The NY Times recently published an article with the following headline, "In the Covid-19 Economy, You Can Have a Kid or a Job. You Can’t Have Both". It discussed how with the ongoing pandemic, the struggle between working and parenting is a continuous challenge, especially as younger children transition to online learning. Unable to monitor their children's internet access, children are increasingly likely to end up on unwanted sites. Furthermore, education in a COVID-19 setting can be restless and boring, where children aren't engaged with the material. As a result, we wanted to find a way to solve both these issues - to supplement online learning in an interesting and engaging fashion, while lifting some of the burdens off of parents and putting them at ease.
What it does
Our app is built on the principle of having a child-centered app with a clear design: simple shapes, colors, moving objects, friendly characters, a clear purpose, and easy interactivity.
We also offer entertaining and new content, various rewards and challenges for all age groups to enjoy. The sample game we have advertised is the "Defeat the COVID-19 crisis". Using their camera, kids can explore their surroundings for viruses. To eliminate it, they must correctly answer questions testing various skills, such as vocabulary and general knowledge. For each correct answer, they receive currency, which they can exchange for counter-measures within our online store. Following, they may apply these counter-measures, and subsequently, defeat the virus. For parents concerned about technology addiction, and health-related concerns: the app offers activities such as karaoke, guided art sessions etc. that do not require eye-to-eye interaction and powers down the tablet while working in the background.
Finally, we support tailored, controlled learning that is tailored to age as well as enhancing knowledge and skills. These rely on the academic curriculum from the UK and Canada ~ supported by multi-languages. We offer various parental controls such as a lock feature that prevents kids from browsing external websites.
How we built it
For this project, we utilized an amalgamation of advanced tools and software to create an effective prototype. For the core programming aspect of the project, we used the Unity game engine and the Visual Studio Code IDE. To add AR/VR/3D functionality to our app and make it more fun and interactive to use, we utilized EchoAr to deploy a real-time 3D model. Additionally, for the front end aspect of the application, we used sites such as Canva and SketchFab to create and display aesthetic designs and models. Lastly, we brought all these aspects together to create a fully functional app using the C# programming language.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
Our team has worked together on various projects. However, this is the first time we had made a project of this complexity. Furthermore, this was the first time we took risks and it had paid off - this was our first time working with 3D models and echoAR. While we ran into some challenges, it was an overall success as we hadn't overshot despite taking said risks. To see this improvement over time is satisfying and reassuring of our growth as a team.
What's next for COV-ED
Currently, we are working on working on increasing the usability of our app on mobile apps.
In the future, we would like to increase the scope of our project. Specifically, we would like to diversify and segment our curriculum by grade and subject, allowing our app to hone into every child's individual needs.
We hope to connect with educators within different school boards to meet curriculum requirements to the best of our ability. In doing so, we hope to bridge the gap between parent and teacher to create the best experience for each child.