Educatech Hackathon challenges students to help people learn

Gamification as a tool to support second-language learning was the main topic of the hackathon hosted by George Brown.

Between Oct. 24 and 26, the Educatech Hackathon 2017 took over the school of design at George Brown College (GBC). The event involves people working together in collaborative computer programming.
The hackathon’s co-ordinator, Ian Norton said all students, not just those with a technology or design background were welcome at the event.
 
“We have people that never programmed before,” said Norton. “The most variable experience (brings), usually, the most interesting results.”
 
Farioah Tapal has a traditional design background and is currently doing freelance projects and contracts. She was the only woman participating in the hackathon and said that she felt it was a friendly environment.
 
“I’m trying to get experience with the hackathon and work with tech teams”, said Tapal.
 
Working in teams, the participants had 48 hours to create an engaging 3D game or app on Unity to support second-language learning.
 
The event was hosted by education technology company Voilà Learning. Norton said the challenge of the hackathon was to come up with games for students to practice French skills in a virtual environment.
 
The final day of the hackathon also featured the Educatech Summit, a panel where specialists in information technology talked about the challenges of implementing technology in education.
 
“It helps students learn, it helps students to make a connection with industry, make a connection to possible future jobs,” said Gary Hanrahan, an operations manager for the centre for arts, design and information technology at GBC. “It’s a great exposure for our students.”
 
On Nov. 15, the event staff judged all groups ideas awarding the best with a $600 prize. The winning team, called Cauldagame, presented a game idea where players work to build sentences by grabbing different sentence components and put them in a cauldron in the correct order.
 
Guilherme Bandini, a member of Cauldagame and a postgraduate in game design at GBC, said he was very thankful that this event was organized in the first place as it gave his team a fantastic space to test new ideas.
 
Bandini has a personal interest in developing tools that help people to learn things faster and he said that if he goes back to Brazil he will be “taking time to come up with a thing that helps bring the classroom to the future.”
 
Bandini had participated in other events such as the Global Game Jam, but this was his first time in a hackathon.
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Educatech Hackathon challenges students to help people learn