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Open data is a catalyst for innovation; putting information in the hands of Massachusetts’ inventive citizens provides for endless possibilities. When the MBTA made their public transit schedules publicly available it spurred a host of new mobile applications, allowing commuters to easily track their trains and busses on their smartphones. Open data gives citizens of Massachusetts the power to create useful tools which address community needs.

The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) maintains extensive historical data sets on education from all 351 Massachusetts municipalities. (Of course, no sensitive personally identifiable information is included in these data sets.) This data is open to Massachusetts citizens who may be seeking to spark change and innovation. The Mass EduData Challenge is a six week competition aimed at engaging the public in viewing, analyzing, and visualizing this educational data. Developers across Massachusetts and beyond will be able to create teams and work together in a fun and competitive environment – all for a social benefit. Developers who sign up to compete in the Mass EduData Challenge will produce tools and insights, with the goal of improving educational outcomes in the Commonwealth.

The data challenge is designed to encourage participants to choose their own compelling “lens” to analyze the data through. A team’s created tool may illustrate relationships involving funding, tests scores, or educational outcomes.

At the conclusion of this six-week data challenge, two top teams will receive $1,500 each, based on two categories: Best Use of Data and Most Visually Compelling. A third team will receive $1,000 for the “Crowd Favorite” category. Competitors will also have an opportunity to win Android tablets.

If you want to get involved in this exciting opportunity for innovation, the Mass EduData Challenge will kick-off on Wednesday, May 28th with a Team Building & Mentoring Event hosted at hack/reduce – the Cambridge, MA based community “hackerspace.”
At the event, participants are encouraged to review the data, connect and consult with domain experts, and begin to form both their teams and the foundation for their idea.

You can register for the Mass EduData Challenge as a team or as an individual by visiting the registration page. For more information about the venue, visit the hack/reduce website. Whether you’re competing in the challenge or watching the developers’ progress, it’s sure to be an exciting six weeks.

Help spread the word about the competition by using the hashtag #MassEduData or clicking the tweet button below. Keep updated on news about the data challenge by following the @MassInnov8 twitter account and subscribing to the Mass Innovation Blog.


Mass EduData Challenge Kickoff
Wednesday, May 28th 2014 @ 7:00pm
Hack/Reduce: 275 Third St, Cambridge, MA 02142

Register on Eventbrite

Tweet: #MassEduData Challenge starts May 28th: Tech Teams Leverage Open Data [] via @MassInnov8

Mass EduData Challenge

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.

Government Innovation Officer

Antonio M. Parham (“Tony”) is an experienced executive, with a track record of leading high profile initiatives. He is a strategic planner and self-starter, proficient at business plan creation, partnership development, new venture creation, assembling high performance teams, managing extended virtual teams and program management. He is an insightful leader, strategic management consultant, digital marketing and e-business maven, executive coach, product manager, business partner liaison and charismatic public speaker.

As Government Innovation Officer (GIO) for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Tony advises the Governor, Secretary for Administration and Finance, executive branch leaders and other stakeholders on identifying, funding and managing execution of high impact business change projects. As the first chief innovation officer for the Commonwealth, the GIO is accountable for improving internal government efficiencies and for the improved experience of outside stakeholders such as residents, businesses and local governments.

Tony has 30-plus years’ experience of business and technology leadership across a wide range of business sizes, from startups to large enterprises. Educated at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Bachelor of Science Degree in Computer Science and Master of Science Degree in Management from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sloan School of Management) and the University of Southern California (Master of Science Degree in Computer Science), his career has bridged the private, not-for-profit, and public sectors.

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