After helping integrate Virtual Reality and object-based pedagogy into campus courses at the University of Oklahoma, we noticed that students are often benefited by being able to examine data in front of them, rather than on a page. However, despite massive educational resources being available to students, none had paired this new field of learning via 3D models with existing educational content on the web. That's where we stepped in.
What it does
Athena is a brand new learning platform designed to help students learn at their own pace. By partnering existing, proven technologies, like Khan Academy, Sketchfab, and even real-time chat via TLK.io, students can learn, study, and communicate with students like never before.
For instance, you can:
- Watch educational videos and tutorials!
- Create a virtual study group to help keep in touch with classmates!
- View 3D models in Virtual Reality, right from your phone!
- Review College/High School test prep materials!
- Create and keep track of online notes!
- And so much more!
All with access to over 15,000 educational lessons hosted on our site!
How we built it
Athena is built with Laravel and MariaDB, powered on top of Apache. Thrown into the mix is a little bit of Vue.js, Bootstrap 4, and some custom logic mixed in there, as well.
Challenges we ran into
Dedicated to bringing students top-tier educational resources, we knew we had to utilize the awesome videos published by Khan Academy. However, with a sparse API and little documentation, we only had one choice: download all of Khan Academy.
We used this game plan to develop and execute a native PHP JSON parser, designed specifically to process large (~80MB) JSON files, which we later used to scrape educational resources via the Khan Academy JSON Topic-Tree.
With other issues plaguing us ahead, such as server hardware dependencies not being met, we continued to forge on, determined to develop the best project we could! Enjoy!
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We're definitely proud of overcoming some of the hurdles we faced, such as those mentioned above. Challenges are a great way to gain experience quickly, and maybe even develop some awesome software along the way!
What we learned
Establishing a web presence, especially one at such a large scale from the beginning, presented us with some interesting technical challenges, giving us the best crash-course we can think of in engineering "at scale." We're excited to take the knowledge we learned at this hackathon and use it to continue making Athena better!
What's next for Athena
With the Alpha version of our mobile app being developed at HackCU '17 and our web presence being established at Hacklahoma '18, we're excited to say that Athena is starting to look like a real company! Keep an eye out, we may just need some more help in the future!
Thank you everybody for the support, we look forward to hearing what you think about it!
<3 Bryson and Ryan