The first Versal Code for Education hack night winners are…

Gregor small
Versal CEO Gregor Freund demos a gadget at the Code for Education hack night.

A big thank you to everyone who came out to the Code for Education hack night last week! It was a very fun and inspiring evening, and we sincerely enjoyed meeting so many developers and teachers enthusiastic about radically improving online learning. Special thanks to Pete Hunt of Instagram for sharing his expertise on Immediate-Mode UIs with React. We’d also like to thank Adriana O’Brien from Wolfram Research for updating the audience on Wolfram’s efforts to create powerful experiences for teachers and students. For those of you who didn’t attend, the event was a sneak preview of our open gadget developer platform (launched officially in beta this morning), co-hosted with the SF JavaScript Meetup Group. The goal was to give developers a chance to build prototype learning gadgets and connect with teachers. What we learned? When you pair developers and teachers together, the ideas are not only inspiring but achievable. At the end of the hack night we had a great round of presentations. Final gadget prototypes were due by 5 p.m. the next day, after which a team of our engineers and product specialists evaluated all submissions before determining the winner. We evaluated gadgets based on the following criteria:

  1. Is the gadget easy enough for use for teachers to quickly build informative/interactive content?
  2. Is it interactive for the student?

Choosing the winning gadget was a difficult decision….so difficult that we ended up with a tie for first place!

First place (tie): Bustin’ Bash and Categories

Bustin’ Bash by Arik Dov Dadye and Puru Dahal (prize: Acer Chromebooks)

Bustin Bash - Versal Hack Night 1st Place medium
Bustin’ Bash is an interactive tool to teach Bash Scripting. The teacher sets a desired output and it is up to the learner to interact with a terminal UI to achieve it

Categories by Max Volz (prize: Acer Chromebook)

Categories - Versal Hack Night 1st place medium
Categories is a gadget that presents a learner with a list of words that they are then challenged to assign to a category. A great way to reinforce the learner’s understanding at the end of a lesson!

Second place: Exploring Google Earth

Exploring Google Earth, by Bryan Hughes  (prize: a family membership to the California Academy of Sciences)

Google Earth Gadget - Medium
Exploring Google Earth is a geography gadget that challenges students to search for a place anywhere in the world, as defined by an instructor.

Third place: Audio Recorder

Audio Recorder, by Taha Kazi and Robby Nevels (prize: a $100 Amazon gift certificates) 

Audio Recorder is a Soundcloud-based gadget that helps teachers record audio lectures to share in the course with the learners.
Audio Recorder is a Soundcloud-based gadget that helps teachers record audio lectures to share in the course with the learners.

Many thanks to everyone who built and submitted a gadget. We’re looking forward to seeing how your gadgets evolve and what you think of next! All of the above prize winners were also offered a $2,500 contract to continue working on  their gadgets and, upon Versal’s approval, have them added to Versal’s gadget tray and made available to teachers worldwide. In addition, the finished gadgets will be showcased at the TechCrunch Disrupt hackathon on September 6-7 in San Francisco. If you’re attending, please stop by our table and meet our team. Thanks again to everyone who came – it was an honor and a privilege to meet you. We’re looking forward to seeing your ideas. If you need help or have any questions, please say hi at community.versal.com. Interested in participating in an early adopter feedback program? Learn more here. More developer and teacher meetups coming soon…sign up here for alerts.