Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

"Hackathons" Used to Create Education Apps

Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

"Hackathons" Used to Create Education Apps

Article excerpt

Facebook works with the Gates Foundation to encourage developers and educators to build better applications for teaching and learning.

Foundation provides funds for education 'hackathons'

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Facebook plans to hold two "hackathons" this month, bringing together software developers and educators to create new Facebook applications for teaching and learning.

The first HackEd 2.0 event will take place at Facebook's Menlo Park headquarters in California on Tuesday, when teams will build apps for "college-going, social learning, and out-of-school study," a Facebook representative said by e-mail. Judges will award $5,000 for the best apps.

There will also be several all-female teams from the Hackbright Academy, a 10-week programming training course for women. On April 24, another hackathon will take place at Facebook's London office, where the top education app development teams will be given prizes of Pounds 1,000 -- or $1,500 -- Pounds 3,000 and Pounds 5,000.

Teachers' unions criticize British education minister

Another teachers' group has spoken out against Michael Gove, the British education minister.

Members of the National Union of Teachers, the largest representative of primary and secondary school educators in the country, voted in a motion of no confidence against Mr. Gove last week.

The union's motion followed a move last month by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, the third-largest British teachers' union, whose members overwhelmingly gave Mr. Gove a grade of D or lower.

"All the main teacher unions have each now tabled motions of no confidence," Christine Blower, general secretary of the N.U.T., said in a statement. "The N.U.T. has, of course, been critical of governments of all political colors where it believes their education policies are flawed and not in the best interests of children or teachers."

The N.U.T. statement cited a survey by YouGov, a Britain-based research company, that said that 55 percent of teachers described their morale as being "low or very low." It also said that only 8 percent of parents felt the government had a "positive impact" on the education system. …

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