Teenage Scholars Hack Education, Win Big at Impact Hackathon 2021

Teenage Scholars Hack Education, Win Big at Impact Hackathon 2021

Innovation comes naturally to the youth. They are optimistic and eager to change the world for the better. Often, all they need is a chance. And through the Impact Hackathon, a group of ninth-grade scholars proved just how much the youth is the hope of the future.

 

Powered by Smart Communications and PLDT, the Impact Hackathon is the longest- and widest-running 5G hackathon in the Philippines, running until December 2021. For the first vertical, held last May 27 to 29, teams from around the country tackled issues on education.

 

Iskolar Tech, comprising five students from Philippine Science High School (PSHS, or Pisay), awed the judges with their smart learning management system called Athena. In a practically unanimous jury vote, the young entrepreneurs came out on top. As the winning team, Iskolar Tech received PHP 35,000 and incubation support worth USD 20,000 to jump-start their venture.

 

While their win may seem initially surprising, given their young ages, it is befitting that a group of students hacked the issues in the education sector. The team drew from their own experiences as students. Their pitch began with a reflection of what one of their teammates, Luch, felt he lacked in terms of educational support and resources.

 

“Learning has grown more difficult and less stimulating, especially during these times,” says Iskolar Tech team member Erwyn Aenas Vibal. “As high school students, we wanted to come up with ideas that could improve how we learn today.”

 

They ultimately came up with Athena, a smart learning management system that enables an intuitive, personalized, and informed learning experience. The system incorporates artificial intelligence (AI), algorithms for curated learning materials, and an intuitive design.

 

“Education shouldn’t be an inconvenience for students and teachers. It is a right that should be accessible to all Filipinos,” shares fellow team member Alessandro Abaya. “Making education convenient for all students, and teaching easier for all teachers, is exactly what Athena does.”

 

Before they go on to their incubation and then to disrupt the education sector with their ideas and designs, Impact Hub caught up with Iskolar Tech for an interview about their experience:

 

Have you always been interested in start-ups? How did you decide to join Impact Hackathon?

 

Alessandro Abaya, 16: “At a young age, I loved watching Shark Tank, learning about business from my parents, and creating small businesses during my free time. As I grew older, my passion for start-ups and businesses grew as well. I started taking online courses and attending webinars but never really got to pursue any of my ideas. After seeing a post about the Hackathon, I decided that this was an exciting opportunity that I couldn’t afford to miss. It was time to use what I had learned and create an actual start-up together with my friends.”

 

Bernice Gonzalez, 15: “When my friend invited me to join the Hackathon, I was quite hesitant. Before, I never envisioned myself attending a Hackathon or creating a start-up. But that is why I said yes. It pushed me to think and step outside my box.”

 

Erwyn Aenas Vibal, 16: “Growing up, I watched many influential speakers talk about their origin stories and how they slowly reached where they are now. Most of them had one thing in common: in the beginning, they all wanted to establish their own start-ups. Start-ups have always fascinated me. And I wonder how and when I’ll be able to launch my own. When I was invited to this Hackathon, I thought to myself that this was the perfect opportunity.”

 

What is the most valuable lesson you learned from the Hackathon experience? Do you have any tips for future Hackathon participants?

 

Marco Redulla, 15: “You should believe in your own idea. Even if your idea doesn’t get into the top three. As long as you know your idea can help the country, it doesn’t hurt to do it yourself. As for tips, all I have to say is that no matter how many obstacles there are in the way, don’t give up.”

 

Erwyn Aenas Vibal: “Never be afraid to attempt new things or take risks. I had no prior experience with Hackathons. I did not know what to expect when I signed up for this one. It’s a good thing I did sign-up because I learned a lot more about programming and working with others who share the same goal of creating an impact with their ideas.”

 

Bernice Gonzalez: “Always be open-minded. Being receptive to suggestions and new ideas is important to create peace within the team. It will also definitely go a long way in creating a positive impact and the best output.”

 

Luch Marcus Mikhail Tolin, 15: “Always be passionate and determined to continue your project or idea. No matter how simple or complex it is. My tip for future Hackathon participants is to never give up. So long as you know your idea can provide a significant positive impact to society.”

 

Alessandro Abaya: “Create solutions for problems that you, or people close to you, go through. The most high-tech solution is meaningful if it doesn’t solve an actual problem. The Impact Hackathon taught me to focus on solving problems with simple solutions rather than creating complex solutions that can’t solve problems. So a great way for future participants to create wonderful solutions is to focus on problems that they experience, work as a team, and seek advice from their Hackathon mentors.”

 

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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