Thursday, January 09, 2014

Student Hackathons in California

I get email from people pushing blog post ideas all the time. web-ol-hackathon-12Several a week generally. Some of them are completely off topic for this blog. Some are close in that they are education related though maybe not CS related. Some are pretty clearly commercial in nature. But some are right on. Those as the ones I post about. For example this week brought an email about some hackathons for students in California sponsored by the Level Playing Field Institute with help from a number of Silicon Valley  companies.

The Level the Coding Field hackathons were a weekend mobile apps competition for over 215 low-income students of color under-represented in computer science held in Mt View and Oakland in October and November of 2013. Not only were students taught to be producers rather than just consumers of technology, they were taught to utilize technology to address some of their communities biggest problems in the areas of Education, Environment and Health. The students blew us away with their mobile app designs and solutions, presentations in front of entrepreneurs and venture capitalists and their grace under pressure (a mobile app build in a weekend!). 

Some Press Coverage:

There is a Hackathon video here and it looks like it was a great event. I love the idea of bringing kids and mentors together to help students see the potentials in software development.

In terms of outreach to students by companies though events and programs it often seems like New York leads Silicon Valley. Girls Who Code, for example, started in New York. And support for CS education seems to be growing rapidly in NYC. So it is nice to see the left coast getting more involved.

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