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01 October 2019

SIMO EDUCATION presents the first hackathon, aimed at promoting programming in schools

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The grand final will be held on the 6 November at SIMO EDUCATION, and it is expected that over 100 Primary and Secondary finalist centres will be attending

The purpose of the I TXACkathon SIMO EDUCATION is to promote development of computational thinking among Primary and Secondary School students in Spanish-speaking countries.

The upcoming edition of SIMO EDUCATION, to be held from the 5 to 7 November at Feria de Madrid, will host the I TXACkathon SIMO EDUCATION, organised jointly with the University of Malaga. It is aimed for Primary and Secondary School students from Spanish-speaking countries, and its goal is to promote the development of computational thinking in schools.

The TXACkathon is an initiative promoted by the Higher Technical School of Computer Engineering of the University of Malaga and it uses the programming e-learning platform ToolboX.Academy (TXAC), created by Francisco Vico, professor of Artificial Intelligence at the University of Malaga. A hackathon (a contraction of “hacker” and “marathon”) is a meeting of programmers with the aim to design software solutions as a group and within a specific period of time.

As Francisco Vico explains: “A hackathon tests the knowledge on system programming and administration of a group of developers, as well as their capability to work as a team to resolve a specific task”.

One month of programming in the classroom

Schools can participate in the I TXACkathon SIMO EDUCATION in two ways: in-person or online. In both cases they must register their teams on the website ToolboX.Academy.

The I TXACkathon SIMO EDUCATION comprises two stages: an eight-hour training course, held throughout October at the centres themselves that includes different tests to be passed in the classroom; and the final stage, the hackathon itself, which will be held in one of the IFEMA halls on the 6 November.

The final stage of the I TXACkathon SIMO EDUCATION consists of solving a series a programming tasks within the ToolboX.Academy environment. Each of them requires performing a specific program and the platform will automatically determine whether the task has been resolved. The TXACkathon is considered passed if all of the tasks are resolved within the given time.

The jury panel will select the finalists (from each category) from the projects that pass the TXACkathon, depending on their originality and time required. One project from each age group will be rewarded: Bit (5 to 8 years-old), Byte (9 to 11 years-old), Word (12 to 14 years-old) and Doubleword (15 to 18 years-old) with a certificate, trophy and technological prizes such as Casio graphic calculators.

TXACkathon Bootcamp

The teachers who supervise the participating groups from each school and are chosen for the grand final in Madrid will also be rewarded with the exclusive inscription in the TXACkathon Bootcamp. “A workshop for ICT teachers that will show how to teach the basis of Artificial Intelligence in Secondary School, with the ToolboX.Academy”, stated Vico. This event will take place on the same day of the TXACkathon at SIMO EDUCATION.

Technology in equality

Lola Gonzalez, director of SIMO EDUCATION, explained: “this I TXACkathon is held within the fair's commitment to gender equality in learning STEAM subjects. The main initiative for this is I.T. Girl, aimed at promoting gender equality and empowering girls in the ICT environment”.

I.T. Girl will contain initiatives by institutions and companies that promote gender equality and women joining the ICT environment, such as inspiring lectures for teachers, good practises and a round table organised by INTEF (National Institute of Education Technologies and Teacher Training).