Impact Hackathon Finds Solutions for Education

Impact Hackathon 2021 Finds Solutions for Education

The pandemic has meant that the Impact Hackathon 2021 is all online. But it also meant that there is an even greater need for new ideas and innovation. Powered by Smart Communications and PLDT, the Impact Hackathon is the longest- and widest-running 5G hackathon in the Philippines, running until December 2021. Last May 27 to 29, teams from around the country joined the first vertical. Over 48-hours they were tasked to hack one sector most affected by the pandemic: education.

 

“Students around the country have lost their access to education due to the pandemic. The Covid-19 pandemic has only highlighted the gaps in our education system,” said Impact Hub Manila founder and CEO Ces Rondario in her opening remarks. “Innovative solutions can be the key to achieving an efficient and effective learning system so that students can receive quality education no matter where they are.”

 

“With the help of partner organizations like Smart-PLDT,” she added, “we’re guaranteed results in achieving our goal through technological transformation.”

 

To inspire them, participants first heard from resource speakers and changemakers. They then created innovative solutions to the problems that plague the education sector. After the non-stop innovation sprint, teams presented to an esteemed jury. Top teams won over Php 130,000 worth of prizes.

 

Opening ceremony

 

Before the official start of the hackathon, participants had the honor of hearing from key innovators in education. Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) Director Emmy Lou Versoza-Delfin and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Deputy-Director Aniceto John Bertiz III gave speeches that enlightened listeners on the state of the education sector. They also spoke of education initiatives that could inspire Hackathon participants.

 

” [At DICT] we want to establish networks of innovators across the country and foster a culture of innovation, entrepreneurship in ICT,” Versoza-Delfin explained. ” [As well as] mentorship and collaboration, which will eventually provide solutions to social challenges.”

 

Stephen Uy, a senior systems architect of T-Mobile, discussed the power of 5G. Speaking from experience, he added, “We’re all innovators but in order to be a true innovator you have to listen first. And when you listen, you solve problems, you solve pain points.”

 

At 12:00 p.m., the hackathon began. Teams started brainstorming, meeting with their Hackathon mentors, and innovating for a solution.

 

Pitching and awarding

 

Exactly 48 hours after the official start, Impact Hub Manila called a code freeze. All teams had to halt their work, ensuring they submitted their final code before time was up.

 

The initial jury then looked over the work and submitted their scoring. In the jury were Anton Orpilla of IBM, technopreneur Fheter John Calanday, developer Jeffrey Nerona, senior technology executive Ryan Canlas of Accenture, executive director Rhea Luz-Valbuena of Asia Pacific College, director Orland Tubola of Polytechnic University of the Philippines, and Prof. Arne Barcelo of University of Sto. Tomas.

 

Participants got to hear from inspiring speakers who reinvigorated their desire to affect change in education. This included Assistant Vice President and Head of Innovations at PLDT Andy Santos, as well as Prof. Arne Barcelo and former Sen. Bam Aquino.

 

A known supporter of equal access to education and start-up development, former Sen. Aquino reminded us of the power and spirit of bayanihan.

 

“Now is the time for solutions,” said Aquino. “If this core Filipino value [bayanihan] of coming together to look for a solution to help our fellow Filipino is there, I hope we can bring it out now. In a way where we are looking for solutions that work, looking for innovations that matter, looking for ways to help each other that have an impact.”

 

With his message and call for impactful change still ringing in the participants’ ears, it was time for the pitch.

 

The final jury comprised the previously introduced Ces Rondario and Andy Santos. Joining them were Christina Stieber, head of Advantage Austria; Joseph de Leon, founding member of Manila Angel Investors Network; Ben Sarmiento, head of engineering at Nimbly Technologies; and serial entrepreneur Jayjay Viray.

 

Each team had 10 minutes to present to the final jury. Afterwards, there were 5 minutes for questions. The final jury’s marks were computed with the initial jury to come up with the official results.

 

Given the 48-hour timeframe, each of the final pitches was remarkable. All have the potential to create positive change in the education sector. But the Impact Hackathon 2021 could only announce three winners.

 

Team Innovatorz: Eddy.AI

 

The Innovatorz team leveraged facial recognition technology in creating a platform that would allow teachers to assess student engagement. Ultimately, the app would provide the real-time analytics educators need to adjust their teaching methods and delivery to best reach their students. This would ensure distance learning does not become too distant. With actual people behind the screens, it is important to take into consideration the emotional well-being of each student.

 

“The Impact Hackathon was a roller coaster of energy, especially knowing that our time was limited,” said the Innovatorz team. “We’ve learned that a big factor to consider is how a team works together in order to calibrate the execution of the project in the span of 48 hours.”

 

Team Edify Dekan Tech (Ed Tech): Eassay

 

Supporting the education sector also means supporting our educators. Sympathizing with overworked teachers, team Ed Tech designed a platform for essay assessment automatization. Within 48-hours, they developed two principal features: context checking and context-grammar checking. But the possibilities are endless.

 

“If I could describe my experience in one word it would be intense,” said Ernestine Villafuerte of the Ed Tech team. “The whole experience for me was stressful, but along the way, I actually learned some valuable lessons. I learned how fast the world is, continuously innovating and moving, and that there is no time for me to be complacent. I realized that taking risks and actions are what will take me to a new level.”

 

Team Iskolar Tech: Athena

 

Pitching last, but certainly not least, were the eventual grand winners: team Iskolar Tech. It seems apt that the grand winner for the education vertical went to a group of students. High schoolers from the Philippine Science (Pisay) system, Iskolar Tech sought to address low student engagement. Introducing Athena: a smart learning platform that enables intuitive, personalized, and informed learning. Using AI, algorithms that curated learning materials for users, and an intuitive design, Iskolar Tech blew the jury away.

 

Along with the winners, Impact Hub Manila offered two other teams an incubation: Team PhinmaUpangCore with Thrive, a chatbot powered by AI that assists students in deciding what course to take, and Team Palaweño with WeCare, a social network platform to address students’ mental and emotional health problems.

 

This is only the beginning as the Hackathon winners begin their incubation. With the guidance of Impact Hub Manila, these budding entrepreneurs are set to upend the education sector for the better.

 

The Impact Hackathon is part of Impact 2050, a flagship program of Impact Hub Manila to create large-scale economic progress through the activation of groundbreaking events and curated support for innovators. This multi-year program will equip, enable, and empower innovative individuals who want to affect change through technology.

Interested in participating in the next Impact Hackathon? Be part of Impact Hackathon for Climate Change. For updates, follow the Facebook Page: facebook.com/impact2050. Learn more about the program at www.impact2050.com.

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Impact Hub Manila logo

With the vision of providing a platform that will allow innovation to solve social challenges, Impact Hub Manila launched an annual code fest called Impact Hackathon in October 2019.

In the past 2 years, it has brought a combined number of 2,300 participants from all over the Philippines and attracted over 350 mentors and experts to the event.

The Impact Hackathon remains to be the largest hackathon in the Philippines.

25th Floor, Picadilly Star, 4th Avenue corner 27th Street, Bonifacio Global City

Headquarters Impact Hub GmbH Lindengasse 56 / 18-19 1070 Vienna, Austria UID : ATU66357747 FN : 358967v

25th Floor, Picadilly Star, 4th Avenue corner 27th Street, Bonifacio Global City

Headquarters Impact Hub GmbH Lindengasse 56 / 18-19 1070 Vienna, Austria UID : ATU66357747 FN : 358967v

With the vision of providing a platform that will allow innovation to solve social challenges, Impact Hub Manila launched an annual code fest called Impact Hackathon in October 2019.

In the past 2 years, it has brought a combined number of 2,300 participants from all over the Philippines and attracted over 350 mentors and experts to the event.

The Impact Hackathon remains to be the largest hackathon in the Philippines.

Impact Hub Manila logo

July 15-17, 2021

Good Governance 

    Youth involvement in promoting transparency, empowering citizens, fighting corruption, and harnessing new technologies to strengthen governance 

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