Education hackathon is looking for solutions to distance learning

In November, Startup Estonia and the Education and Youth Authority will be hosting the Education Upgrade Hack 2020 to find innovative and sustainable ideas to improve education. 

This year’s corona spring put teachers, students, parents, school leadership and education professionals in never-before-seen circumstances. A new normal had to be adjusted to, and alternatives found for learning and teaching. “All parties gathered a great deal of experience during this period. There was a great deal of expectation towards the private sector. The need for solutions supporting distance learning grew exponentially and showed us the bottlenecks that enterprises developing education technology can help us solve. Be it solutions facilitating student-teacher collaboration or supporting learners’ self-management skills,” Inga Kõue, EdTech sector project lead at Startup Estonia explains.

At the moment, registration for the event and idea submissions are ongoing. Everyone that works in education or cares about the field and wants to participate in furthering education with their knowledge and skills is welcome to participate. “We see people interested in startups, teachers and education specialists as participants. Also, we welcome students, designers and developers. Every team that tackles a specific problem needs a diverse set of skills and knowledge. Participants’ earlier experience with hackathons is not necessary for the slightest,” says Kõue. 

Anyone can submit ideas to be developed into a prototype product or service during the hackathon. There are some predefined categories, for which new ideas are especially welcome: integrated and needs-based learning, connected e-solutions and digital security, mental health and life skills; vocational and extracurricular education, lifelong learning. “For example, we need solutions that would help tie formal education, extracurricular education and activities into a coherent whole in the eyes of students,” Aivar Hiio, project manager at the Education and Youth Authority highlights one specific area of need. “We are also looking for a fin-tech solution, that would allow education institutions to spend money on digital tools. At the moment, cumbersome remuneration systems are used for such expenditures.” 

Experienced mentors from different fields support participating teams in their development process. The group of mentors include education scientists, entrepreneurs, business leaders, service designers and developers. For the teams behind the prototypes for the best ideas, there are multiple prizes and the opportunity to participate in a 4-month co-creation process with the Education and Youth Authority where teachers, students and education scientists participate in the further development of the idea. The starting entrepreneur can bring their product to market faster in co-creation with the end-users.

Registration for the event is open here: https://eventornado.com/event/education-upgrade-hack-2020


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