Innovative and creative minds from EF Academy New York recently contributed their talents to the MIT Hardware Hackathon (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) entitled “MakeMIT”. The eight students who attended split up into teams, putting their considerable technology prowess to work on improving the health tracking features of the Apple Watch or creating a binary game similar to pinball for the computer. The students were mentored and led by current students attending MIT. The MIT students acted as mentors and ranged from the undergraduate to medical school level.
Science teacher Ashley Fetzer led the group to Boston for the event and was very impressed with the group of students who attended the event. No experience was necessary to attend, however many were members of her Coding Club which meets weekly on EF Academy’s campus. Two IB Y1 students, Aurora Sauar and Ingunn Flovig had never attended a Hackathon before but were very excited to experience their event. IBY2 student Ilia Tikhomirov was one of the more experienced members of the group, having previously attended a Hackathon event at Dartmouth College.
The group spent the first day of the trip learning from mentors. On day 2, it was straight to work with their teams made up from schools across the region. The Hackathon took a “Silicon Valley” approach to learning – giving students a small amount of time to create something great. The students had a lot of flexibility and an open assignment to work with – keeping the pressure and creativity high. The group running the hackathon teaches people to code in many locations around the United States.
Ilia Tikhomirov and Rudradev Roy, both Hackathon veterans described the event as fun and commented, “We met a lot of people with the same interests. It was a difficult and challenging event and we enjoyed having the help of the MIT mentors.” They added, “The event was competitive but inclusive, and we were able to build relationships across schools and teams.” Several of the students on the trip see Computer Science as a potential future college major or as a base for designing apps, working in programming or starting their own business.
After completing their work, each team presented to a panel of judges who explored the capability of the project. MakeMIT is an annual event promoting innovation and geared toward those who are excited and passionate about designing and building. Over 250 student from around the region participated in the event. Students in attendance also had time to see the MIT campus, meet professors and even make a visit to the MIT Museum while on campus!