Zzish 2015 Edtech Hackathon: Mobile Apps for the Classroom
In November 2015, I participated in an Edtech Hackathon hosted by Zzish, who with their platform allows pupils to easily plug into any mobile or web learning application created by designers or developers, with a goal of giving teachers a single consistent real-time view of student activity and progress across all the learning applications used. This is to give teachers the ability to tailor classroom tasks based on individual students skills and levels on the applications, enabling teachers to be more wary of the need of all their pupils and making it really easy for them to understand student strengths and weaknesses.
The hackathon was built with this notion, where participants had to create a prototype of an educational application that can have a real impact on learning, which will be supported and integrated on the Zzish platform.
I joined a team that over the course of 72 hours created a prototype application that could engage early learners in new and powerful ways. Using voice recognition, touch, speech interfaces, and phonics breakdown of words, that for one can help improve reading comprehension and allow infants to better prepare for the Phonics Screening Check (aims to assess a child’s ability to read by decoding words using phonics) which happens at key stage 1 level to primary school children.
My contribution not only helped our team win the competition, but it also helped me establish a relationship with the London Ed-Tech community.
Since the Hackathon, I sustained my role as a developer helping the team bring StorySmaties (formerly named Alien Phonics) to life, and as Seb Timpson describes in this Zzish blog. It will cut the additional workload imposed on teachers, saving them time and reducing the risk of creating anxiety in children when preparing for the Phonics Screening Check. The App will allow kids to practice for the test independently of the teacher, as it can basically do what a teacher does — it instructs, listens and gives feedback.
The team is now working closely with Zzish to further develop and launch a focused (MVP) application to undergo school trials starting Autumn 2016.