Our first animated pitch: https://youtu.be/9Ccm_r8d-to

1. Inspiration

Teaching and learning from home is a challenge, let's build a tool to help both students and teachers!

2. Problem

These are weird times. Due to the current crisis many teachers parted with their students mid-lecture and are now forced to rethink the very basis of their work. Human to human interaction needs to be approximated by technology; students need to learn from home and teachers need to teach from home. Zoom and Meet are excellent means for interaction, and with enough practice teachers will learn to give quality courses online. There is, however, currently no tool that would allow students to receive individual feedback to exercises they are solving. Moreover, it is a hard to track and review students' work online. Our team comprises mathematicians, high school teachers as well as a university professor with online teaching experience that are ready to tackle this problem head-on.

3. Our Solution

The worldwide coronavirus crisis is a unique opportunity to propose a global platform for school girls and boys, students and teachers across the world, to communicate and learn. Our idea is to propose a platform that would allow learning of mathematics through practice. We want to provide an extensive program arranged by topics spanning all school levels up to university. Given a selection of chosen topics and range of levels of difficulty, the student will be able to randomly generate a chosen number of unique exercises and practice on them. She/he will then have access to detailed automated feedback about each exercise's resolution. On the other hand, given a selection of chosen topics, the teacher will be able to generate a unique set of exercises with automated solutions for each of her/his students. The student will then be able to submit her/his solutions independently of her/his classmates, the set will be automatically corrected, and detailed solutions can be consulted afterwards by the student. Our goal is to propose Quome in English, French, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, and possibly Asian languages. The content is restricted to mathematics at a primary and secondary level, but could possibly be adapted to other subjects and higher levels.

4. What it does

Math exercises

The three mathematicians on our team are proud to have designed and built a state-of-the-art random exercise generator that will be useful for students and teachers alike. Upon completion of a given exercise set students are provided with detailed automated solutions. Our generator is currently able to create exercise sets of a specified length and difficulty on any of the following topics:

  • Numbers (9e Harmos):
    • Addition and substraction.
    • Order of operations.
  • Fractions (9e Harmos):
    • Simplifying and expanding fractions.
    • Addition and subtraction of fractions.
    • Irreducible fractions.
  • Divisibility criteria (9e Harmos).
  • Computing GCD and LCM (9e Harmos).
  • Pythagoras' theorem :
    • Direct application of Pythagoras' theorem (10e Harmos).
    • Applying the converse of Pythagoras' theorem (11e Harmos).
  • Simplification of square roots (11e Harmos).
  • Equations:
    • Solving equations of first degree (10e Harmos).
    • Solving equations of second degree (11e Harmos).

Exercises are currently available in English, French and Portuguese.

The platform

We have developed a functioning and efficient, not to mention pretty, website to carry and enhance the content above. To see the current state of the webiste please visit: https://quome.org.

The levels 9e, 10e and 11e on the website correspond to the "Plan d'études romand" used by public schools in the French speaking part of Switzerland (https://www.plandetudes.ch/per).

5. How we built it

Throughout this challenge we have worked in two teams. Our 'content' team has focused on development of the random question generator using python. Meanwhile, our 'web' team mounted the website, and incorporated the content, using React and Firebase technologies. We would like to emphasize that we have built everything from scratch in the past 72 hours.

6. Challenges we ran into

Our principal challenge was to integrate the content to the website. This has required cretivity and some substantial transfer of knowledge between the two teams. A task made that much harder by unfavorable conditions imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

7. Accomplishments that we're proud of / What we learned

Given that our two teams have never met prior to the kick-off of this project (hence never met physically), and considering we have been confined to our homes, we are proud to report that we have taken full advantage of the video, audio and messaging tools available and have had virtually no communication problems to speak of. Here are a few examples of more technical accomplishments we are proud of:

  1. Display Latex on the web page.
  2. Incorporate a question to a website. (Collaboration between the two teams).
  3. Generate a quizz with multiple random questions.

And finally, we are especially proud to have created a functioning and useful website from scratch in less than 72 hours.

8. What's next?

We are working on creating questions on all mathematical subjects studied at primary and secondary levels in the French speaking part of Switzerland. After making these available in multiple languages, we will expand our database to include other curricula. For the moment, our platform lets an individual user generate an exercise set of their choice. We want to expand this feature and allow teachers to share the created sets with their students directly on the website. This will allow them to monitor the students' progress and suggest appropriate exercises in the future. Above all, Quome is a tool for students and teachers. We will, therefore, work closely with both groups to improve its utility and usability.

9. Our team

Cedric Jud is a self-taught web developer based in Oslo.

Claude Marion got a PhD in Mathematics from Imperial College and has been teaching at universities in UK, Switzerland, Israel, Italy and Portugal. He inclusively designed with Prof. Testerman the three EPFL MOOC courses on linear algebra https://www.edx.org/course/algebre-lineaire-partie-1

Clément Petit is currently a 3rd year student in Bachelor of Computer Science at EPFL.

Elia Saquand is a 3rd year student in Bachelor of Communication Systems at EPFL.

Nathan Scheinmann has a PhD in Mathematics from EPFL. He is currently teaching mathematics at CO des Coudriers in Geneva.

Peter Simko has a Masters degree in Mathematics from EPFL and currently teaches at Gymnase de Renens. He likes to read, write and code in his free time.

Pierre Motard is currently in Bachelor of Communication Systems at EPFL.

Yanis Berkani is a 3rd year student in Bachelor of Computer Science at EPFL.

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