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C/I Hosts EdTech Local Hack Day at Fordham Foundry

October 13, 2015 by

C/I, a Bronx-based nonprofit that teaches underserved high school students how to code, hosted their first hackathon of the 2015-2016 school year on Saturday, October 10th at the Fordham Foundry from 9am – 8pm. During the event, students from C/I’s 20 partner schools worked alongside professional tech mentors to build tech products that solve education problems.

Thanks to sponsors Major League Hacking, Code School, and Knewton, students received workshops on web development, product validation, and wireframing along with demos of the Oculus Rift. Brandon Reiss, an Engineering Manager at Knewton, presented during lunch about his motivations to get into tech along with a demonstration of Knewton’s free new curriculum platform for teachers and students. Students didn’t just learn tech skills over the course of the day; 91% of students said that they met a new professional mentor and 89% felt more confident making their own tech products in the future.

Knewton Presentation

After the workshops, students were able to use HTML, CSS and JavaScript to develop tech products that solved problems they identified within education. After submitting projects, the teams presented their product to our panel of judges, which included Bronx District 15 City Council Member Ritchie Torres and representatives from Ernst & Young, The New York Academy of Sciences and Knewton.

This was the first hackathon experience for nearly 80% of students who attended, and at the end of the day 96% of participants said that they feel prepared for their next hackathon! Read about and see the winning projects below, which collectively earned over $9500 in prizes donated by Udacity, CodeSchool, Treehouse and Coursehorse.


Udacity Award: Best Overall Hack – “Class Matcher”

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Class Matcher allows students to take surveys that inform their guidance counselors of the extra curricular classes students are interested in. In addition, it communicates with school officials so that high demand classes that are not offered can be added, such as computer science classes in schools where it is not currently offered.

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The website allows students and school staff to save time and increase student satisfaction with their academic programs. Students from the Bronx Center for Science and Mathematics won six months to work on a Udacity Web Development Nanodegree, a special credential created by Google, AT&T, GitHub, and Hack Reactor. Judges thought this product was the most feasible, creative hack with the most impressive presentation overall.


Code School Award: Most Creative Hack – “Era for Kids”

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Students from the Bronx Academy for Software Engineering built an app designed to educate teenagers about their elected representatives after identifying that most students were not aware of politics. As the most creative hack, judges believed this product to be the most original and unique idea. Not only would this app provide political activity information, but it would also allow the user to connect to politicians in their own county, city, and state.

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Era For Kids uses polls to show who is ahead in a political race, a forum would be provided to allow user to express their thoughts and a satisfaction tracker would allow users to follow their chosen politician and comment on whether the politician stayed true to their word during elections. Winners of the most creative hack each received an annual membership to Code School, an online learning tool that professionals use to learn how to code. This award was presented by New York City Councilman Ritchie Torres, who represents the area surrounding the Fordham Foundry.


TreeHouse Award: Most Feasible Hack – “The Hurry App”

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Our judges believed that The Hurry App has the most potential to be used in the future, beyond just the hackathon. The Hurry App was built by students from Bronx Academy for Software Engineering and it allows teen and adults to manage their time while getting to school or work. The app works by collecting your calendar information and setting alarms for you, reminding you to go faster if you are running late, which C/I students admitted often happens to them on the way to school.

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The Hurry App uses traffic information to send the user notifications on whether they should hurry up or take their time preparing themselves. Additionally, it provides weather details and lets you know if you need to take an umbrella or sunscreen. Each member of the winning team received free subscription to Treehouse’s professional online coding courses to learn even more about coding and computer science so they can continue working on their app.


CourseHorse Award: Best Presentation – “FutureWorks”

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With engaging visuals and well communicated presentation for their app, FutureWorks, students from Bronx Academy for Software Engineering took this prize home. This team created an app that helps high school students gain access to help with school work and opportunities in their communities.

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The FutureWorks app provides simple user friendly information on free opportunities like hackathons, scholarships, internships, and access to free coding classes hosted by companies and local organizations. Members from this team won class credits to take any class in NYC listed by CourseHorse. This award was presented by Mike McSherry, a Fordham Foundry board member and Partner at Ernst & Young.


Find Out More and Get Involved:

To learn more about how to get involved in our next C/I student event, please contact our program team at [email protected].  We’re especially looking for sponsorships, volunteers, donated prizes, and judges for our next tech product creation event, so let us know if you can help!

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