On Thursday Facebook hosted the “EdTech”, a Hackathon in partnership with the Bill Gates and Melinda Gates foundation. Kicking off the foundation’s College Knowledge Challenge, an initiative worth $2.5 million to encourage developers to make applications that improve the college process.
The event aimed at bringing together the digital crowd with the Foundation’s altruistic mission in hopes of creating applications that are helpful to students nearing their college year and their parents. Stacey Childress, Deputy Director of Education for the Gates Foundation, introduced the event saying: “At the Gates foundation we’re increasingly focused on personalized learning. We mean meeting every student where they are every day so they get what they need next to be successful. Tech isn’t a solution to that but its part of it.”
The goals of the Hackathon and the College Knowledge Challenge are to help students make it to college, establish relationships for current college students, and help with admission and financial aid. Every single one of these verticals is ripe for hacking so it’ll be an interesting opportunity for the EdTech hackers. At the end of Thursday’s hackathon $18000 were to be awarded in prizes and also a chance to get noticed by some venture capitalist’s and Facebook folks who’ll want to push the apps in full-on production.
The college Knowledge initiative funded by the Gates Foundation is a competitive grant initiative to award $2.5 million for developing Facebook applications that make the college-going process more transparent, collaborative and navigable for low-income students. The Foundation announces on its website CollegeKnowledgeChallenge.org that, “The Challenge is open to for-profit and non-profit organizations from any field of expertise”. Successful applicants will be granted $50,000 – $100,000 depending on the size and scope of their project. Once a project is admitted to the program and begins development, applicants will receive 40% of the funds; subsequent funding will be dependent upon adequate progress toward the product described in the proposal. The College Knowledge Challenge will not take equity, ownership of intellectual property rights, or require revenue share from the funded projects. So all the developers out there get your creative caps on and grab the opportunity, the submission deadline is November16th.