Hacking Education with DonorsChoose.org Contest

There is a lot of discussion going on right now about what is wrong with the American public school system and about how to fix it. But despite heated debates about what's working and what's failing, there is still a lack of good information, particularly when it comes to what teachers need in their classrooms and what matters most to parents. DonorsChoose.org is trying to bridge that gap and now has a contest to encourage developers to help by using its DonorsChoose API.

DonorsChoose.org matches teachers and their classroom projects with individual donors who are interested in helping fund them. The organization has made a significant impact -- some $80,000,000 has been donated to support these projects. But now the organization needs your help. It has unveiled a new developer contest called Hacking Education.

The contest invites the public to help analyze data or build applications using data from the last 10 years, from more than 165,000 teachers at 43,000 public schools have posted over 300,000 classroom project requests, inspiring 400,000 donors to fund them.

As Oliver Hurst-Hiller, CTO at DonorsChoose.org wrote in an email:

DonorsChoose.org's first leap was its founding premise that lots of new innovation in the classroom could be unleashed by "crowd-sourcing" to teachers and citizen philanthropists: teachers by proposing learning experiences that weren't otherwise covered by their traditional curriculum and budget, and citizen philanthropists by supporting those which inspired them.

We see the availability of our API and the opening up of all this data as perhaps the next big leap, as we hope to "crowd-source" to the developer and data cruncher communities the next wave of big ideas for engaging the public and impacting education!

There are several categories for the contest: Data Analysis, JavaScript, .NET, PHP, Python, Ruby, and Wildcard. All entries will be evaluated based on which has the greatest potential to engage the public and impact education.

The contest's grand prize is a trophy, handed to you by Stephen Colbert, (as well as a chance to attend a taping of his show, The Colbert Report, with three of your friends).

To participate in Hacking Education:

Deadline for contest is:

  • June 30, 2011. Midnight PST.

The Hacking Education contest is a huge opportunity for the technology community to give back to public schools.

Be sure to read the next Education article: Stephen Colbert Awards Trophy to Email Mashup Developer