This weekend, university students created prototypes that solve everyday problems at the hackathon organised by Skype and the Information Technology Foundation for Education. The educational platform 3Ducation, which helps teach chemistry in a new way using augmented reality, became the winner.
At the Skype University Hackathon, almost fifty college and university students from Estonia and abroad created innovative IT solutions over a period of two days under the guidance of the engineers of Skype and Microsoft. “The goal of the projects was to solve various problems that are mainly related to education, such as making the lives of students better, preserving the environment and even finding a babysitter,” said Senior Program Manager at Skype Filipp Seljanko. “The experience gained here will definitely benefit the participants at university and in their working lives.”
In addition to Estonian participants, there were several competitors from other countries such as Latvia, Russia, Greece, Turkey, Georgia, the United States of America, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, India and Cameroon. It is worth mentioning that almost half of the competitors were women. “This year, we had a unique situation where the winning teams had 12 female and four male participants in total,” said Seljanko. “We’re pleased to see that an increasing number of women are discovering the world of IT and the opportunities it offers.”
The winner of the hackathon and the people’s favourite was the educational platform 3Ducation, which helps explain various natural phenomena to school students. The creators of the winning platform are four Ukrainian women who study at Tallinn University of Technology – Anhelina Prokopenko, Roksolana Sliusar, Valentyna Tsap, Valeriia Rusakova – and Panagiota Chatzi, who is a student at the University of South Wales. “We are offering an educational platform that uses the technology of AR, 3D-animations and usual paper cards that will teach you in a fully new way!” said member of the winning team Panagiota Chatzi, who was also named the best engineer at the hackathon. The winners intend to develop their platform further and expand it so that it can also be used to teach mathematics, physics, geography and biology.
The special award of the IT Academy went to the UniPal application, which allows students to sell the study materials they have created themselves and earn some money. The special Microsoft award went to the Copo application, which helps university and school students find teammates for various projects. These projects lay the foundation for the student’s portfolio, which they can use when they start applying for jobs. The special Skype award went to the web application Listen Together, which offers video calls with elements of entertainment, e.g. singing karaoke together etc.
The teams that took part in the Skype University Hackathon 2016 were rated by a jury whose members included Filipp Seljanko (Skype), Kaspar Hanni (Microsoft), Triin Mahlakõiv (Tehnopol), Lauri Võsandi (IT College), Juhan Ernits (TUT) and Peep Küngas (UT).
The main organisers of Skype University Hackathon 2016 are Skype Estonia and, within the programme of the IT Academy, the Information Technology Foundation for Education. Hype event marketing agency also supported the organisation of the event.
The prizes were provided by Tehnopol Startup Inkubaator, Skype, HITSA, Microsoft, Latitude59, Estonian Association of Information Technology and Telecommunications, and TechSisters.