Each year, the European commission creates a worldwide hackaton (DigiEduHack) to find new digital education solutions.
We decided to participate, as it was a new and interesting opportunity for us. Our team was composed of 5 people, all studying Human-Computer Interaction but from different backgrounds:
- Carretta Riccardo (computer science)
- Coppola Francesco (computer science)
- Paludo Giulia (psychology)
- Rizzi Teresa (psychology)
- Vincoli Martina (design / computer science)
The solution had to be sent in 24 hours. All solutions were then judged by the EU commission within a couple months. The best 12 were chosen and had to be voted publicly.
The three most voted solutions would win 5000€ each.
There was no limit in technology or tools that could be used, but we had to keep in mind its implementation in a real world.
Therefore we wanted an easy, useful and original enough idea for education.
Our initial target were children from 6 to 14, but then we started to think bigger. We wanted it to be something useful for everyone, ranging from primary school to university. It had to be scalable.
We started from the idea of cards that could display digital information.
Initially, we brainstormed simple applications with math or chemistry, but then we broadened our view to every school subject.
We wanted to allow children to understand basic concepts (like fusions of colors) but also advanced university students to manipulate and visualize complex topics (like interactions between atoms and molecules).
Our cards had to display every kind of information, but most importantly be able to interact with each other.
We came up with the idea of cards shaped as hexagons (that's why we chose the name "Hachi", which means "bee" in Japanese) that enable to be connected with other cards in each of its 6 sides.
We created a basic prototype in Flutter (for an iPad) where two different cards representing a colored sphere (like yellow and blue) would merge into a new colored sphere (green).
We proposed other features like allowing teachers to program their own cards, so that a 3D model can be associated with a card along with the different interactions with the other cards.
Our solutions provides improvements for digital education in different ways:
- by using an iPad (or a generic touch device), children or elderly people get more comfortable with digital tools
- by "using the hands", users also learn through physical movements
- users can get creative and try different interactions, or create their own to share knowledge
Furthermore, a collaborative card sharing online platform may be created.
We sent our idea and we were chosen between the 12 finalists.
After 2 weeks of votations, we won the hackaton with 465 votes.
Brainstorming is a crucial part when you need to refine your ideas.
People with different backgrounds grant different views, bringing improvements that benefit everyone. A good combination of skills and coordination can prevent unnecessary discussions and leave more time to actual work.
Understanding the problems / weak spots that may appear in your solution is an important part of the design process.
It's impossible to create a perfect solution in 24 hours, but enough pressure and caffeine can surprise anyone, even ourselves.