Chasing unicorns @ EdTech 2019 hackathon

It is known that in education, Estonia's students rank among the best in the world while being at the absolute top in Europe. But how can studying be made more exciting, modern and effective by using technology we have in our hands today? In ways that it would be both useful and interesting for everybody.
We all have some thoughts when it comes to education - would it be the stories about carrying heavy books to school and finding ways to make it physically easier, perhaps struggling with new languages or by observing our children's everyday life. More than 170 people registered to the second edition of Garage48 EdTech hackahton on 15th-17th of November. Students from age 9, teachers, education experts, entrepreneurs, designers, developers and lifelong learners all came together for one goal - to innovate education. And they sure did so!

A large amount of interesting and challenging ideas were pitched on the first day, out of which 20 teams were formed - a job-seeking platform for students, an app for practicing creative work in teams, educational tool for raising awareness on negative outcomes of sexting and cyberbullying etc. Amongst them, last year's EdTech hackathon winner FeedBee whose innovation is aiming to simplify the feedback process from students to teachers. “Why we came for the second time you may ask? The hackathon experience itself is a good place to get fresh feedback to your product, to your idea. Now, as we have a foundation, we have a framework to catch the expertise of the mentors and to actually put it into use,” said Indrek Stern, the Co-Founder of FeedBee and a teacher himself. 

One of the mentors and the representative of our partner organization Innove, Birgit Lao was delighted by the quality of ideas presented and the variety of participants. “It was clear that participants, both children and adults, educators and business minds - they all had really thought about the challenges and prepared the ideas, in addition, already thought about the potential solutions beforehand,” she said. “We in Innove support the entrepreneurial mindset and wish to see those “out of the box” ideas in education even more. It does not mean that everybody has to become a startupper - it's more about the creativity and the mindset we would like to be spread out.”

So you can imagine that the jury had not an easy job on choosing the winner. We can't stress it enough - that all of the participants really are winners. They dedicated their time and knowledge and really put in an effort to innovate the education sector! And we hope that they all are continuing with their hard work! 
Here are the awarded ideas on EdTech 2019.


ISA CHAMP - "We invest in students unable to access quality education due to financial reasons. In exchange, they commit to us a percentage of their salary for a fixed duration of time."
Prize: 1000 EUR from Lingvist and a “ticket” to BaseCamp hackathon!
Bouya Maalainine - Team Lead; Raigo Lilleberg - Designer; Rando Rostok - Developer; Nikita Utkins - Business Developer; Mari-Liis Tamm - Marketer; Kazuki Tairo - Data Scientist; Albert Kostusev - Developer

COLOR LOUD - People who are colorblind, struggle learning in school. What if you can make an app that automatically change the color to the light you recognize.
Prize: 2000 EUR from Innove to develop the idea further


LOGOPUU - People with speech problems don’t get help and therapy (too long time to get an appt. Solution- platform to fill time with useful tasks (games, exercise videos, materials between visits). Technology and speech and language dev platform.

Siim Soonsein - designer; Nikita Tikhomirov - marketing / team lead; ane Meriloo, education expert; Kati Mäesaar - education expert + business mind; Polina Minaeva - designer, animation artist; Serhiy Krynytskyy - product manager; Maris Põkka - education expert

SWISS ARMY-KNIFE 4 SCHOOL - A set of school supplies put in to 1 object that functions like a Swiss knife.
Karl-Markus Rool - Student; Ringo-Lehari Purge - Student; Kaur Maanus Kartus, - student; Janno Joosep Mathias Malmre - designe

GAMEALISE - Using a personality test as a medium to empower teachers in creating a child-specific approach to teacher-child communications.
Liina Põlluäär - Team Lead; Greg Twohig - Business & BE Develope; Karl Martin Teras - BE Developer; Kadi Kerner - UI/UX disainer & FE developer; Maarja Rebane - Disainer; Deniss Vorlov - FE Developer; Laura Toomast - 1. grade teacher/ tester; Tuule-Haldja Karusoo (10a) - student, tester

VR SCHOOL - We create real time virtual classroom for all students from all over the world using virtual reality.
Igbal Huseynov - Developer; Elgiz Zeynalov - Developer; Heiko Paju - Designer; Märt Luigujõe - Designer; Nobuhiro Sakata

CRYPTIME - Giving children a fun and engaging way to learn about cybersecurity. Providing an immersive gamification workshop.

Kat Zhuchko; Anel Abylkassymova, Liza Vakarjuk, Nikita Snetkov, Igor Nehoroshev

OXANA - Learning languages through AI.

GTL Lab empowers and equips students to become change makers while contributing to social change - locally and globally. Students take on solving real-life (societal) challenges endorsed by companies, NGOs, local govs etc, have a chance to win prizes and get support to carry out their projects - this makes learning in school more meaningful and builds their 21st Century skills.

Ali Haririan - UX/design; Sandra Ruul - business expert; Matthias Felder - business expert; Ivar Vipper - developer; Alex Krasun - business & marketing; Christophe De Giorgi - developer; Antoine Richard - developer; Maarja Hallik - visionary & educational expert, researcher; Christine Horohordina - student and NGO representative in design team

DIGIMAPP - Digitizing primary students' paper-based portfolios for more personalized education. Parents can provide faster support and in the future ML can be used to suggest optimal teaching models for each student.
Gert-Andry Kääramees - Developer; Robert Tohver - Developer; Jann Markus Jahilo - Developer; Lisa Pruuli - Student/Education Expert; Adele Gahler - Student/Education Expert; Amara Cameron - Student/Education Expert
Viola Salu - Design/Marketing; Calum Cameron - PM

“A very productive weekend,” summarized Neil O'Tool, the COO of EdVisor Finland. “It's great to see the balance between education, business and technology. And it's good to see students involved and the event being held in an actual school.” He added that he'd really love to take this type of energy, teams and ideas together with the hackathon format also to Finland as there are schools that would definitely run this and lots of educators who would love to be involved. “The main thing with teams on the hackathons is that, we get to ask the right and important questions to think about in an early stage - learning goals, what pedagogy is used, what problem are they solving. If you catch them early on, they don't waste money and time on the things they don't need - so the potential for a future unicorn is much higher!” 

We sure do hope that a future unicorn is born in EdTech! Thank you Startup Estonia, Innove, Bolt, Lingvist, A. Le Coq, Punch Drinks, Chasing Unicorns / Ükssarvik for helping and supporting us and through that, supporting education!

Until next year! EdTech 3.0 is coming back in autumn 2020.
"I see so many teachers who just don't like their jobs and may students who basically hate school and we need to change this - there's no other way!" FeedBee founder Indrek Stern

PS! Check out the short video about the hackathon here!

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