Future of education hackathon

  Gus Balbontin, one of three Entrepreneurs in Residence at Victoria University, outside the VU Hanger
Gus Balbontin, one of three Entrepreneurs in Residence at Victoria University outside the Hanger at Footscray Park Campus

"One minute left. Go, go, go!" Gus Balbontin, VU's inaugural entrepreneur in residence and former Lonely Planet Chief Technology Officer, reminds the five Edu Hack teams that time is running out.

Since VU established the VU Hanger as a start-up stimulator from a converted shipping container at its Footscray Park Campus, hackathons have become a regular VU feature, inspiring participants to challenge, brainstorm and present an idea from concept to a final three-minute pitch.

The theme for this Edu Hack was The Future of Education and participants were encouraged to think about tangible ways to equip the next generation to deal with challenges and opportunities.

Over the course of the day, the Edu Hack teams, made up of teachers, parents, and progressive thinkers, learnt about the power of collaboration, refined their ideas, and worked hard to take a single thought bubble and turn it into a tangible business venture. The day culminated in each of the teams delivering a three-minute pitch to the group.

The top three ideas included:

  • Field Trippa – a web business that takes the pressure off primary school teachers by researching, booking and facilitating school excursions
  • CommUniversity – online short-courses with a ‘learn, teach, do’ approach to education that draws on alumni and industry experts to help create a specific curriculum
  • Language Support – a business made of students who help English as second language students translate jargon or complex terminology.

Isobel Soto, who is studying a dual diploma in Community Services and Community Development at Victoria University, said her first hackathon was an amazing experience.

“I didn’t know what to expect and I guess I was a little worried about what I could bring to the conversation, but it was such a fantastic day.

Once we started brainstorming, the ideas started coming, and by the end of the day, I really felt like we had all accomplished something worthwhile. I want to do another one!”

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