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Mass EduData Challenge Kickoff

The Mass EduData Challenge, a six-week open data competition, held its official kickoff event on Wednesday, May 28th at hack/reduce. This education-focused civic hacking competition challenges developers to enhance educational outcomes by leveraging public data sets maintained by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). The night was a huge success, drawing in over 70 developers from Massachusetts and beyond.

The venue, hack/reduce (which boasts the motto “Code big or go home”), is a not-for-profit established in partnership with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The Cambridge-based “hacker space” brings the great minds of Massachusetts’ developer community under one roof by hosting hackathons, data challenges, and skill-building workshops. Last December, hack/reduce hosted a 24 hour hackathon for the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT), which produced powerful data analyses and visualizations.

Teams and individuals competing in the Mass EduData challenge gathered in hack/reduce’s meeting space to listen to speakers’ inspiring examples of the ways open data can provide valuable tools for the Commonwealth. During the data “deep dive” portion of the evening, the competitors were introduced to their challenge and to the data sets they will utilize during the next six weeks. The developers are tasked with analyzing and displaying the public data sets in a manner that is both user-friendly and informative to the public. Participants will use this data to identify relationships with other data sets, explain patterns, and provide insights into what that data means.

During the remainder of the evening, hack/reduce was buzzing with conversation as competitors chatted one-on-one with the organizers of the data challenge and with each other to begin formulating their ideas.

At the conclusion of this six-week data challenge, the two top teams will receive $1,500 each and a Google Nexus Tablet, for “Best Use of Data” and “Most Visually Compelling.” A third team will receive $1,000 and a Google Nexus Tablet for the “Crowd Favorite” category. A $500 “Collaborative Data Contribution” prize will be awarded to a single team that supports the work of other competitors in the most helpful and collaborative way.

Additionally, two “start-up focused” prizes will be awarded: HubSpot will grant a top team automatic placement into HubSpot Jumpstart: a scholarship program for seed-stage startups, and  LearnLaunch will provide a startup strategy session with angel investors, Jean Hammond and Eileen Rudden.

Winners will be announced during the July 8th award ceremony at hack/reduce. This concluding event will highlight the creative and insightful applications designed by the developers. Stay updated on progress  or join in the discussion about the Mass EduData Challenge on Twitter by using the #MassEduData hashtag. Get real-time news about the challenge by following @MassInnov8 on Twitter and subscribe to the Mass Innovation Blog.

For more information:
Official Mass EduData Challenge Page

Featured speakers included (from left to right): Patrick Larkin Director of MassTech; Jeff Wulfson, Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE); Sharon Wright, Secretariat CIO for the Executive Office of Education; Christopher Scranton, Sr. Manager for Big Data and Tech Initiatives at MassTech; Elizabeth Graham, VP of Operations at HubSpot; Tony Parham Massachusetts Government Innovation Officer (GIO); Tej Chigateri, Territory Manager at Socrata;  Reid Serozi Data Solutions Architect at Socrata; Robert Curtin (not pictured), Director of Educational Data Services at DESE.

Featured speakers included (from left to right): Patrick Larkin Director of MassTech; Jeff Wulfson, Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE); Sharon Wright, Secretariat CIO for the Executive Office of Education; Christopher Scranton, Sr. Manager for Big Data and Tech Initiatives at MassTech; Elizabeth Graham, VP of Operations at HubSpot; Antonio (“Tony”) Parham, Massachusetts Government Innovation Officer (GIO); Tej Chigateri, Territory Manager at Socrata;  Reid Serozi Data Solutions Architect at Socrata; Robert Curtin (not pictured), Director of Educational Data Services at DESE.

 

Written By:


Digital Communications Intern
Megan Schatzman manages digital communications for the Office of the Government Innovation Officer (OGIO). She is also a dual degree candidate for both Marketing and Information Systems at Suffolk University. Megan is passionate about innovation and the effective utilization of multiple digital media channels. She has 5 years of experience in strategic social media usage and is a recipient of the Xerox Award for Innovation and Information Technology.

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