- John L Diaz
- David Caspar
- Eyrún Halla Haraldsdóttir
- Lucho García
- Andrea Ferrazzo
- Renato Kälin
- Thomas Ziegler
- Roman Bättig
In order to prevent and diminish the spread of the current pandemic, governments and officials have implemented various measures to prevent the assembly of larger groups of people, one of them being locking down schools. As education is one of the fundamentals of society, it is of great importance that it can be continued in a remote manner. With that, new challenges emanate, how can teaching still continue in a reasonable way, especially for younger children? Luckily with all the technology that we have access to these days, remote communication is very accessible. Nevertheless, teachers and students/parents alike struggle with adapting to the new format and the existing tools and platform for remote teaching are not able to meet some of the needs in a practical manner. First of all, communication out of one single platform is not feasible, calls, notes and tasks are disconnected. Secondly, many platforms are over-complicated, there are different tools for the same problem with the same stakeholder, which causes confusion and important notifications/ information get lost or intercommunicated. Thirdly, giving out/ receiving homework gets over-complicated, having to download the document - print it out- scan it in– upload it again, causing substantially more time for the task and is unfeasible for students that don’t have access to all the resources needed. Finally, the student/ teacher interaction during live classes is challenging, as the normal raise hand and engaging in an educative and creative discussions is difficult over live video feeds, students might be discouraged and unmotivated to participate and even in these sessions the parent’s involvement might be excessive, causing the child to rely too much on them and not entering the discussion on the basis of its own integrity.
Noticeable, there is a dire need for a more practical solution, a one simple and user-friendly educational platform for communication with peers, students, and parents. Students should be able to resolve a problem, upload their work and teacher should be able to correct mistake directly on this upload
What it does
The platform facilitates communication and interaction between teacher and students/parents with an intuitive and simple design. Problems with having a many communication channels is resolved by having an all in one platform were all needed interaction is put into one place and designed to their needs. Homework and other documents are all kept in one place where you can upload/download all necessary material in one place, without having to use any other channels. Teacher/ student interaction during class is facilitated with live chats during session, mute/ unmute functions and interactive and creative ways for the teachers to design their remote class.
How we built it
After brainstorming and taking into consideration use-cases from first hand sources the initial idea was laid out for the functionality of the app. We created wireframes using Balsamiq to have an idea how it would look like. For front-end landing page using VSCode with Gatsby and React. Backend development hasn't initiated yet but the architecture has been established.
Challenges we ran into
The main idea was to create a platform that provides a wide range of tools for learning and teaching remotely. To be independent from big corporations like Skype and Zoom, we started to think about how to build a video chat tool from scratch. The goal was probably too ambitious and some people got discouraged. Challenge here is to be ambitious, but realistic with the time and energy available. Some people helped us at the beginning of the Hackathon by providing important support, but then left the group. We had to find substitutes quickly. Another challenge was to coordinate different perspectives and be able to create concrete solutions after short brainstorming sessions on Zoom. Going back and forth from Slack, Zoom and Google Drive force us to adapt to new work environments rapidly.
Accomplishments that we are proud of
Establishing a team over an online platform in a relatively short time with a common goal on working on a solution of this problem and being able to keep up communication in a remote manner. Establishing a clear idea as a solution of the problem with focus on the end users. Participating in creating a solution that might be beneficial to the community.
What we learned
What we learned is that we don't need to provide the perfect solution during 48 hours, but work on a broad solution that could be viable and ready to be developed afterwords as much as possible. We learned how to work smart and effectively.We learned that it is important to communicate and ask for help. Barbara Schnyder, our mentor, helped us see the big picture: "What are the needs of our customers? Once you find the needs you build the solutions around them.
What's next for One platform for communication for teachers
We have developed a strong concept supported by application architecture and wireframes. There is potential for a future application. Data security and legal conditions have to be analyzed further. Develop integrated video chat and file storage independent from the APIs of big corporations. Develop further the front-end in order to provide the best user experience tailored for the needs of children (fun and active learning) and teachers (intuitive and quick to use). Finally, the project has to be presented to the Swiss Government and Cantons in order to receive the necessary funds to continue to develop the project. Crowdfunding could also be a viable solution.
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