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Utah County Hackathon

The Utah County 4H Hackathon was a success! Dozens of children and youth — ranging from elementary-aged children to high schoolers — attended the event at the Provo City Library. There were three sessions of classes, each lasting an hour and 45 minutes. EPIK Deliberate Digital was one of the sponsors, and we hosted two of the classes. You can see some of the other sponsors below.

Hackathon sponsors


Here is some of the “raw data” from the interactive activity that EPIK facilitated. We asked each group of kids (grades 3-7 and grades 8-12) to help paint a picture of how technology is currently used in schools, and then to engage in a ‘visioning’ activity to share what they wish could happen in schools. You’ll see both the variety and the patterns in their ideas.

We’re still waiting for photo and video permissions, but more of a report from the Hackathon will be forthcoming…..

Current — elementary school (grades 3-7)
making video games
create docs
use Photoshop
hour of code
print on paper
Google Docs
Cell Craft
look up words (dictionaries)
Studies Weekly
math games
Google things

Subjects in which tech is used
computer literacy
Language Arts (English)
teachers using the tech more than kids are (not a lot of hands-on)

Current — teens
incredibly promising
essential in 10-20 years
not enough room for students
new classes — less time to health classes
memorization and not active learning
male teachers get paid less than female
low budget/function
teachers expected to teach more in less time
values are based more on grades rather than on an attempt to learn skills
sage testing!
tech isn’t used enough
teachers are underpaid
students don’t have enough time to learn
students are required to learn stuff. Some requirements are ok like math, english, PE, health, etc.
decision about schools are being made without teachers and students and parents and students
they have limited interet and expect us to do the same amount of work with less than when we had more
engineering draft class gets new version of solid works every year, very educational — cool program
I’m homeschooled so I don’t know much about actual schools
teachers use remind 101 to send mass texts to their classes. very helpful.
limited use of technology – only teacher-guided activities/projects computers used for research and typing, but not learning
no phones in class? they should only be taken if they are being misused
school blocks mostly games
homeschool trusts us way more
it lets us (my family) have more
tech is not used in classrooms other than a projector. which is a good start but there are so much more that you could learn with tech
the only classes that uses the computers are to research or type up on a paper
but we also have after school clubs through 4H that teaches robotics, programming, app development
antiquated turn in Homework
video editing
tech is used for group activity — e.g., writing in English
Lehi — mechanical drafting
robotics in 7th-8th grade
private school gives iPads to each student and teachers are technically competent
public schools – computers for assignments, writing, research
iBoss — internet disabled with tools to keep secure — no feedback is sought; IT can’t fix the problems where students could provide free help
images are blocked — and yet they are free and could be used
only have access to things that the admins check as ‘okay’ but they don’t ask what we want or need
permission for access can be requested but it can take weeks/months for the approval to go through
in Texas, students rebuild broken computers — they develop repair skills and then are able to give a fixed tool to another to be used
district decides what teachers need and because of that, they pull good programs, they try to quantify all things, ridiculously small budgets
Add students (larger classes) and tell teachers to teach more in less time — students can’t learn as well, no time to help
a positive is when projectors are used in class


Visioning – HS (large group discussion)
Communicate more e.g., RemindMe
IT seeks input from students
students could help make firewall work in a way that allows learning — eg. use Linux certificates learned in Linux class
More clip are and video links available (fewer blocked sites)
instead of blocking sits, teach and trust more
don’t just “give us a wall”

Less district involvement — most of these schools know what they’re doing
essential resources not blocked by school web filters

More Visioning (small group work)

essential resources not blocked by school web filters
all teachers are well paid
teachers must be qualified
programs must be well funded (this is more important than weight lifting)
tech classrooms should not be lit with a warehouse. Use lighting that encourages creativity
teach classes on the full tech spectrum (programming, robotics, program design, video editing, Photoshop, networking, animation, modeling)
Tech CANNOT be taught like current core classes are taught
Less district involvement — most of these schools know what they are doing
learning NOT memorizing – we memorize what we need to know to pass the class. We don’t really learn something new
Bigger schools for more teachers so that more classes can be taught
If students are sick or on vacation that day they can actively participate in their school through social media and do their work so that they’re not left behind
Students learn more through tech. More would be willing to learn.
Levitating chairs – students would have a lot more fun in class
Students should be able to choose if they want a free period
Classes are too large and you have to learn material quickly – so reduce class sizes and give more time to teach. Example: math — if you don’t understand a concept you fall behind at an exponential rate
Internet freedoms — teach students how to learn, search, and use the resources available, and provide these resources
The tech class of the future — more hands-on learning. Teach basic and some advanced tech skills because we live in a technical world!
Diversity of classes – increase funding to expend into the fields of technology. Increase funding in tech.
A language that is needed today is Git. But also Python.
Text in your questions and answers
Turn in websites instead of Word docs
Virtual reality field trips
Social media usage in class? Facebook study groups or Tweet questions
[Students are required to] Create a program to answer math problems (the algorithms that I write will be show that I understand the math)
I videotap my studying and show the teacher how well I studied rather than test
Kids get a laptop – kids don’t have the technology that is required
Teachers have a say in what happens – things happen in schools that the teachers just have to go with
Anonymous question thing — some students don’t want to ask questions but they do have a question
Put kids with same interests in similar classes – if all students share an interest then they learn better
There should be hover boards at school
There should be less homework

Group #2 — (they clustered their ideas together where they saw common threads)

Less teacher lectures and more independent study
I wish schools would be more interactive — I think it would be cool, make it more a game, because school is boring
If schools would teach more learning styles and would let students research on their own more – but I’m home schooled so I don’t need to worry about that

Less paper, more typing – conservation
Allow us to bring tech to school
phones/personal technology in class
kahoot.it should be used more in schools
iPads or laptops used in schools
I wish you could take college courses online when you in junior high

Nuclear waste should be stored in Utah deserts to give more money to schools

I wish that there were maker libraries

I wish teachers as adults took kids more serious
More student input in school decisions

Less internet restrictions
Reduced browser control, more sites open

Available code classes from a younger age
I wish schools have optional coding classes
Teach students CODE!
I wish there were more tech classes in junior high

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