After the initial shock of the COVID-19 shutdown, we started to notice the toll it had taken on our Grandparents. While we were still able to stay in contact with our teachers and friends through technology, we found our Grandparents to be quite isolated and frightened by the situation. While our Grandparents have always supported us, we thought it was time for us to step up and to try to help them feel connected to other people and give them something to look forward to. We started by setting up a Zoom call with our Grandparents and “visiting” a zoo where we would screen share the live webcams from the San Diego Zoo. They had so much fun seeing the animals and sharing stories with us, that we made it a weekly adventure! As the shutdown continued and news worsened, we decided to add another weekly family activity. We decided that since we were fighting, why don't we add dragons and trolls to the mix! So we began our weekly D&D adventure with our Grandparents and family. While time consuming and clumsy at times, as this was our first time playing, our Grandparents started off as observers to the game. However, our Grandpa leveled up to be a brave dwarf, Tor. Weekly D&D has expanded to an additional game night to play Pictionary. Finally, one of the best side activities we have done is instead of our zoo visit one week, we instead looked through the Chicago LIFE collection on Google Photos. Scrolling through the pictures as a family, Grandma and Grandpa were able to reminisce and share stories from growing up around Chicago. While there is some work involved with planning these activities, it has been the best part of this shutdown. We have experienced so much joy helping our Grandparents, we wanted to make a website that would make it easier for people of different generations to connect and spend quality time together at a safe distance.
What it does
The website allows the user to find different zoos, museums, games, and more to virtually visit on their own or with other people. Once finished, there will be sections dedicated to virtual visits, virtual games, and journaling.
How we built it
Challenges we ran into
The most difficult part of this was figuring out how to use the Google Maps API. We wanted to use this API to have the Google Map be on one side of the page and links to the zoos/museums on the other side. This took a lot of research and a lot of trial and error to complete, but we did not give up and it finally worked.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We are most proud of figuring out how to use the google maps API in the way we envisioned. Specifically, it felt the most rewarding to be able to hover over one of the zoo/museum's logos and have the Google Maps marker have a bounce animation. The Google Map was something we both wanted in the website from the beginning because we wanted to try to show people just how far everyone can "travel" the world despite being in quarantine.
What we learned
What's next for Digital Roads
Pertaining to the 'Adventures' category we plan to add much more virtual zoos and museums. Additionally, for the 'stores' section we are going to help spread awareness about smaller business' in one hub. For the 'Games' category we would like to add a way for people to play together and we will add more games. We plan to incorporate a 'join server' or 'create lobby' option for people to either play with family/friends from a Zoom call or find new friends by joining a server. In the 'Journal' section, we are going to add a way for people to journal their feelings about COVID-19 and have the option to share with others or save it to be a memoir for themselves. We plan to add a 'remember' section where people can look at old photos of different locations around the world to serve as a conversation starter for family/friends on Zoom calls. We hope that Digital Roads can serve as a hub for people of different generations to come together despite social distancing and be connected.
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