Creative Constructor
Lab Virtual
Leadership Exchange
at ISTELive 21
Edtech Advocacy &
Policy Summit

Hands-on Mini Hackathon: Prototyping for Global Challenges

Explore and create
Pre-registration required

Explore and create : BYODex

Sunday, June 23, 12:30–2:00 pm
Location: Franklin 11-12-13, Marriott

Luke Persaud   Caitlin Quarrington  
Want to do a hackathon in just 90 minutes? Learn how a design sprint and rapid prototyping activities can show students of any age how to leverage digital skills and technology to create innovative solutions for challenges, including the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

Audience: Coaches, Curriculum/district specialists, Teachers
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices useful
Attendee device specification: Smartphone: Windows, Android, iOS
Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Tablet: Android, iOS, Windows
Participant accounts, software and other materials: For more senior-level teachers attending (Grades 9-12), the prototyping option using Arduino components may be selected, which incorporates QR codes as part of the materials. Having a QR reader app downloaded prior to this session would be beneficial. For more junior-level teachers attending (K-Grade 8), the prototyping option using Scratch or ScratchJr may be selected; downloading these programs prior to the session is recommended. Further, any Internet-ready device supports this session; a limited number of devices will be available on loan.
Focus: Digital age teaching & learning
Topic: Project-, problem- and challenge-based learning
Grade level: 6-12
Subject area: STEM/STEAM, Computer science
ISTE Standards: For Educators:
  • Create experiences for learners to make positive, socially responsible contributions and exhibit empathetic behavior online that build relationships and community.
  • Use technology to create, adapt and personalize learning experiences that foster independent learning and accommodate learner differences and needs.
  • Explore and apply instructional design principles to create innovative digital learning environments that engage and support learning.

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

How do we shift students from consumers to producers of technology, able to leverage their digital skills to create solutions for local and global challenges? This session presents one approach for engaging students at any grade in hands-on, innovative prototyping. Participants in the session will actively work through a "mini hackathon" version of what students can complete in the classroom, and by the conclusion of the session, be equipped with specific activities that introduce the innovation design process and project ideas to support students exploring the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Beginning with the pillars of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and the design thinking cycle, participants will model two tasks for generating a larger volume of creative ideas (Crazy 8s and Dotmocracy); this is followed by rapid prototyping in small groups where technology is incorporated into solutions for the SDGs. A gallery walk at the conclusion of the session will permit sharing among participants and promote iterating on project ideas, maximizing professional learning. Two streams for prototyping are provided based on the grade(s) taught and ability of participants: a beginner/entry level using storyboarding with Scratch/ScratchJr, and a more advanced level using Arduino components for paper prototyping.


Introduction (15 min): Facilitator-driven to introduce Universal Design for Learning (UDL), the innovation design process and how it connects to design thinking, and how these models promote student-centred learning and support differentiated instruction.

Ideation (15 min): Two quick activities (Crazy 8s, Dotmocracy) are introduced as tools that can be used in the classroom to promote rapid generation of ideas to face a problem. Participants will be given a specific challenge inspired by one of the Sustainable Development Goals (e.g., how can we reduce single-use plastic straw use?) and then create 8 solutions in 8 minutes, followed by voting using the dotmocracy method. This is a collaborative process in small groups.

Prototyping Phase (45 min): Selecting from one of the Sustainable Development Goals, participants will create a rapid prototype of a potential student project that would incorporate technology into a solution for that goal. Project prototypes can be either storyboarded using Scratch/ScratchJr, done via paper prototype, or use micro-controller/Arduino cue cards (provided by facilitators) to show a more advanced tech-based project.

Gallery Walk & Wrap-Up (15 min): Sharing amongst all participants and discussion of next steps - how do we translate this experience into classroom action? How can this be modified to unique learning environments across multiple subjects and grades?

Supporting research

Innovation Design process, Dotmocracy & Design Sprints:

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals:

More [+]


Luke Persaud, Toronto District School Board & Actua

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