A view of the dashboard and field trip info for the student view.
Teachers can create field trips for their students to enjoy - here is a view of the creation and review pages for them.
Student: Dashboard view shows map of current location and available field trips.
Student: Fieldtrip start screen shows description and a larger image.
Student: Field trip activity screen shows the map location and address of the activity in addition to questions to be completed.
Site map of student view
As any kid currently learning virtually from home can tell you, the schooling experience is drastically different from how it was pre-COVID. It is no longer possible to meet new friends by talking to the student next to you right after class, nor can hands-on learning be conducted as in a lab or a live classroom demonstration.
We recognize that so much has been transformed, and while virtual learning platforms are trying their best to replicate the in-class experience at home, there will always be something else that is missing. We resolved to develop a solution that brings back in some capacity, one of the more fun aspects of in-person learning: Field Trips.
RemoTrips is a mobile application that allows teachers to prepare, and students to embark on asynchronous field trips. The teacher can develop a trip by pinning locations using addresses or Google Maps, and then for each location, the teacher can add activities for the student to complete, such as answering written questions, uploading a photo, or taking part in a class poll. The students (and even their families!) would, on their own time, embark on the field trip, complete the activities, and submit to the teacher.
Our team is composed of two designers (Vanessa and Brittney) and two developers (David and William), and our overall strategy was to optimize communication so that the UI imagined by our designers could be cleanly implemented into the code partway into development. For a little bit about our build process, we spent the first night developing our idea and the medium we would use to implement it. We then spent much of the next day (Friday) developing the design of our app in Figma and learning the Flutter framework (as neither of our developers were previously familiar with Flutter, Dart, or app development in general). Although our end product would eventually feature both a “teacher” view to make field trips and a “student” view to participate, a mentor recommended that we start with the students’ view, so we began designing data/pseudocode for that. On Saturday, we finished all of our student view designs and developed most of the student view app and model in Flutter/Dart (while overcoming many challenges, more on that). It was also on Saturday we ran into the most coding hurdles. Finally, on Sunday, we polished the app functionality while integrating the UI developed by our designers into the application.
This hackathon was a first for all of our team members, so there were a vast host of challenges we had to overcome and many mistakes that we made. Learning Flutter, Dart, and app development in 1-2 days was an immense challenge that led us down multiple wrong paths during our implementation on Saturday. To manage page navigation, we attempted multiple approaches before one was successful, and this required us to think on our feet, know when to abandon one approach to try another, and research the various libraries we were using (all with a time crunch).
With respect to design, although we were familiar with the Figma platform and had completed design projects we had not designed for mobile Android applications. In doing so, we learned about site-mapping, managing different user perspectives (student vs. teacher), and integrating design into developed software.
Since this was a hackathon, there was no way to fully implement all the features we set out to add. Currently, we have the student view of the app mostly complete, and the teacher view designed. However, in the future, we would like to add the teacher view, classroom support, and database support. If we continue to develop this app, we would hope to have it foster a community of field trip makers and takers.
Overall, this was an excellent introduction to the world of ‘hacking’ and app development. Our development process was full of obstacles (some fun to overcome, others downright frustrating), but we all learned immensely from the experience.
We want to end with a big thank you to the organizers, mentors, and judges for helping to make this awesome event happen!