Education in Finland has for a long time ranked high among all other countries in the world, and was even number one for many years. Finnish education continues to evolve, and the latest trend is involving students in real-world problems by connecting students with companies that pose a challenge. The solutions to these challenges can provide participating companies with new innovative ideas to evolve their own products.
“Our Hackathon format allows students to focus deeply on a chosen challenge for several days,which teaches them to work together and use their creativity and develop design thinking to hack together innovative solutions” says Juhani Koivuviita, leader organizer of EduHack and COO of Educraftor, the company behind EduHack, “not only are these valuable life-lessons, it also helps them choose the right education and career path for themselves” .
From the 17th until the 19th of May, Educraftor organised its third EduHack event, which had eleven teams participate with high-school students from schools in Tampere and Huittinen, Vaasa, Helsinki and Turku. Students had access to the latest technologies, such as Virtual Reality, Augmented reality and 3D-printing and were encouraged to use these technologies in their solutions and presentations.
This third EduHack focused on challenges of using geoinformatics in education and Sixth wave thinking, which is about creating solutions for our resource-limited future. Challenges in these categories were provided by SYKE, the Finnish environmental centre, Paikkaoppi and ESRI Finland, a geo-informatics company.
“We asked UrbanZee’s CEO, Aschwin van der Woude, to participate as a project management mentor and judge. He participated in the first EduHack and brought a lot of energy and expertise“ added Koivuviita.
During the first session of this third EduHack, van der Woude focused on helping to define the purpose for each team, which answers the question of “Why”, and also covered the basics of project management. “As I had seen the first EduHack, I understood what the teams needed, so I tried to provide them with some of the basic team tools they needed for this. “, explained van der Woude, “a clear purpose helps the team and the solution, so I spent most of my workshop on answering Why. I was very impressed when most teams delivered a fairly clear purpose statement in half an hour”.
Throughout the Hackathon, students were exposed to many other types of workshops and coaches to help further develop and implement their solutions. Some teams even worked deep into the night on their challenge.
By the end of the EduHack event, five teams out of eleven participating teams received one or more prices. Prizes were provided by the various partners, and all gave winning teams an opportunity to continue developing their ideas.