How we organized our first hackathon

It’s been such a long time since the last time someone considered hosting a local hackathon in Upper Egypt especially in my small hometown “Sohag”, and since I had previous experience on how to plan and organize such events, Me and a couple of friends decided to experiment with the idea and this is how it happened:

I’ve read a lot of articles about people entering their first hackathons, but this is my first time organizing one, and I wanted to share the experience with you during those three days, and what I gained from it.

Our hackathon’s main topic was Helping Education
And our goal was to help raise the technical and business experience levels of undergraduate students inside our city.

kickoff was very brief and then we proceeded with the rest of our schedule since our first day was about ideation and team building

Ideation Day

The hackathon was organized to have activities, workshops, and free hours in between to make room to code the prototype.

Activities and free hours were hosted in two office spaces prepared specially for the required activity, while the workshops were hosted in a lecture room designed to have better sound quality and presentation tools.

First day ended with four teams competing for the trophy, each team consisted of 5 members, and each of these teams had their idea ready for the second day.

Prototyping day

Second day was all about prototyping and also designing a business plan so the hackathon mentors were guiding the teams separately through different tasks and goals, while helping the members polish their ideas for the last day.

The second day ended with the qualified finalists, Only two teams could advance to the final stage.

Presentation Day

Presentation day was finally here, we had 5 hours earlier in the day designed for the team to prepare their pitch and finalize their prototypes.

The pitching began soon after, and this what our finalist ideas looked like:

Class EYE Project

Team: OCEAN 7
Idea: This project is basically a system that assists both teachers and students inside classrooms to maintain a high concentration level and good understanding of their goals inside the learning process.

Prototype: A machine learning model that analyzes classroom camera stream for kindergarten students and points out different behavioral patterns from students and noticing how much they need extra help inside the classroom.

AI Tech Agency Project

Team: Life Logs
Idea: This project is a complimentary website to educational institutions, this website handles students attendance, providing access to different subjects syllabus, and an anti-cheating alarm system.

Prototype: A Website that links to a camera and takes attendance for students using face recognition while making sure they’re wearing their masks and gives them live feedback on the website, providing their proper class material.

And in the end of our competition, Professional judges determined the winner of our competition rating them on pitch delivery, Innovation, and prototype accuracy. revealing the winner to be Team Life Logs

As an organizer for this hackathon, my experience was extremely fulfilling and exciting, I think watching people change their mindset and skillset in three days is always refreshing.

This experience kind of counts as my first time being a program manager with real responsibilities and handling an operation team, seeking results and beneficial feedback from all participants, also reporting this experience and documenting this fruitful event.

Hope you had a wonderful time reading this, felt the energy that we cultivated during our hackathon and saw even how small cities can have amazing challengers ready to compete!

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