Early age education is something that we all are passionate about. In an age when most families own a shared iPad, or children have their own mobile device, we think that news should be more accessible to the youngest generation. There are a few things we wanted to keep in mind -- different learning styles, age appropriate vocabulary, and parental controls. Our goal was to curate custom content for the individual reader and keep track of minutes read along with topical information about the articles. This would allow us to generate statistics for parents to read into, giving them the opportunity to discuss current events with their kids, challenge them to learn more, and be involved in their education.
What it does
Playground News allow for multiple users to have accounts on the same family account. Once a parent logs in, their children can begin to explore! We generate a few featured articles for the user to see, showing a variety of topics at once. The user has a reminder of how many minutes they should be reading for the day.
On the parent side, the parents can view the child's activity through useful statistics like topics they like to read, how often they're reading, and consistency of reading throughout the week.
How we built it
We used the Django backend framework to create our database and models. On the frontend, we used React and Semantic UI to create a pleasant UI experience. To deploy our website, we used Google Cloud Platform with a MySQL database.
Challenges we ran into
The first couple challenges were with Git and setting up a working structure. In an effort to create a balanced workflow, we decided to use branches for development. However, Git Kraken differs from Git Bash by its visual display of various changes, and we had some conflicts with merging and pulling.
The next challenge we ran into was beginning to integrate the frontend with the backend. The things that were difficult were the routing APIs between Django and React. Both frameworks have routing methods, so we needed to delicately work around each others. In the end, this being a whole lot of work that we decided we didn't need to do, making that time we spent trying to understand the balance a near waste.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
Ben M - I am proud that our team used pair-programming consistently to both learn from each other and teach each other. This was a cool experience.
Ben W - I am proud that I learned the REST API and how to use and deploy to Google Cloud Platform
Olivia - I was proud to be able to mitigate some git issues and learn more about Django routing on this project.
What we learned
We learned that is it better to attempt to learn 1 or 2 new things rather than many new things in on weekend. Early struggles definitely held us back from our full potential, but they taught us meaningful things like commiting early and often, along with using the command line for Git.
What's next for Playground News
Ideally we continue to learn more about Semantic UI and improve the overall look. We did not get done all the views we wanted, and that's okay. We learned a lot and can use this knowledge in our future projects.