Inspiration

One of the toughest things about the recent changes to education given the COVID-19 situation was a lack of motivation, self-discipline, and an overall decrease in productivity. These problems are not exclusive to students in Ontario, but students across the world have been facing challenges in their academics due to this unprecedented pandemic. Thus, with this in mind, our team members felt inspired to come up with a solution- no matter how simple- to help combat our own universal struggles with productivity. StudySpace was born from this concept.

What it does

StudySpace is a simple, relaxing corner of the Internet where you can do any number of things to suit your study style. If you feel as though you need to follow a pattern to be productive, a Pomodoro timer is there to help keep you working and also ensure that you're taking regular breaks. If you decide not to use the timer, a host of playlists of relaxing music are available, away from YouTube's distracting interface filled with videos ready to decrease your productivity levels. A simple checklist of reminders to keep you on track and reinforce positive study habits is at your fingertips. If nothing else, the website's visuals, particularly the gentle moving sparkles (that aren't so different from little stars) making their way up your screen, are relaxing enough for you to get into the mood of studying and away from distracting websites. StudySpace has something for everyone, whatever their study style is.

How I built it

StudySpace was built with a combination of HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript. It was coded collaboratively on Repl.it by the whole team and planned extensively on Google Docs. The website logo was drawn on Krita. While prior knowledge came in handy, we found resources on the Internet like W3Schools to be really helpful!

Challenges I ran into

Since this was our very first hackathon, we found that our biggest challenges were a combination of a surprising lack of time and an overestimation of our abilities. We had planned a few more features for this website, such as a SQ3R Method and a Mnemonic Assistant, but ultimately ended up getting waylaid by other obstacles in our coding process. We were lacking in JavaScript and CSS expertise, though we did have some HTML knowledge. It was challenging to come up with solutions for challenges that we had never encountered before in such a short timeframe while constantly worrying about the quality of our product. Ultimately, we feel proud of our efforts and problem-solving skills and have gained immensely in not only coding knowledge, but real-world skills in collaboration, time management, and effective planning. We are proud of our finished product nonetheless.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

We are extremely proud of the implementation of the star-like particles on the website; we feel as though it really elevates the visuals and truly makes for an enchanting and relaxing experience. It was a challenge getting it to work and fussing with CSS and confusing online tutorials, but we feel that given our limited experience with CSS, the finished product was beyond our expectations. We are also very happy with the Pomodoro timer, which proved to be one of the toughest features to implement but turned out almost exactly how we planned it. We gained a lot of experience learning how to program the Pomodoro timer and we feel that it truly showcases our ability to adapt and overcome challenges in the design and development processes.

What I learned

We learned a great deal of skills through participating in this Hackathon. Not only have all of our team members gained in our skills in coding (in three different languages, no less!), we feel as though we have learned how to work together as a team: delegating tasks, taking initiative and tackling problems that seem impossible, staying on-task and pushing through even when the going gets tough were all skills that we all feel like we really improved. We have improved in our problem-solving abilities. Breaking down real problems into manageable steps and then translating them into code was something that we've learned in the classroom, but during this hackathon, it really put our skills to the test and forced us to think critically.

What's next for StudySpace

StudySpace won't be seeing black anytime soon. In fact, after telling one of our friends from school about our project, we were inspired to continue development even after this Hackathon finishes. He's struggling a lot with staying productive after being forced to quarantine, so we figured that even if it's just for one guy, it wouldn't hurt to continue working on it and implementing some of his suggested features that we didn't have time to implement. We are planning to implement the missing SQ3R feature , as well as a step-by-step Feynman technique , and improved cross-page playlist mechanics!

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