Inspiration for EduChat

Around the world, teachers are struggling with effective and timely communication with their students and families. Students struggle with email and phone calls home become a game of phone tag. However, so many middle school and high school students have their own cell phones and most parents have access to a cell phone. We built EduChat to provide teachers with a convenient, on-the-go option for communication.

What it does

While keeping student information secure, EduChat allows 2 way communication through group chats or 1 on 1 chats between teacher and student/family. Whether it is a quick reminder about the math test, alerting the teacher about an absence, or showing off student work; teachers and families feel connected so that students thrive. Designed on the web, parents and students can elect to have messages delivered via SMS or through the app in order to give families maximum amount of choice.

How we built EduChat

Using React Native, we built out a cross platform text and mobile app. We utilized Google Firebase as our back end database. We implemented the Twilio Conversations API to run our chat and messaging service.

Challenges we ran into

One of our main challenges we faced was working collaboratively from very different time zones. As half our team were first time participants of a hackathon, there was a very steep learning curve and a lot of technical glitches. Those two factors combined meant we had to put in a lot of effort to find times to chat and be clear with async work. As well, using Twilio, which we had never used before, meant we had to dedicate time to reading through documentation as we built our project.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We are very proud of coming up with a product that solves a real world issue for Teachers and families everywhere by creating a service that can improve the quality of education.

What we learned

Firstly, we learned a lot about hackathons! From the technical side, learning about the Twilio conversations API was really fascinating. There is so much that can be done with it!

What's next for EduChat chat app

EduChat app has several intended additions. First, we want to get the messaging up and running with ensured security for student data. Then, we want to ensure that SMS is enabled and video messaging is incorporated. We would also love to create a ban system for inappropriate language etc that conforms to a community guideline to ensure the mental and emotional safety of students.

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