We were really inspired by people such as Helen Keller who still did amazing acts and made such an impactful mark in the world despite their hearing impairment. As a student-led organization, we believe that nothing should stand in the way of achieving people's dreams, which is exactly what the goal of SignSparks is.
What it does 😍
SignSparks has specified and detailed curriculums to fit different students' needs. On our web app, which is made with Qoom, we have the first couple of lessons displayed along with interactive repl.it websites for exercises. In addition, if the student would like to learn from our live ASL tutoring sessions, they can simply use the sign-up form and pick a time that works best for them. However, we also understand if the student might be a bit shy, so that's where Sammy, our discord bot, comes in! She is able to assist students with any difficulties or questions regarding logistics, computer science lessons, or any tutoring information. Most importantly, Sammy serves as your personal AI teaching assistant, so you won't have to worry about in-person school teachers learning sign language themselves. :)
How we built it 💻
For the web app, we used HTML and CSS to create the tabs/pages with embedded google slides for the curriculum. Two of our group members learned a lot of new coding skills regarding how to create an eye-catching website and using a new coding platform of Qoom (which we loved!).
For the discord bot, we used python as the main coding language and even though our programmer for Sammy had previous experience with bots, we still had great discussions about some ambitious ideas and whether or not they were doable. In the end, we were able to successfully connect the discord bot to our web app, which resulted in a super cool end product that will truly hopefully change lives. 💗
Challenges we ran into 🤔
1.) Having ideas that were too ambitious - Our original idea for Sammy was to have a live integrated camera system so she could have real-time ASL to text conversions. However, we realized that time was running out, so we took Plan B: having Sammy be a personal AI tutor to the student so they wouldn't have to use sign language but could still get the help they needed. 2.) New to Qoom - This is our first time using qoom for all teammates, so it was quite a challenge to figure out the logistics of it and how everything worked, including how to share and collaborate on a code file. But once we got the hang of it, we took full advantage of all the assets that Qoom had. :)
Accomplishments that we're proud of 🔥
1.) Time management - As a team of three, we had great time management and communication skills. Despite the virtual setting, we took full control of discord, qoom, zoom, and many other sources. 2.) Resilience - Even though at times, our plan wasn't working the way we originally intended it to, we were quick to come up with an alternative, making us feel very proud of our end product! 3.) For one of our team members, it was her first hackathon, and we felt that we had an amazing time designing and creating SignSparks. As a team, we accomplished much more than we had envisioned, and all of this hard work brought us closer as teammates and as friends.
What we learned 🤓
We learned so many aspects of coding and computer science that we didn't even know could have been doable. We also had lots of fun making the web app and seeing everything come together; it was like all our hard work finally paid off!
What's next for SignSparks 💖
We hope to add a built-in camera function for Sammy so she can have live sign language recognition as well, which means that the student can utilize sign language to communicate with Sammy and she can turn those hand motions into words very quickly. We're so excited to see how far SignSparks has come, and we can't wait to see what's in store for it in the future!