Coders, non-coders, new and experienced educators from around the world competed in the Digital Education Hackathon Global Award in November 2021. Hackathons were organised in 54 cities in 32 countries around the world in online, offline and blended formats.
After a public vote on 30 March 2022, three winning teams were announced by European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Mariya Gabriel.
The awarding ceremony
11Chips from Italy, GoGreen from Israel, and BeeSmart from Slovenia were each awarded €5,000 to make their ideas a reality. They then pitched their digital education solutions to Themis Christophidou, Director-General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture at the European Commission.
Commissioner Mariya Gabriel welcomed the three teams, stressing the Digital Education Hackathon as an initiative that is all about ‘innovativeness, creativity and passion’.
The scope of the winning teams was varied, highlighting the diversity of the issues faced in the digital world, but also the potential for innovative solutions.
Harnessing the promise of creative minds like those who took part in the Digital Education Hackathon will be of critical importance going forward as Gianpiero Lotito, founder and CEO of Facilitylive, emphasised in his keynote speech.
- 11Chips’ entry, ‘Hachi’, gained 465 votes. Hachi is an online visualising and augmented reality tool that enhances creative and critical thinking, aiming to bring abstract concepts to life and deepen our understanding of them. It has applications both in the classroom and work environment. As the team explained, it’s about putting ‘your hands on your ideas’. It seeks to promote active, cooperative and explorative learning with the ultimate ambition of promoting ‘a science museum didactic activity for elementary school children’.
- GoGreen’s solution of the same name received 395 votes. Given the impetus brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic for digital, distance and blended learning, its aim to introduce a ‘paperless school’ are highly pertinent. Presenting their tool at the award ceremony, team member Smadar Alon noted that the average school in their city in Israel uses 10 kilograms of paper every week. With rainforests having shrunk from 15% to just 3% of the Earth’s surface today and the crucial role that forests play in neutralising carbon dioxide, solutions such as this could not be more timely.
- In keeping with DigiEduHack’s 2021 annual theme of sustainability, the BeeSmart solution, developed by the Slovenian team of the same name also opted for an environmental angle. BeeSmart aims to tackle the issues of an ageing beekeeping community. The average age of a beekeeper in Europe is now 60. They seek to do so by making the trade and learning about it more accessible and attractive to younger people with a more digital focus. It will help with both the day-to-day activities of beekeepers, as well as their longer-term needs. At the same time, it contribute to protecting the bee populations that play a crucial role in the health of our environment and natural ecosystems.
The future of the Digital Education Hackathon
During the awarding ceremony, European Commissioner Mariya Gabriel and Director-General Themis Christophidou shared the Commission’s plans to upscale and expand the Digital Education Hackathon
‘We need more ambition, more inclusion, more coherence and that means more local events, more participants, more learning opportunities’.
The initiative will return in an improved ‘2.0’ version in 2023.
In this context, as well as that of the objectives of the 2021-2027 Digital Education Action Plan, this summer an open call for tenders will be published to identify the organisations that will work in close cooperation with the Commission to implement the next three editions of the Hackathon.
Read the recently published prior information notice for more information on the future of the Hackathon.
The Digital Education Hackathon is an initiative of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) and part of the Commission’s Digital Education Action Plan.
Between 2019 and 2021, the initiative was led by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology’s (EIT) Climate-KIC (Knowledge and Innovation Community) and coordinated by Aalto University in Finland.