Students such as us often struggle to find reliable and accessible tutors on campus. It is difficult to find peers that are in the same classes and office hours are constantly overpacked. And while we hope to make it easy for students to find assistance with their classes, we would also like to see them be willing to aid others in need.
What it does
Pincil integrates the Google Maps API to track the locations of all student requests on campus and displays them with digital pins. It allows each to create and manage their own account, including their major and profile picture. They can easily switch between tutor and student depending on their needs. Student requests are displays across the map while tutor acceptances are displayed in a list view.
How we built it
The application is build completely with Android Studio and the modern language Kotlin. We used Google Firebase as our main authentication and database tool, storing user information, tutoring requests and offers, and user messages. We used the Google Maps API to accurately locate and display all students requesting assistance with their classes. Finally, we used a Github repository to manage and collaborate among the teammates.
Challenges we ran into
Our main challenge was creating listeners for Firebase database changes within our implementation. Namely, we ran into trouble differentiating between value versus child listeners for the nodes of the databases. There were also many problems with merging from different branches, and we needed frequently resolve them before continuing.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
Our team members have little experience using outside APIS within our personal projects, so integrating both Firebase as well as the Google Maps API within our app in such a short amount of time was a large accomplishment. We are proud to be able to overcome many the technical and conceptual roadblocks.
What we learned
Our biggest lesson was learning how to collaborate in a small team in a limited amount of time, a skill that is invaluable in the workplace and throughout our lives. We also learned how to bring a small idea into reality and to persevere through various obstacles.
What's next for Pincil
While we accomplished many of our goals in MHacks, we feel that there are many potential improvements in order for our application to eventually be marketable. Our next step is to complete the tutor review system and integrate the Stripe API to easily manage payments between tutors and students.
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