My first Hackathon experience

My first Hackathon experience

My first online hackthon – design a new tool for digital learning experience to empower climate change agents to accelerate systematic change!

Do you know what a hackathon is? You probably do… But I didn´t, until the day I participated in one!

hackathon is a design sprint-like event in which computer programmers and others involved in software development, collaborate intensively for 24 – 72 hours on software projects. The term was adapted and it is now used to solve all kind of problems, often related to product development.

What is DigiEduHack?

DigiEduHack is a 24-hour Digital Education Hackathon. According to the information published on their website, it was organised as part of the Digital Education Action Plan of the European Commission and the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT). The initiative, led by EIT Climate KIC and coordinated by Aalto University, focused on the future of education in a digital age and it brought together teams of educational stakeholders and innovators in a series of events running simultaneously in Europe and beyond.

How does it work?

In this Hackton, previously created teams worked together (face-to-face or online) for 24 hours to come up with a solution to a specific challenge. Specifically, we were supposed to look to the future for better learning experiences that will empower climate change agents (e.g. entrepreneurs, innovators, NGOs, cities, policy makers, green financiers) and deliver cutting edge solutions taking into consideration:

  • Innovation: In line with the KIC brand promise, learning experiences of tomorrow should include new, innovative, cutting edge learning strategies, pedagogies and digital (e.g. online/mobile) technologies.
  • Audience/skills needed: Systemic change is needed to support a sustainable future and this means we need to help shape new mindsets and behaviors to build capacity and close skills-gaps – finding new ways to engage and empower climate change agents!
  • Fostering life-long learning: to create a vision for digital learning that encompasses personalized journeys, active, peer-to-peer and social learning strategies… to help people unlearn and learn together as goals, technology and skills-gaps change.

So, once we got the challenge and the background information, we start to work on it. I had the opportunity to work in a multidisciplinary team: a psychologist (myself 🙂 ), an expert in online learning, a sustainable energy engineer and two environmental engineers (team description). As we were based in 3 different countries we used online collaborative platform and we skyped through the entire day. We brainstormed, discuss, invent, reinvent and eventually came up with a solution. A good one, according to the organizers, who decided that our team has delivered the best product proposal (including a prototype, a pitch and a presentation).

What next?

Exciting things are coming up! We will have a close follow up with the Climate KIC experts, we will participate in co-creation workshop and Pioneers into Practice (Climate KIC learning portal) workshop. And with their help, we will implement and develop the product which made us the winner of my first online hackthone!

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