What is a hackathon you ask?
Hackathons have taken the world by storm over the last couple of years as a way to spark innovation and develop creative technology solutions for real world problems.
Initially however these hackathon events weren’t focused on a specific sector or issue – rather they were as Google defines, simply a large number of people engaging in collaborative computer programming, seeing what they could build across a single weekend.
Often they were run by technology companies, either start ups on a burning deadline, or internally as a tool for recruitment by companies like Facebook (see the clip from the Social Network movie here).
The model of a hackathon has changed considerably however from this early focus as the potential of hackathons for iginiting collaboration, innovation and a community (as well encouraging high levels of productivity in a short period of time) has been realized and recognized over the last 15 or so years.
Now globally, the model of what a hackathon is has shifted taking it’s core of bringing together a large group to collaborate across a weekend and applying it a range of different contexts, sectors, industries and challenges.
Global examples of hackathons applied to specific industries include:
Examples in Australia alone include:
A New Definition of a Hackathon
As a result, we propose that there is a new definition of what a hackathon actually is.
A hackathon is:
“an event, typically lasting several days in which a large number of people meet to engage in collaborative problem solving to develop solutions and prototypes that solve real world challenges”
Applying the Hackathon Model to Education
The model of hackathons focused on the education sector isn’t new globally. It’s been applied in the UK, US and Canada to great success including:
- Education Hackathon in Ontario, Canada
- HackivatED in San Francisco, US
- RemixED in California, US
- Start Up Weekend Education, New York City
- Start Up Weekend Education, London
Why Education Hackathons?
The idea behind the application of the hackathon model to education is that it is designed to faciliate greater cross sector collaboration between business, technology and education sectors to spark innovation in the education.
By drawing on the combined experience, knowledge and insight of the technology and business communities and partnering with teachers and students, there is a powerful opportunity to develop creative solutions that address real challenges in schools and classrooms – co-created by the key stakeholders (students and teachers) within education.
We’re launching Australia’s first education-focused hackathon in Melbourne
Despite the success globally of education focused hackathons in sparking innovation, cross sector collaboration, and a broader innovative community focused on improving education, the model has not been applied in Australia.
Beginning on Friday 20 June, EduHack, Australia’s first education hackathon will bring together students, teachers, developers, designers and entrepreneurs across a weekend in Melbourne to share ideas and team up to rapidly co-create innovative solutions that tackle real education challenges in Australia.
At the end of the hackathon, teams of participants will pitch their solutions for change in education to a panel of students, teachers, technologists and entrepreneurs, with the winning team gaining support to make their idea happen.
EduHack is about empowering students & teachers to develop solutions to challenges they face daily.
Our fundamental design philosophy at myEd is to co-create with teachers & students technology solutions to real world challenges they experience in the classroom – as after all, teachers and students (and not us) are the experts!
Too often, both teachers and students, the key stakeholders in education are left out of the discussion.
At a policy level, and at a private industry level. Government and companies make decisions and build products too often without making teachers and students a central part of the process.
We want to see this change.
We want to see more teachers and students working in collaboration with industry and government to co-creating solutions to improve their experience of education.
And this is something that the Centre of New Public Education believes in as well.
“Too often education is something that is done to students, not with them. Students spend 195 days a year in the classroom – they know what matters in education. They are an untapped resource for helping to improve teaching and learning outcomes in Australia.”
- Ricky Campbell-Allen, Director of the Centre of New Public Education
That’s why EduHack is all about empowering students & teachers to play the central role in developing solutions to improve the experience of education in Australia.
EduHack will be on the weekend of June 20th – 22nd in Melbourne.
For more information and to get involved visit the EduHack webiste here.