#YouthvsCOVID Hackathon: Thinking like an Entrepreneur

by Max Krefting, Winner of #YouthvsCOVID hackathon.

Hi, I’m Max. I recently took part in the TeensInAI COVID-19 Global Hackathon and had an amazing time! The aim of the hackathon was to develop AI solutions to the most pressing healthcare and societal challenges arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Our team was awarded first place for our solution, All-In.

The Hackathon Journey:

As a team, we knew that COVID-19 and online learning had a huge impact on our education. At first, we wanted to create a solution to encourage student concentration during live online lessons. We aimed to detect the students’ ‘focus’ by tracking their eye movement. This data would be fed live to the teacher who could act accordingly.

The problems started when one of our team posted on Twitter about our idea asking for advice and feedback from the teacher community. We were quickly bombarded with many negative comments.

We were shocked.

Understanding that a pivot was necessary, we went back to the drawing board.

We sent out a survey to teachers, students and parents in order to hear from them what they perceived as the main problem in online education. From the responses, a clear theme emerged: internet connection issues during live online lessons. We understood that many students like us are affected by unstable Wi-Fi, leading us to miss out on vital parts of the lesson. This came out to be a major factor of focus, motivation and learning. We wanted to change this.

With ethical considerations in mind, we decided to create All-In. All-In is a stand-alone app for teachers and students that runs alongside video streaming platforms. Teachers can create a private virtual room which students can join through a unique username and passcode. Next, All-In starts with the speaker. Their speech is translated to text on edge, which is sent and displayed to all users through the All-In app. Since the audio transcript text stream is far smaller in size, it can be sent across the internet in circumstances when video and audio might not — when Wi-Fi is low. When a student is facing an unstable internet connection they can look over to All-In and see exactly what their teacher and peers are saying through a live transcript.

In this way, all students, whatever technical infrastructure they have access to, can have access to undisturbed online education, either through live video and audio, or just the transcript when they have temporary low Wi-Fi. Overall, All-In prevents students with a lack of high-quality Wi-Fi from being disadvantaged. We see All-In’s biggest potential in remote areas, where Wi-Fi quality may be lower and with huge bandwidth fluctuations.

Check out our pitch:

Our plan now, with the help of mentors and professional web developers, is to develop our prototype into a fully functioning web and mobile app. We will continuously test All-In with teachers to make sure that we are creating a solution that fits their needs.

All-In: Making Undisturbed Online Education Accessible for Everyone!

In this hackathon, I learnt how to work in a team, how to communicate effectively, how to delegate tasks, and how to meet strict deadlines. TeensInAI hackathons are more than just learning about technology; the hackathon pushes you to act as an entrepreneur, think like a business person, pitch your idea confidently and work well in a team.

Above all, the most important skill that I learnt and one which I tell everyone is to just go for it. My team and I learnt the most by giving it a go and seeing what happened. It was this process of trial and error that allowed us to turn our goal into our product, All-In.

I would like to thank TeensInAI for organising this online hackathon so well. It has been the highlight of my lockdown! I am looking forward to continuing development guided by the mentors at Avanade.

Powering the Next Generation of Thought Leaders, Innovators and Technologists in #AI @teensinai #TeensInAI #GirlsinAI #MCStartup2016 Founder @elenasinel