What do you picture when you think about a typical Saturday for a middle or high school student? Sleeping in? Video games? Cutting the grass?
Well, on Saturday, March 7, 2020, 46 middle and high school students from the Greater Birmingham Region came together to participate in a 12-hour Teen Tech Bham Hackathon at Samford University. Students formed teams at the beginning of the day and worked alongside teachers and mentors to create minimum viable products (MVPs) designed to solve community issues.
Student wrote lines of code, programmed Micro:bits, and crafted compelling presentations and visuals for the final showcase. They collaboratively addressed issues including mental health, hazardous weather, and unsafe driving, and offered compelling reasons for why their MVPs could catalyze positive change. Ed Farm was invited to participate in the experience and provided students with access to MacBook Pros. Within a couple hours, one young student jumped into Xcode and started exploring the Object Library. By the end of the day, she had generated a simple app interface using the simulator in Xcode – pretty cool.
TechAlabama Executive Director Deon Gordon and Ed Farm Program Director Chris McCauley served as judges during the Hackathon showcase. They, along with a team member from BBVA, selected the top three teams. The winning team created a device that monitors unsafe driving habits (ranging from speeding to drowsy driving) and walked away with brand new laptops. It will be exciting to see how those students continue to apply their computational thinking skills to future challenges.
Ed Farm looks forward to supporting similar events throughout the region.