Catch our live site at: https://doublecheck-shellhacks.herokuapp.com/
Presentation/Demo video: https://youtu.be/dUNTECyJo1A
Extra videos (main video is above):
Walkthrough Mobile: https://youtu.be/s1VckYD_7VI
Walkthrough Web (w/ Sample Data): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ru5K3zUd18M
Walkthrough Web (Class Creation Process): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ytsm_ldUTow
We want to help students feel heard! Since the pandemic hit, life as we know it has changed. And for some of us, we’ve had the years and experience to learn, adapt, and understand how to continue forward. But for a great deal of others, this is not the case, and the mental impact it has had can not be overstated. Depression is up. Anxiety is up. And education seems less important now more than ever. In a study from 45 colleges and universities around the United States, 75% of Students are Unhappy with the quality of E-Learning During COVID-19. This is only exacerbated among the younger students.
The big difference between online and in-person classes is communication. It’s harder to keep students engaged, interested, and feeling heard. This problem is even worse in hybrid classes. Many students, especially those in at-risk or underprivileged groups are unable to attend class and can get left behind their in-person peers. And what about the quiet ones? The shy ones? The students who don’t have the proper resources to feel heard?
Additionally, Teachers have a difficult time prioritizing the needs of these underserved students. Teaching is hard enough already, but having to manage the small Zoom chat window while teaching a slide and having the teacher notes open, and half the class in person, makes it so much worse.
Now more than ever is the education system failing those who need it most.
So together, we can double check on those students. Double check on those teachers. And double check on those who need it.
What it does
With DoubleCheck, we use the power of extended reality to advocate for students who are online in hybrid classes or feeling like they aren’t heard. Students can submit a question through our app, which is then sent to an Amazon Alexa. The teacher can then call on the Alexa and have the question read out loud to the class. The teacher can also make polls through the Alexa for students to answer in the mobile app. The teacher can see the results on the web app.
How we built it
On the technical side, we used a range of technologies to develop a seamless workflow from teacher to student. We developed two applications. Students will use our mobile application for ios and android and teachers will use our web platform. Keep in mind that teachers do not need to view the web platform as they have access to all controls to answer questions and create polls through Alexa. We developed our mobile platform in Google Flutter. We developed our web platform in React. Additionally, we hosted our own backend API that we developed using Python and Flask. This API handled the communication between all of the moving parts in our application. We used Google Cloud Firestore to have real-time data syncing in both our mobile and web platforms. This allowed instantaneous updates to occur without having the instructor or students reload their page. The Alexa Skill was developed in AWS lambda which directly communicates with our Flask API which we hosted on Heroku.
Challenges we ran into
Our main challenge was getting everything to work together. There were many handshakes between different technologies that needed to be worked out. We had a lot of firsts with working with new technologies. We wanted Alexa to feel seamless with the rest of the system, so we integrated it with our own backend API. Since we wanted real-time changes to both the web and mobile view, we learned how to use Cloud Firestore. There were a lot of moving parts, but we are happy we were able to overcome the challenges and put together an amazing product at the end of the hackathon.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We are proud we got so much done! I am proud to say that this is a project that I would actually want to use in my online college lectures. Not only is it fully functional, but we're really happy that we had a mobile app, a web app, AND an Amazon Alexa all talking to one another when they were all living in different parts of the cloud :) . We have never attempted a technical challenge with so many moving parts, so actually getting them all to be integrated together was super freaking cool. We have also never worked with real time data and real time updates with Firebase, so learning how that works and having it fully functional was mindblowing. Real time updates make the app feel extremely polished, and it's one of the things we are definitely proud of!
What we learned
We learned a lot! We came into this hackathon with little to no experience in many of the technologies we faced. We learned how to use Google Firestore to have real-time data sync with our web and mobile applications. We learned how to develop conversations with Alexa on AWS lambda. We learned more about Google Flutter in mobile applications. Most importantly, we learned how to take a giant problem with several different technologies and break it down into small parts.
What's next for DoubleCheck
We want to bring doublecheck to the world! We want to change the world by helping students advocate for themselves and their learning. In the future we would like to offer zoom integration which could be awesome, so that way people could interact with our technology directly from zoom chat. We also would like to add free and paid tiers so that way larger organizations can have more personalization and features, while still being free and helpful for everyone who needs it!
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