The pandemic caused many unexpected problems and we were forced to find their solutions really fast. The education system also was really affected by all the changes that came because of COVID-19. It is still really hard for students to get used to online education and that’s a reason for many difficulties they are forced to face.

Seth Raphae was a student in middle school when the pandemic hit. That’s why he and his friends as well as all the students around the world were forced to use different kinds of applications such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom, etc. One of the problems Seth faced was being frequently late to his Zoom classes. Not only that but, during the period of adjustment, teachers stored links to their classes. For Seth, it was a mess full of Google docs and spreadsheets. Seth, now 14, says:

“All my teachers were pretty understanding. It was a hectic system, and it was really hard to find Zoom links.”

The blooming coder, Seth found a tech-driven solution to his problem. His idea has evolved into LinkJoin which is a web app that stores and automatically opens Zoom links. That the user will “never be late again” to a virtual meeting. Now Seth aims to turn that concept into an honest business. Seth, a high school freshman based in Walnut Creek, Calif, commented:

“I could not find anything else that exists like this to automatically join meetings at the right times. Reminders are just really easy to ignore. I’ll get a notification maybe five minutes before my meeting, and it’ll just sit there and not do anything. LinkJoin interrupts whatever you’re doing and says, ‘Join this meeting. In fact, it’s already opening, so better get on it.’”

When it comes to the Code…

Being at home during the pandemic, Seth was given time to explore his interest in coding. That’s how he wrote the original code for LinkJoin in Python and shared it with his friends, each one of them running the program locally on their computers. Seth recalls, adding that he asked his mom to sign him up for a proper Python class in the summer of 2020:

“I thought, why not use this prior programming knowledge that I’ve never used?  I finished it super fast and really took a liking to it. In a way, the pandemic really fostered my coding skills, and I’m glad to have the time to dedicate to it that summer and the months leading up to it.”

Seth created the first iteration of LinkJoin in January 2021 and built the website himself, incorporating elements written in JavaScript, HTML and CSS. A friend offered to design the graphics, and he made the web app publicly available around March. He still managed to garner about 650 sign-ups before the school year ended.

Since then, Seth has added even more changes. Users now can disable links from opening automatically, they can sort them and even add notes to meetings if they would like to do it. Seth is planning to include adding premium features like text or email reminders, for a monthly fee and licensing the service to schools.

While schools are reopening for in-person classes, Seth still sees a use for his app一even beyond students. In his opinion, even after COVID-19 goes away there will still be a lot of virtual schooling so that’s why he is hoping his school would agree to adopt LinkJoin. Seth hopes that he could help people be more productive and focused on their work.

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