The Gates Foundation Launches $ 2.5 Million Academic Knowledge Applications Contest with EdTech Hackathon on Facebook – TechCrunch

To inspire developers to create apps that help kids enter, stay, and graduate from college, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation today launched a Facebook education technology app competition with 30 prizes totaling $ 2.5 million. For throwing Collegial knowledge challenge The submission period, he is now co-hosting an edtech hackathon at Facebook headquarters at 1 Hacker Way in Menlo Park.

Developers of all ages are responsible for building applications that build gateways to college, create peer groups for incoming students, and help with college admission and financial aid. . So if you want kids to be smarter, build something for them and win one of the $ 100,000 prizes.

Stacey Childress, Associate Director of Education for the Gates Foundation, introduced the event, saying, “At the Gates Foundation, we are increasingly focusing on personalized learning. We mean meeting every student where they are every day so they get what they need to be successful. Technology is not a solution to this, but it is part of it.

As to why the College Knowledge Challenge asks developers to build Facebook apps in particular, she noted that “social networking sites… are emerging as essential for low-income college students and students, especially for building social capital. outside the boundaries of their neighborhood. Facebook… contributes not only to academic success but to their perseverance. They feel more connected and are more likely to stay in school.

Elliot Schrage, vice president of public policy at Facebook, said his company and the Gates Foundation “share a common vision of an open and connected world, and where everyone has a chance to lead healthy and productive lives. We both believe in the hacker culture.

He followed, explaining that “technology democratizes not only access to information, but the distribution of information”. Schrage noted that Facebook’s low-friction Open Graph sharing system allows “the experience that young people must have the potential to go viral.” He sees the union of social media and education “is about using the power of sharing to transform the way people live their lives”.

While the apps are designed for low-income, first-generation students, they don’t have to be created by them. Deborah Robinson of the Gates Foundation tells me, “We need to break down the barriers and ask anyone with a good idea to bring it.

$ 18,000 in hackathon prizes will be awarded later today, with the Top 30 College Knowledge Challenge apps unlocking higher education named after submissions close on November 16. Developers can apply here.

The event has just kicked off at Facebook Headquarters and we’ll have updates throughout the day as well as an announcement of the hackathon winners tonight.


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Darla P. Vaughn

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