Due to COVID-19, students have had to transition to online learning. In fact, 1.9 BILLION children are out of the classroom because of this. This comes with many challenges because students are now more than ever distracted with technology. It is difficult for students (especially children) to not be distracted and to self-motivate. Studies show that students are 25% more likely to multitask in non-academic work when enrolled in online courses compared to their peers in face-to-face courses. Therefore, we wanted to address this issue in order to help students optimize their studying and to alleviate the stress of parents.
What it does
This program, Study Buddy, allows students to stay focused while studying with a user friendly icon. It will keep track of what a student uses during their "homework" period. It will remind the student to not go on websites or use programs that are non-educational or that they/their parent "forbid" during this study period. It also provides study techniques, resources to children, and reminds students to take breaks as well. In other words, it acts as the "parent" on the computer but a friendlier version. Students will be able to choose between different icons such as their teacher, an anime character, animals, monsters, etc. Think of a Pomodoro clock on steroids!
How we built it
This was built using Script commands & Python in a Windows 10 comptuer. This program will later be an app/exe file that runs in the background and is built using Unity, which is a game development/animation software. In addition, we hope to also implement AI to be more real-life and interactive with the user to mimic more of a "buddy" like feel.
Challenges we ran into
In addition, there are not many examples out there that shows an appropriate version of these desktop animation. The last more well-known one was Microsoft's "Clippy." Because there is not much guidance online regarding desktop character animation, we had to simplify the project. A mentor had recommended to figure out how to access the background processes of the computer to see what programs are running and then notify the user to close the program when it is running. In addition, there were no mentors who had experience in creating these desktop animation characters, so a lot of the time spent was figuring out how to even start the project.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
a) Utilizing the knowledge we gained from the workshops to create our application b) Being able to work together and produce something despite our major time zone differences and limited time c) Being able to bring all of our unique educational backgrounds to produce a product d) Learning that this is a novel idea that others have not created before
What we learned
We learned how to call system commands from a python script, how to work together with different skill sets, and gained more insight on how transitioning to online learning has affected students and parents. In addition, we learned that Unity is a tool that could be used to create animations, similar to the Everly-chan animation you see in the video.
What's next for Study Buddy
In the future, we are hoping that the icons utilized by the student can regularly encourage the student with positive affirmations, can set reminders, and include a to do list. Additionally, we are looking to make the program run so that the icon is voice activated and can be used for homework help with different API's.