Holding onto our impressions of the Inno4Edu hackathon, we decided to introduce you to the young innovators who devoted their time and energy to create something new for the next generations during the hackathon.
The teams were tasked with the challenge to create games for children between the ages of 3 to 10. Accompanied by passionate mentors, the young programmers, graphic designers and teachers had 3 days to develop fun and creative games for kids!
Let’s introduce you to the 7 teams!
Team Hide and Seek — The adventures of The Pencil Case Society
The team Hide & Seek are the winning teams of this hackathon! They are one of the teams who stayed up late, and tirelessly devoted themselves to the creation of the game.
“We’re all pretty committed to making something that will look good and function well. We want to make something engaging and of good quality, and that’s the main thing that connects us. We’re all interested in our area of expertise, whether that’s programming or graphic design, and we all want to see how this will turn out in the end, what our final product will look like.”
The team Hide & Seek have created an immense fictional world in their game. We find ourselves in an imaginary planet, where The Pencil Case Society, a group of animated stationery objects are faced with a number of challenges. The backpack needs to recognize a number of geometrical shapes and fill the holes on the road using them, the pencil needs to solve mathematical problems and jump to the correct answer, whereas the paintbrush needs to correctly paint the canvas and reach the goal.
Team Creatives — Transforming the way kids learn about traffic lights
“First and foremost, we want children to have fun while learning the basic rules of getting around outside and crossing the streets, an essential to know in everyday life. We hope it will come in handy since safety is one of the most important things in that period of children’s lives. Learning through fun is also important!”
The game follows a story, in which the main characters Jana and Jane guide the players and show them the correct way to cross the street, seeing them as role-models for children to look-up to. The main task is to arrive at the school by crossing three streets. With every passed level, more streets need to be crossed and the higher the frequency of the vehicles, all the while respecting the traffic light rules.
Team Unique — Re-inventing the play with colors
“We feel Unique as a team, since this isn’t our first time working together. We feel great confidence in what we’re doing, so we say “Bring it on!” ”
It is true that this team managed to uniquely re-invent a well-known game in Macedonia for learning colors and created a digital version out of it. This game works on developing the motor and cognitive skills in children, by enabling the practice of distinguishing colors. The objects chosen for color recognition are fruits and vegetables, which are often well-known for their shape and color and are easily distinguishable. As a cool result, this game also indirectly encourages children to eat more fruits and vegetables.
Team Omega — Learning about instruments through the world of Notko, the cheerful music note
“For our game, we chose the topic of music, more specifically, the chance of getting to know the Macedonian traditional instruments, through which children can grow to like our instruments, and grow an interest for our traditional music, culture and values. In music class when we were kids, we always wanted to learn about the piano or the guitar, rather than the gajda or dajre. That’s why we want to create a game, where children can learn about our traditional instruments in a fun way.”
We are guided through the game by the made-up character Notko, who is guiding the children and giving them instructions for the game. It is presented in the form of a quiz, where the players hear an excerpt of an instrument, and they need to guess which one is being played. The goal of this game is for children to learn the Macedonian traditional instruments, to recognize them by ear, and to get a general sense of rhythm at the same time.
Team Mati — Exploring the mysterious Hollow City
“We are tackling mathematics as a school subject. The idea for the name came at the very end, and it’s called Hollow City. We started with the final parts of the story and developed it from there, moving toward its beginning. We already had the idea in mind, created it piece by piece, added more features to it, and in the end we had a game!”
The idea behind the game “Hollow City” is that it starts almost completely empty. As the game is played, the city fills up with activities and games, forming developed districts inside of it: an environmental district, a transport district, a fun district and a district containing the well of the city. The main character of the game — Mati, introduces the players to the world of mathematics, as he travels along all districts. The environmental district is built with the idea of teaching children green habits, offering the opportunity to plant trees in designated geometrical shapes, thus aiding the children in the creation of new values and a sense of responsibility and care for the environment.
Team Kikos’s Teachers — Re-imagining learning with colours
“The motivation for this game came from the need to incorporate alternative approaches in education, which encourage children’s development in a more interactive and innovative way. With the creation of this game we also hope to leave some kind of trace in the memories of future generations.”
The idea for this game is for children to learn about primary and secondary colors in art class. Through this, they can learn how to mix primary colors into secondary ones and create various shades with them. It also has a feature where children can learn to use watercolors, experiment with them and see the effect they leave on the empty canvas.
Team Happy Family — Recognizing emotions in a family environment
The game’s main focus is the development and recognition of emotions, which children learn in a family environment. The emotions incorporated in this game are: joy, sadness, anger, pleasure and pain. The team made this game easy to follow, where players can learn the emotions by playing the game, in the form of a story. There are a number of family situations, with each situation depicting a specific emotion which can be either positive or negative. The main focus of this game is to work on the social and emotional development of children, while at the same time encourage the formation of family values, empathy, independent reasoning and problem-solving skills.
“There is a kind of connection in our team, a positive vibe you could call it. The good organization, the mutual agreement. We all want this project to continue long-term and we can confidently say that everyone in this team gave their full contribution, whether that’s from a technical, visionary or educational aspect.”
Those are all the teams! Who said young people can’t engage and develop amazing things for the greater good!
What are the next steps?
Some of the teams have expressed their interest to continue with the technical development of the games. At the moment we have an open call for content creators, game and audio developers as well as graphic designers, for further development of new and existing games. In the next few months, the national education platform mentioned above will also be developed, with a vision to expand it throughout the Balkan Peninsula.
This hackathon is part of the project “Setting up an enabling environment for improving quality teaching and learning through co-creation and innovation” #Inno4Edu which is funded by the United Kingdom Government through the British Embassy in Skopje, supported by the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy, Ministry of Education and Science, Bureau for Education development and UNICEF, and implemented by SmartUp — Social Innovation Lab.