EDU Hackathon Recap – 5th July 2014

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On 5th of July 2014, READ Alliance in partnership with GoogleforEDU hosted a day long Google Chrome App Developer Challenge in cities of Bangalore and Gurgaon. From Gurgaon, app developers participated through Google Hangout. The main idea of this Hackathon was to bring together diverse communities of publishers, coders and app developers to develop apps around early grade reading using India specific education context (content, language, curriculum). The event was run in partnership with USAID, Center for Knowledge Societies and 10,000 Startups India.

Attendees for this Hackathon were the app developers , mentors, content providers and the organizers. 60 developers (comprising 20 teams) attended at Google’s office in Bangalore and 5 app developers dialled in from the Gurgaon office.
READ Team thought of putting colour to the Hackathon by colour coding the attendees. Blue bands for the organizers, orange for the app developers, green for the mentors and yellow for the content providers.

Aditya Dev Sood kick started the Hackathon by talking about educational technologies, device literacy, reading innovations and some other projects like Health Public under CKS and other pre-incubation opportunities at Adianta School of Leadership and Innovation.

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The stage was then taken over by Nita Aggarwal , Project Director–READ Alliance who first took the participants through the timeline and process of the Hackathon and then explained the three problem statements – Decoding, Comprehension and Reading for meaning. The app developers were asked to create apps around early reading addressing one of these problem statements.

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Deepshikha Dash from Read Alliance and Amrit from Google then demonstrated some of the  best apps for children. They talked about the engaging features like good content, easy navigation and animation which makes the best reading apps for children with different stories and tales.

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After a small tea break, when all the participants were seated in the hall, the stage was taken over by Suhair from GoogleforEDU team who spoke on how GoogleforEDU has worked for internet connectivity processes across different schools in India, different apps they have created with scalable contacts and devices they have sold to different educational institutions. She later shared transformational stories from her trip to Malaysia which were quite interesting.

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This was followed by a Chrome app development session where Shrey from Google Gurgaon office through Google Hangout gave guidelines on ‘how to create Google chrome apps’.This session was especially interesting for the app developers.

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Then it was lunch time! The food at Google cafeteria was amazing. I was amused by the variety in the lunch menu at Gurgaon Google Office! Loved the Shrimp noodle soup  and the fruit pudding!

After the lunch was over it was time for all the content providers from Bangalore and Gurgaon to make a 5 minutes pitch on why their content is apt for the three different problem statements.
Office hours: where all the app developers were given time to interact with the mentors to understand the concept behind early reading. They also interacted with the content providers so that they could choose with which content to go with!

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I attended the Hackathon from Gurgaon where we were connected to Bangalore Google Office through Google Hangout. It was my first Hackathon and cheers to Google Hangout for making this whole event a seamless experience. Google also made some announcements from I/O – Android Apps for Chromebooks, Android One, etc. Winners of Google Chrome App Developer Challenge are to be announced by first week of September. Top 3 apps will get featured for 3 months on the Chrome Web Store. Good news for the winners, they will be given Chromebooks in the award ceremony by USAID and GoogleforEDU Launch in October. Googlefor EDU has plans already underway to create a blueprint for Hackathon for Education and replicate it globally. The overall session was very insightful with focus on not just the technicalities, but the content as well, which is crucial to build high quality apps.

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