The Hacking Education Contest
On Monday I wrote about contests as a way to raise money. They are also a way to raise the profile of you and/or your startup. This post is about a developer contest that is in the latter camp.
This blog community has adopted DonorsChoose as our charity. Every fall we do a month long fundraiser for them. These events have been very successful and we've even done meetups between our community and DonorsChoose.
The connection between DonorsChoose and the tech startup/entrepreneurial community has always been strong. In fact, DonorsChoose is a startup. The founder Charles bootstrapped the service, then raised a "venture round" which was designed to take the non-profit to "profitabilty." That plan has worked perfectly and the reason I am on the DonorsChoose board is that it reminds me of the startups we work with more than a non-profit.
That connection gets even stronger with the DonorsChoose Hacking Education Contest. DonorsChoose has opened up most of the data on their platfrom via APIs. And it is encouraging developers to use those APIs to build apps that improve education in America. Here are some suggested apps they'd like to see people build:
- Identify a trend in the resources requested at DonorsChoose.org that could change a city or state education budget. For example, "Elementary school teachers in Chicago are submitting 40% more projects requesting microscopes."
- Show a pattern in DonorsChoose.org classroom projects that could impact how and what we teach children. I.e., "These are the 10 novels most requested by high school teachers in low-income communities."
- Rank what people care about most when supporting classrooms in need. A catchy project title? High poverty rate? Field trips rather than technology?
- Reinvent the classroom project discovery experience to provide more serendipity, personalization, or casual exploration. (Etsy has more than five different ways to browse through their inventory.)
- Create the first ever hyper-local giving app for mobile phones. I.e., an app which shows you classroom project requests from schools that are close to your current location. Or create a mobile app which uses a pivot other than geography to present classroom projects!
- Invent a way for people to engage with classroom project requests before they're ready to open their wallets. About 2% of visitors to DonorsChoose.org make a donation. What can the other 98% of visitors do for fun?
There are seven categories of prizes (based mostly on technology used) and one "Big Winner." The Big Winner gets to attend a taping of The Colbert Report with three friends and meet Stephen Colbert and accept a trophy from him. That's what I call getting attention.
The deadline for app submission is June 30th. So if this is interesting to you, you need to get on it right away. Here are the details.