Build a better civic hackathon: lessons from Education Hack Day

 

ShineOn Storytelling created an excellent video overview of Education Hack Day, held November 12 and 13 in Baltimore (see also a deep-dive overview and list of winners at Startup Baltimore).

For those of you organizing civic hackathons, what’s important to note is that this was a collaborative effort between teachers and developers. Teachers outlined their problems. Developers addressed them.

Too many civic hackathons focus on developer vanity projects that don’t address real technology issues governments face. Government must be proactive in organizing and sharing their needs and collaborate with civic-minded developers during hackathons like Education Hack Day to get these problems addressed. Developers need to focus on projects that make a difference and provide sustainable technology solutions.

For related discussions on this, see Alex Howard’s “Everyone jumped on the app contest bandwagon. Now what?” and Andy Oram’s “App outreach and sustainability: lessons learned by Portland, Oregon.”

Video:

(Thumbnail photo by Mark Headd)

Luke Fretwell is the founder of GovFresh and a strategy consultant for CivicActions and NuCivic. More about him here. He can be reached at luke@govfresh.com.