Because of COVID-19, Orange-Ulster BOCES Career and Technical Education students and teachers have used a sign-in sheet when they enter and leave the classroom. Mechatronics and Robotics student Grace Fevola thought there must be a better way than using a pen and paper to keep track of attendance.
Grace took it upon herself to create a check in system using RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) key fobs, an Arduino board and a RFID reader module. Once she figured out the coding, students could use their fobs and a computer would print out a sheet with the students’ names, the times they entered and left the classroom and whether they had completed the online COVID screening for the day.
“Grace never gave up and she slugged it out until she got the code right,” said Mechatronics and Robotics teacher Patrick Killian. “She sat there for hours and hours, even on her days off. She took the stuff home and plugged through it.”
Grace, a Valley Central High School student, is currently taking the Essentials of C programming course remotely. But she said she didn’t know anything about C when she started the key fob project and ended up looking for solutions to her problems on Google. Getting everything to work together was a trial-and-error process that was time consuming.
“All of my students are trained on the RFID systems, and there is canned code for that,” Mr. Killian said. “However, Grace had to figure out how to ID each bit code from the RFID tag and tie it to the student names. She worked for hours to get the system working.”