HGSE Hackathon Demo Day and EdTech Showcase

This was my first Hackathon experience ever, and I have to say it was really fun. Throughout the entire event I found myself riding this high energy wave. After it was over, though, I found myself crashing and feeling the exhaustion. I came home yesterday and collapsed on my bed for hours. This wasn’t even an all night Hackathon event – from what I heard, most run for 24/7 and people are up all night hacking and coding away at their projects. I can’t even imagine what those must be like.

For me, the event was like all the concepts from the courses I’m taking were thrown into a weekend. There was design thinking and the iterative process, which is something I’m learning about in T522, Dockterman’s class. There were elements of constructionism, which is what I’m learning about in T550. There was some data visualization, which is what I’m learning about in T510s. There was also the overall challenge – how do you create something that has a massive reach – which is something I’m learning about in T509 Massive. It was pretty neat, though, being able to apply what I’m learning in my classes to our product at that Hackathon.

Yesterday all 11 teams demo-ed their pitches/products in front of the judges. I thought it was so neat how different everyone’s idea was, even though we were all working around the same challenges.

The pitches themselves can be kind of intimidating. We all had 5 minutes to relay our idea/product and the work we did. Trying to synthesize everything you’ve created into 5 minutes is incredibly challenging, but it really forces you to think about the essence of your idea. We had spent a large chunk of Saturday practicing our pitch over and over again, and getting feedback from all the mentors.

My team actually ended up winning the Impact badge award, which was super exciting and awesome. Even though our product didn’t exist, the fact that the judges thought our idea had potential for a big impact was really humbling.

The badges are being delivered through Credly, which is a digital badge achievement recognition platform. From my understanding, different organizations can give credit for participation in events via digital badges and credentials. I had always thought of badges as just images, but apparently these badges are loaded with data about the details of the event as well as whatever documents that verify your participation in said events. So, if you presented at some conference, you could get a badge for that and it would link to your presentation. Then you can share these badges on various social networks, including your LinkedIn profile, and people can see what you’ve done. I think it’s cool that Credly is trying to provide a platform to spread recognition of the various ways people participate in learning and skill-building.

I remember reading something in our readings this week about one of the recommendations for MIT, and one was to look into badges and other forms of recognition. I think that would be an added bonus for completing MOOCs – having a badge that you could put on your LinkedIn profile. At least I know I would like that!

Speaking of LinkedIn, here’s my profile.

Also, today was the Educational Technology showcase. There were various vendors set up on the third floor of Gutman talking about their products and the work they’re doing. Google was there and they had Google Glasses that you could try on, which was pretty cool. There was a reception at the end where they showcased the Hackathon event via pictures and a video, which was awesome, too. I hope they post that later!

I’d really like to participate in more of these types of events. There’s actually a few coming up but due to prior commitments I won’t be able to attend.

For anyone who is interested, though, this weekend there’s the StartUp Scramble at the Harvard iLab. HIVE (Harvard GSE Innovation and Ventures in Education), formerly Bridge, is also going to have HIVE nights every Thursday night. Each night will center around an education entrepreneurship area. It’s an open space for people to work and get feedback on their ideas and connect with others. These nights are going to be held at the new LaunchPad (formerly the media lab in Gutman), which is a really neat space to work in.

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2 thoughts on “HGSE Hackathon Demo Day and EdTech Showcase

  1. It was wonderful getting to hear about the hackathon. I am sad that I missed out on such a wonderful experience. It would be nice to hear more about your team’s project!

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