We built TaskCast with a goal that seems simple: Save students like ourselves stress (and from failing courses). But while it may seem to be basic, the truth is that years ago, 8/10 college students (acc: The American Institute of Stress) felt consistently anxious due to schoolwork, and this number only ever grows as solutions are not offered and schoolwork is further piled onto them.
But is the schoolwork itself really the only issue? It isn't! Managing the schoolwork is. Because as new generations flow into and out of schools, other aspects of childhood are increasingly time-consuming and stress-inducing. Students deal with balancing these matters, along with their grades, in different ways, such as procrastination or ignoring homework entirely. Neither of which are healthy. But we're here to help!
What it does
TaskCast is like rubbing a magical lamp and saying demandingly to the genie which floats out, "Give me the perfect, most efficient, easy-to-reference schedule so I can actually complete all my assignments on-time and graduate!" The genie waves its wand, casting a spell (in this imaginary world, genies and fairy godmothers are no different) and--wait, it's not a genie at all! It's TaskCast! That's pretty wild.
Our app takes into consideration time till assignments are due, the time the assignments will take (estimated) to complete, and priorities of the user. Not to mention the user can hold onto this schedule and their future schedules forever, because TaskCast drops them right into Google Calendar. This results in a beautifully streamlined schedule that fits the user's needs. Having a clearly organized to-do list on a day-to-day basis is more motivating than just opening a folder and seeing thousands upon thousands of assignments crumpled inside.
How we built it
We used HTML/CSS, since TaskCast is a web-app. We also used JS. To make sure the app is as viable for use among the general student body, we took a more-than-you-might-think amount of effort and time using the Google Script Environment so that we could be sure to let the app connect to the user's Google Calendar. This way, the schedules will have a way to be saved, making this app realistically ready for running!
Challenges we ran into
Our group was composed of 3 members, and 2 had never in their lives worked with JS, which was a major part of our project. All 3 had never even touched the Google Script Environment or incorporated Google anything, much less the Google Calendar, into a web-app. In these ways, we were novices. It was at times frustrating to learn JS, since all we wanted to do was get our app up and working properly. Instead, it took a seemingly endless amount of research, bug-fixing, testing, editing, more research, etc., etc. But through teamwork and persistence, we managed to get this app done together, and we could not happier with our finished product.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
As a whole, we're proud of the app. But there are those little things that were particularly rewarding, too. For example, We spent tons and tons of time and energy trying to figure out how to add Google Calendars to our application. We even considered taking a simpler route, but she insisted we continue to work on it. And in the end, we finished. Not to mention all the re-running to find where our errors were!
What we learned
As previously mentioned, 2 of us have used JS for the first time in...forever! And all of us were introduced to Google's Script Environment, which can definitely be helpful in future projects. We would even go as far as to say that we learned how to work as a team. Not that we couldn't before, it's just that this project encouraged time-efficiency (kind of like TaskCast itself) and we had to hustle.
What's next for TaskCast
Although we think TaskCast is brilliant in its own right, there is so much that could be potentially added for "quality of life" purposes--in other words, to make the user even happier to use our app! One addition could be even more Google Calendar involvement, such as taking into account the events already on the user's. Another that we wanted to add but could not get to was improved stylizing (appearance). While we did put our all (for the time given) into the design, logo, etc. of our app, it could, like most things, be even more easy on the eyes.
Plus, we think this app could easily get out there. We shared some of it with volunteers at Ridge Hacks--students--and all of which agreed this could be a useful thing in their lives and the lives of fellow high schoolers. It truly would have an impact on the mental healths and daily lives of students who use it. TaskCast matters.
And unlike a genie, it can grant that perfect schedule indefinitely!