love the idea because it will help students understand the effects of recycling with a fun game
Pasa 👏 a Middle School Student from O
Good job

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