Inspiration

Through tutoring elementary school students, we realized that they lack proper engagement with their school assignments, especially due to the virtual environment. We wanted to create an app that would incorporate a reward system while increasing productivity.

What it does

Squiggle is an interactive app that makes use of a personalized to-do list, customizable characters, and a reward system. When a student first downloads the app, they can log in with their school-specific credentials. These credentials will automatically place them in their teacher's virtual workplace. The home page is a drop-down menu list of subjects they are taking. There is also a "Customize your Character" button which, if clicked, directs the student to a page where they can add different accessories to their character and change the shape of their character. If the student clicks on the "Math" list item, they will see a drop-down list of various assignments that the teacher has assigned. If they click on the assignment, they will be directed to another page which allows them to check a checkbox, indicating that they are finished with the assignment. Once they check the checkbox, their chosen character is displayed with confetti! They can then go back to the Assignments page and select any other assignment to checkbox finish.

How we built it

We used MIT App Inventor to code this app because it was the quickest way to get a working app done in the incredibly limited time constraint. It also allowed us to focus on some aesthetic aspects of the app, since designing the screens on MIT App Inventor is interactive and User Friendly.

Challenges we ran into

The main challenge we ran into was the time constraint. We had to come up with an ideal and act upon it in a limited amount of days, which forced us to minimize the amount of features we would program into the app to get a working demo. Second was overcoming the learning challenge of using MIT App Inventor. Though we had a basic comprehensive knowledge of how to use it, we did not know every single block available to us. This required much trial and error to determine which blocks we needed to use in order to get the feature we desired to work. For example, we needed to determine how to use the list picker in order to change screens. We had initially set the code to work in general upon choosing that list, but through careful reading we determined the specific block we need to actually access the specific components in the listen instead of the list in general.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We are proud of the fact that we were able to find an apparent problem today. We were able to use our own experience on tutoring to determine that the children we tutored mainly need to help them stay engaged. A tutor cannot be with the student the entire time they are working, which is where our app will be able to provide that engagement in lieu of a person. Especially in times like this it is not always possible for a person to be there with their child to monitor them, which is where technology can play a role in mitigating the boredom as a teacher/parent would do. We are also proud of our adorable characters that add to our application.

What we learned

We learned that many sacrifices need to be made in order to make a shippable product. We had many features planned for this app, but had to leave them due to the limited time provided. This is very much represented in the work environment where the amount of time allotted plates a key role in what is made by the respective company.

What's next for Squiggle

One addition to Squiggle is allowing the students to sign in to squiggle using their google accounts. We also would like to add stars that the students will receive for doing their work, which they can use to buy various accessories and unlock different characters that they can dress up. If possible we'd want to create an entire educational platform similar to google classroom where the teacher can directly assign work to the students and the students can directly submit their work through Squiggle. However a more immediate addition would be asking the student to submit a screenshot or some form of proof that they completed the work, since the current version of the app can let them say their work is finished without any proof, so they could be lying. Another feature we want to add is a happiness meter which would go down if the student does not do their work on time and go up if the student does everything they’re supposed to. This will also make their character physically appear sadder so that the student feels bad for not doing their work.

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