Inspiration

We were inspired by brainstorming ways in which we could bring all group members' interests together. This included bringing together education, data visualization/analysis, and positive social impact onto one platform.

What it does

The web-based application attempts to emulate a classroom environment set up to improve children's communication skills through dynamic learning. This includes letting the child (student) actively interact with our vocabulary lists, keeping track of their progress, and using that feedback to adjust the difficulty of each interaction so that the child's (student's) learning progresses more smoothly and they remain motivated.

How I built it

We built the product by breaking it down to three main sub-products and then integrating them together.

  • Creating a database by parsing thousands of text documents at various grade levels, formatting them to ensure quality of data, and then applying statistical models on the length and frequency of a word to determine overall difficulty of word.
  • Creating an online user-based platform that would easily be accessibly by everyone. This will be used to interact with users, track their progress, and then adjust the difficulty of interaction based on the feedback received from the user, and repeatedly applying this process.
  • Creating a way to ensure users actively interact with the product. We chose to use speech recognition software and have users verbally interact with the vocabulary as this maintains a sense of physical interaction which can be hard to produce through an online environment. It is our hope, that this ensure a more active form of learning.
    Once, we finished creating the three sub-products, the last task was to put it all together. This included importing the database to our web app, and then using speech recognition method of testing the user.

Challenges I ran into

A few of the problems we ran into included (BUT ARE DEF. NOT LIMITED TO)

  • Creating a responsive website to ensure the greatest flexibility in access (mobile, web, etc)
  • Quality assurance and ensuring validity of statistical model
  • Integrating each component together as we all used varying technologies and languages to complete subtasks
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Lack of caffeine

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

Given the time constraint and lack of caffeine, we are all immensely proud that we were able to work well both individually AND as a team. The greatest problems that await us in the future are the ones which require immense cooperation as a team. As such, we are all super proud to have the opportunity to help one another throughout the entire event.

Additionally, we are all proud of the potential impact our project could have on literacy rates, not just in our own community, but on a global scale where sometimes there is more technology than there are teachers/educators.

What I learned

We learned that the process of making our project come to life takes a large organizational effort, and a lot of cooperation between team members. We also greatly improved on using different languages/technologies and have a better sense of how to apply technologies such as speech recognition. We have also gained some insight into the future of education and its current trajectory.

What's next for Vernacular

The next steps include:

  • Better integration of our sub-products
  • Offering French as a new language
  • Experimenting with several different statistical models to optimize learning rates

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