According to the project manager of the event, Janika Leoste, who is also the Senior Researcher in Educational Robotics at Tallinn University and the Collaboration Manager of the STEAM4EDU cluster, this year's uniqueness lies in the fact that the event will take place within the physical walls of Tallinn University after several years of being held in a virtual space. Additionally, participants can join online.
"As we expect international teams to participate in the hackathon, we have created separate challenges for remote participants. Students, teachers, parents, as well as education technology companies, education policymakers, and anyone interested in contributing to the future of education are welcome to solve six diverse and engaging challenges. This year's Estonian digital education hackathon is part of the larger Europe-wide DigiEduHack hackathon, providing an opportunity for Estonian hackathon ideas to compete on the international stage," Janika Leoste introduced the event more broadly.
Inga Kõue, the Project Manager of Knowledge-Intensive Startups at the Joint organisation of KredEx and Enterprise Estonia (EAS), highlights the importance of constantly generating new and fresh ideas in education and involving all stakeholders. "To promote educational innovation, it is necessary to continually bring forth new ideas, help them evolve into educational technology products supporting learning and teaching, and make education accessible to every learner — both large and small. When developing new educational products, it is crucial to involve all stakeholders from the outset. Therefore, the hackathon provides an excellent opportunity to bring together technology experts, education researchers, and end-users," said Kõue, emphasizing the importance of fostering entrepreneurship. "Often, in the field of education, when creating new services, the owners and users are forgotten, and the sustainable development of these ideas is not ensured. Therefore, it is essential to empower participants with business knowledge and guide the growth of new ideas into EdTech startups," Kõue added.
The goal of the hackathon is to collaboratively develop and test innovative ideas within 48 hours that improve the accessibility of education or provide new solutions to existing problems in our education system. Solutions will be sought for challenges related to education's contribution to the green shift through digital learning, STEAM education, personalized learning, support for self-directed learning, transition to Estonian-language instruction, support for teacher succession, quality school management, and adult education.
A total of 120 participants are expected. On the first day of the event, ideas will be presented collectively, teams will be formed, and work will begin to turn the idea into a prototype. Throughout the process, teams will be supported by mentors, and participants can gain inspiration from various workshops and inspirational talks.
The event will be conducted in English, but the majority of mentors and experts will also guide teams in Estonian. The deadline for submitting teams and ideas is November 8, 2023.
The hackathon is organized by Tallinn University's School of Educational Sciences in collaboration with EdTech Estonia and Startup Estonia. The best solutions will be recognized with awards from various partners. Additional information and registration can be found on the hackathon's website.
The hackathon is funded within the framework of the Startup Estonia program (EU50651) from the European Regional Development Fund. The implementation of the Startup Estonia program is carried out by the joint institution of EAS and KredEx.