Won $1,500 Best in Show at Hack@CEWIT 2020
Technology has certainly changed the face of education in recent years. However, that change is not always good. While amazing programs like Google Apps for Education, Khan Academy, and Quizlet have revolutionized education, other apps like Youtube, Instagram, and Snapchat constantly pull our attention away while we are trying to study. We wanted to fix that - to solve the problem of technological distraction. It was important to us because it is a problem that affects us personally, and we know that students across the globe also face this modern issue. So - we proposed a solution: Diego the Dog.
What it does
Diego the Dog wants to take over your phone screen before other distracting apps can do it for you. He is a study companion - a guardian against distractions.
Here is the premise: when a child sits down to study, they will open the Diego the Dog app. They will begin a study session and put their phone aside. We want to all but eliminate the phone from the equation. They will begin working - reviewing notes, studying flashcards, or reading the textbook.
If the child works and focuses for the entire duration that they committed to, they will earn points that they can use to customize Diego with accessories. However, if the child leaves the app during their study session, caving in to the allures of Instagram or youtube, they will lose their progress, and gain zero points. Additionally, over time, as their knowledge base grows, Diego will grow as well, starting as a puppy and developing into a mature dog. After consistent usage, students will see their Diego age and mature as their knowledge base does.
How we built it
We used Flutter to build this, which was an easy choice due to its cross-platform functionality. Our team implemented the various elements in Visual Studio Code, and we used different widgets followed by many tutorials to craft a wonderful user interface. We mapped out all the colors, buttons, widgets, and labels beforehand, and then plunged into designing and creating each and every one of them.
Challenges we ran into
Initially, we spent more than eight hours just setting up our IDE's. On top of that, we needed to teach ourselves the basics of Flutter. We had issues animating, and spent a lot of time trying to exchange animations from Flare, a 2D graphics engine, for other files.
Also, a lot of our time was taken up designing the app conceptually. We needed to spend time fleshing out our idea, designing a great user interface, working with specific color codes to maintain continuity, and then communicating those ideas to the team members who need it.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We are very proud that we pulled off the major functionality of the app. We also love how the user interface came out. We are very proud of how close the app is to completion. We believe that very limited adjustments need to be made before actually launching this on the app store, which is a rarity for hackathons.
Personally, I am also very proud of our team dynamic. We all worked at our personal maximums the whole weekend, passionately creating the app. We had our fair share of disputes, but they all ironed out and even added to the concept as a whole. I am very proud of the final product that we made.
What we learned
We learned a lot about Flutter. Most of our team came into this hackathon with zero Flutter experience. Through a combination of YouTube tutorials and online examples, we increased our Flutter knowledge tenfold.
We also increased our interpersonal skills- carefully working our way through disputes and acting in the interest of the app as a whole. We learned a lot this weekend and had a ton of fun.
What's next for Diego the Dog
First, we want to round off the final features that aren't online yet. We want to make the "statistics" page operational and add the capability to create an account.
Then, we want to launch a limited beta program within our community. We would like to contact families we know with children in the age range of this app to let them try it. We will take their feedback and tweak the colors, features, and interface to make it the best it can possibly be.
Then we want to launch!!