Inspiration

As a team of students, we all have been faced with the daunting essay. When faced with an essay, the impulse of many students is to sound as smart as possible, and many will turn to Thesaurus.com to find complex words to replace, "hard". Our team thought, instead of turning to a last minute solution, why not build something to help students get better every step of the way! We wanted to build an application which helps students build their vocabulary every time they visit a website.

What it does

We made a chrome extension that scans through a web page and highlights difficult words. The words that are selected reflect a user's literacy level, which is determined through a diagnostic that can be taken on our website, where they are asked to choose the synonym of a word given four choices. While a user reads a web page, they can click on the highlighted words to view the definition and synonyms, and are given the option of bookmarking it to a "stack" which can be recalled by clicking on the tenjin Chrome extension icon. At any point a user can retake the vocab quiz on our website to level up to the next difficulty level. Overall, the extension has many smaller functionalities to make it a little easier for student to learn and retain the vocabulary.

How I built it

The Chrome extension was built with JavaScript (and the jQuery library), HTML, CSS, and used the Webster's Dictionary Thesaurus and Dictionary API's to provide the definitions and synonyms. The website was built with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

Challenges I ran into

Originally, we wanted to use external API's to rank the difficulty of the words, and spent about half of our time trying to implement it. Alas, we were unable to use the API's functionality simply because none of us own credit cards. We also ran into many problems with the Dictionary and Thesaurus APIs, because the formatting of the data was inconsistent, and the docs proved to be of little help. Despite these challenges, we persevered and finished as much as we could!

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

We as a team are very proud of how much we learned from this experience. Through this project, we got more hands on experience with web development, database construction, and cloud services. We also were able to work with local API's which was new to all of us.

What I learned

Through this experience, our team learned more about web development and how to work with backed databases. We also got the opportunity to explore Google's Cloud Platform, where we have each bookmarked different functions we plan to explore at later dates.

What's next for Tenjin

We hope to increase the amount of functions available and its accessibility by adding an audio function and a translation function, for those who are visually impaired or learning English as a second language, respectively.

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