BHS Student Works with District to Pilot New App

A boy smiles
  • Published February 14, 2024

    After years of hard work, a Brentwood High School senior is hoping a new app he created will help students across the district.

    Anthony Beckett is the brains behind Markify, an app that helps students take notes and participate in class. Anthony, who has been coding for years, says he came up with the idea his sophomore year.

    "I was in math class, and my teacher erased the smart board before I finished writing everything down," he said. "I could either pause the whole class so I could catch up, or I could just say nothing. So I said nothing."

    Because the district uses Chromebooks, Anthony wondered if there was a way to broadcast the notes to individual students, who could write at their own pace or contribute to the class discussion. That's how the idea for Markify was born.

    While researching the idea, Anthony learned of other features that teachers wished were available to them. As a result, a project he initially thought would take four months had quickly turned into something new.

    "I realized there's a difference between a hobby project and an actual real-deal idea," said Anthony. "Running a team of programmers is like starting a business, which is why I joined the district's Entrepreneurship and Innovation Center (EIC). Being able to meet with mentors and hear from people who actually know what they're doing has been a huge help."

    As part of the EIC, Anthony was able to attend an education technology event and present his idea to a group of educators. He was also able to present his idea to the WCS  Instructional Technology Department and begin the process of getting Markify onto ClassLink dashboards.

    "We set up a meeting with the Instructional Technology team, and I did a demo with them," Anthony said. "They asked a bunch of questions, and before the meeting I had to submit a 10-page form. The district gave me a list of changes to make, but long story short, they let me submit the names of 25 teachers who could try Markify. Now all of those teachers have it on their ClassLink."

    Anthony continues to make progress in developing and showcasing his app. At this year's EIC Pitch Night, Anthony won $3,000 in start-up funds for Markify. He also won the 2023 Congressional App Challenge in Tennessee's Fifth District. Anthony plans to attend college and major in business with a minor in software engineering.