10 Amazing Hackathon Ideas
You have probably heard the term “hackathon,” but you may not be sure of what it means. A hackathon is most commonly associated with hackers or computer programmers. However, while hacking typically involves computers, hackathons are primarily events where groups of people gather to “hack” an idea. At these major events, people come together to take an idea and turn it into something real using technology.
As schools are focusing on STEM education, it is only natural for educators to consider adding hackathons to their lesson plans. Why? In addition to encouraging creativity, critical thinking, and collaboration, hackathons are fun! Students will learn how to take an idea and bring it to reality in a competitive (but collaborative) atmosphere.
If you are new to hackathons, you may not even know where to begin. Traditionally, hackathons come from identifying a problem and then considering different ways to solve it. For instance, how can a new tool or app make life easier? To help you get started, here is a list of possible hackathon topics to get your students thinking.
Education is open-ended. Have students consider how they can use technology to make lessons more engaging, entertaining, or easier to understand. This can be anything from gamification to study tools.
A major concern for today’s students is cyberbullying. Encourage your students to think of ways they can use technology to combat cyberbullying.
- City Planning
Map apps make our lives easier, but even more so when the maps are designed around the places we go. Since students have their own favorite places to visit, have them design a tool that helps students get where they need.
- Environmental Issues
For students drawn to environmental causes, allow them to look for ways to address environmental problems. Considering our last suggestion, they may want to develop an app that helps users know where, what, and how to recycle.
- Hack for Good
Societal causes are wonderful ideas for hackathons because they identify genuine problems, so students are invested in developing solutions.
With the myriad of apps and tools for tracing heartrate and steps, point students in the direction of exercise.
As childhood obesity continues to be a problem in the US, have your students think of ways to encourage kids to make healthy food choices.
For the musicians in the classroom, encourage them to see how they can creatively combine technology and musicality.
- Science and Human Anatomy
Consider a science lesson and think about the ways your students can make it more understandable and relatable.
Do we even need to explain why your students will love this idea?
Before we go, your first hackathon may feel overwhelming. Fortunately, there are excellent resources to help you plan and prepare for the big event. For instance, Wolfram Cloud has a Hackathon Project Generator; Hack Dash is a site dedicated to hackathon ideas; and, The Hackathon Handbook has a wealth of resources.