For Garrett Johnson, the co-founder of SendHub.com in Silicon Valley, running hackathons for education is personal. He grew up in a low-income area of Tampa, and credits the opportunities he had to get a higher education (Florida State and Oxford) for his success. Now his company Lincoln Labs puts together free hackathons around the nation, such as in San Francisco, Seattle and Chicago, to bring together the best minds to tackle education reform.
There, South Florida’s engineering and startup community will combine forces with students, teachers and education advocates to build applications that improve Florida’s education system. Any idea related to secondary or higher education -- both domestic and international -- is welcomed, says Johnson. These could be apps that could help teachers teach better, teach students to study more productively, make schools safer or better connect the stakeholders in the educatonal system, for instance.
“Florida is ground zero for education reform. The technology community in Florida and around the country can help to accelerate and amplify the reach of these reforms. We are hosting Liberty Hackathon: Reforming Education in Miami in order to promote disruptive innovation at the important intersection of education and technology,” says Johnson, noting that while college tuition rates have soared, the U.S. still ranks low globally for high school math/science skills.
Hackathons are technology competitions where engineers and non-technical participants propose ideas, form teams, build functional applications and design distribution models within a fixed time period. Immediately following the end of the working phase of the competition, a panel of judges listens to short pitches delivered by each team and determine winners.
For the 24-hour hackathon Oct. 11 and 12 at Venture Hive, judges will include: Peter Kellner of Richmond Global, Xavier Gonzalez of the Technology Foundation of the Americas, Madeline Pumariega, CEO of Take Stock in Children, and Miguel Alonso Jr. of Miami Dade College’s School of Engineering. There will be $5,000 in prizes for the winners.
Can’t go Oct. 11-12? Don’t worry, there is also a two-day virtual hackathon Oct. 7-9 open to anyone in the U.S. Teams will submit a video of their hack for judging, and there will be $5,000 in prizes given for that contest as well. Sign up for the virtual hackathon here: http://lincolnlabs.com/hackathons/virtual.html
To sign up for the live hackathon at Venture Hive, go here: http://lincolnlabs.com/hackathons/miami.html
What: Liberty Hackathon: Reforming Education
When: October 11 & 12
Where: Venture Hive, 1010 NE 2nd Ave., Miami
Prizes: $5,000 for Miami hackathon and $5,000 for virtual hackathon