We were inspired by the unoriginal attempts our parents made during our childhood to motivate us to study. Many children have their own mobile phones or use their parents' devices. We want to turn that screen time into an exciting yet educational experience.
What it does
Parents register their children for the app with the appropriate grade level, areas of focus, and objective. The available areas of focus include addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. The parent deposits money via Apple Pay and selects how much their children get for each study session that reaches the accuracy threshold. The child must complete a series of problems within a time limit and score above a parent-defined threshold to receive money. Upon successful completion of a series of questions, the parent receives a text message informing them of their child's accomplishment.
How we built it
- XCode + Swift for the iOS application, with the Alamofire HTTP Client and Firebase integration.
- Apple Pay to handle payment processing for credit cards.
- Firebase for backend functionality. We save all user data and authenticate using Firebase.
- Google Cloud Platform - App Engine to host our Node.js + Express.js backend with endpoints to call the Twilio API to send text messages to parents.
Challenges we ran into
Two of our team members had never done iOS development, nor regularly used iPhones prior to the hackathon. Learning the iOS design language was difficult, but an enjoyable challenge. We also had never worked with Node.js or deployed an App Engine using the Google Cloud Platform. Working with Swift was a challenge, as Swift is very different syntactically from most languages we know.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
- Building an awesome iOS app and backend.
- Our team of 3's organization skills and ability to work separately on features and combine them into a cohesive product.
- We learned a lot about each other and our strengths and weaknesses.
What we learned
We learned about iOS, endpoints in Node.js, and the deployment process using App Engine this weekend. We sorted through a lot of documentation and improved our skills at calling API's and designing UI's. We did a lot of pair coding and learned how to best organize our time to make this project a reality.
What's next for Practic.ly
- Add activities for more academic subjects and skill levels.
- Improve the consistency of the UI.
- Add reward types in addition to electronic card payments.