Vilnius, 1st March: The UpdatEd Hackathon, which was held remotely on the 25th-27th February, was won by CyberEd. The CyberEd team created a well-developed concept for an interactive game for developing cyber security skills and awareness, while also boosting critical thinking. Over 50 people took part in the event, including participants from Germany, Nigeria, Lithuania, Nepal, Argentina and Georgia.
The UpdatEd Hackathon was organized to address the fact that education across Europe is failing to meet the demands of students and the needs of industry. In light of the invasion of Ukraine the day before the hackathon started, a second topic of cyber security was also included. The key focus in both cases was on finding data-driven solutions. The participants spent 2 days working intensively on their concepts and receiving some inspiration and ideas from keynote speeches by Samir Badaoui, founder of Metaverse Mentors, and Mikhail Seregine, co-founder of edtech unicorn Outschool. The event culminated in pitches to the jury, which was comprised of Lukas Kaminskis, CEO of Turing College, Arvydas Plėta, Innovation Partner at Katalista Ventures, Diana Česonytė, Director of Executive Education at the BMI Executive Institute, and Augustė Kaknevičiūtė, business developer of SPIKE.
The first prize went to the Cyber Ed team for their interactive educational game aimed at teaching both cyber security skills and critical thinking. By completing a series of quests and tests, players can earn tokens that either unlock more games (in the case of children) or give discounts on cybersecurity software (in the case of adults). The Cyber Ed team consists of Aleksei Shevchuk, Dovilė Erminaitė, Julius Juodgalvis, Kotryna Krupauskaitė and Liucija Svinkūnaitė. Kotryna said: "Especially at this time, it is important to bring up an upcoming generation that is very aware of the many dangers that exist on the internet. Raising cybersecurity awareness means we will create a safer world tomorrow." Dovilė added: "We were looking for solutions to engage young minds to think about how the digital world works and what dangers lie there, and then to be able to critically assess these dangers and know how to avoid them." Aleksei commented: "Today more than ever it is important not just to teach the theory of cybersecurity. We also need to develop specific skills that children and their parents can immediately use to ensure their safety in the digital world." By winning the hackathon, the Cyber Ed team now has €1,500 to further develop their exciting concept.
The runners up prize of €800 went to the WYD (Wear Your Data) team, who came up with the idea of an app that collects data from wearables via the SPIKE API in order to track sleep, concentration levels, and productivity for improved learning. 3rd place, and a prize of €300, went to the Casuals team for their concept Nexplo, an app that helps refugees find shelter, offers survival tips, and supports them in finding homes and useful information. Other ideas pitched at the hackathon include a hybrid recommendation system for personalized learning, an app that scaffolds thoughtful conversations between preschoolers and their parents to boost critical thinking, and an interactive course for learning about online threats.
The hackathon was coordinated by Turing College. Lukas Kaminskas, CEO for Turing College, said: "It has been inspiring to see the teams come together and produce truly innovative ideas. Now, more than ever, we need our best and brightest minds to think big and find effective solutions, and I hope this hackathon played a part in enabling that to happen."
A wide range of organizations came together to make this hackathon possible. Oxylabs partnered with Turing College to organize the event, which was also supported by Startup Lithuania and Women Go Tech. There were 16 mentors involved, who were on hand to support the teams and share their know-how. They came from companies from across the Lithuanian tech ecosystem, including SME Finance, Vinted, Startup Wise Guys, ChangerMakersON, Robotikos akademija, BMI, Katalista Ventures, ConnectPay and IBM. The hackathon was part of the European Smart Citizens’ Initiative (EUsmart), an EU-funded project designed to offer innovative solutions for some of the major issues the European community faces today by running hackathons in seven different countries.