Equify

Here is our attempt to tackle one of the pressing issue faced by education nowadays. Part of the multiple sustainable development goals defined by the UN, we aim at improving the way children thrive throughout life, preventing them from dropping out of school too early.

Inspiration

Students struggle with classroom engagement and this impacts their learning outcomes. With high student:teacher ratios personalization of learning suffers as well. Additionally, test taking is a lagging indicator of student success. Enter Equify, a seamless platform for all the stakeholders in a student's experience: teachers, students, administrators, and parents. This uses gamification to boost engagement and motivation.

What it does

Teachers set smart flash card decks that can learn from student's performance to challenge them further. The decks that improve student performance the best are ranked and are shareable between teachers and schools to replicate this performance boost.

Students work through their decks at the end of class to minimize the distracting impact of smartphones/tech in the classroom and to assess their understanding of the material day-by-day. Work continues outside of school, as those students are matched with problems correlated to their understanding of the class. The problems are generated through python and LateX, before being matched to the student given a complexity score attributed by AI.

Teachers have a dashboard to view class performance and student performance. Administrators have a dashboard to view class performance and overall performance by gender and course subject. This is to address the gender divide in academic achievement by subject that is a global issue.

How we built it

We designed a prototype app with the various stakeholders in mind: a playful UX/UI for the student who can work through their decks and see how their skills stack up. This will be implemented as an Android app because that is the adopted device of choice in the third world.

The dashboard of analytics is designed for the desktop for the administrators and teachers to assess performance by gender and subject.

Challenges we ran into

The team made a great job at working together and sharing thoughts, but we eventually faced a major challenge half way through the hackathon. As we had started narrowing down and prototyping our final idea, we came across a substantial amount of data which discredited a major aspect of the project. The team came together and discussed for two hours about what to do next. We made the decision of adapting and reshaping our initial idea whilst taking into account the newly found data.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

As a newly formed team, we are proud to say that we managed to accomplish a lot in those last 24 hours. From a technical standpoint, we have put our brain power together to come up with a novel way of using technology to transform the learning experience for high school children and teachers in a sustainable way. We developed a minimal viable product of our idea to showcase its potential including UI as well as preliminary machine learning algorithms.

From a project management standpoint, we focused on respecting everyone’s idea and creating an environment which fostered discussion and debate. But the most important aspect of all is the passion burning inside of us to improve the current educational system and bringing the next generation of children support that we could only dream of.

What we learned

Education is a slow moving dinosaur. Technology is kicking in, but claiming being able to solve education for every child at the same time is merely impossible. We learned a lot, getting through research papers, about the process of gamification, about what it meant in terms of performances improvement, and what techniques could potentially be suitable for children. We also spent a good part of our time evaluating the technology feasibility, regarding the smartphone usage in class. This was a great barrier, made us think a lot, and re-evaluate all our previous positions (#EarlyPivotIsBetterThanLatePivot).

What's next for Equify

Equify has been built with a real strategy. Research is being done concurrently the evolution of the EdTech world, and our experiences did provide us with the right insights to determine the best plan of actions. Next would come the project realization, meaning the actual coding of the backend infrastructure (something we are able to do, but not in a 24hours timeframe, especially considering the fact we envisioned three different applications for each of our stakeholders). Once the first iteration of our MVP ready, we would then be able to reach out to private/public schools we have in our personal networks to begin the pilot projects. We are not creating a whole new market, and that would make adoption way easier, especially in a tech-savvy environment like California. Nonetheless, our final objective is sustainable development of the majority of the population, and that's where our data strategy comes into play, making us able to transfer knowledge from different places to improve the learning experiences of all the children we will be crossing the path of. Financially, this would be feasible without any great burden (good thing with software), and would mainly be relying on grants (5 to 10k). Crossing fingers!

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