Services & Software

Facebook and Gates Foundation host education hackathon

Dubbed "HackEd," the two tech giants come together to rally developers to create apps that will help students get into college and stay there.

Facebook and the Gates Foundation host "HackEd" at Facebook's campus.

Facebook partnered with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation today to host an education-centered hackathon called "HackEd."

The goal of "HackEd" is to kick-off the Gates Foundation's new $2.5 million investment fund called the College Knowledge Challenge. The fund is dedicated to getting developers to build apps for students that would assist them in navigating the college process -- this means helping young folks get into school and stay there.

"At Facebook, we believe that a more open and connected world can have a big impact in addressing some of society's biggest issues," the social network wrote in a blog post about "HackEd" today. "Nowhere is that opportunity more clear than education."

The hackathon hosted around 150 developers, nonprofits, technologists, and education experts who worked together to figure out what would be beneficial in an app for college-goers.

According to Facebook, these are the three areas that the apps were meant to focus on:

  • Academic Support: Building social capital and an academically supportive peer group.
  • Financial Aid: Navigating the college admissions, financial aid, and matching processes.
  • Academic Pathways: Seeing themselves as college graduates and developing personal pathways to graduation.

A panel of judges finally voted on the best apps that fit this criteria. "In the age of social media, we have an opportunity to achieve real progress right now on key issues in education," Facebook wrote in the blog post.