Lincoln Labs’ Hackathons to Generate Ideas to Improve Education

Lincoln Labs, a leading online technology company, is looking to affect education policy by hosting free “hackathons” to help accelerate education reforms in Florida and nationwide. Lincoln Labs plans to combine forces with students, teachers and education advocates to build applications that improve Florida’s education system and develop models that schools and states elsewhere can learn from.

The Liberty Hackathon: Reforming Education will take place from October 11 through October 12 in Miami, according to Nancy Dahlberg of Miami Herald, and Lincoln Labs thinks Miami is the perfect place to start:

“Florida is ground zero for education reform. The technology community in Florida and around the country can help to accelerate and amplify the reach of these reforms. We are hosting Liberty Hackathon: Reforming Education in Miami in order to promote disruptive innovation at the important intersection of education and technology,” said Garrett Johnson, who is co-founder of, noting that while college tuition rates have soared, the U.S. still ranks low globally in high school math and science.

Johnson, who is co-founder of, believes that running hackathons for education is personal. is a venture-backed startup that is replacing antiquated land-line business phone systems with elegant, eco-friendly web and mobile apps, according to Lincoln Labs’ website, and that its operations could offer guidance to schools.

Hackathons are technology competitions where engineers and non-technical participants propose ideas, form teams, build functional applications and design distribution models within a fixed time period. Immediately following the end of the working phase of the competition, a panel of judges listens to short pitches delivered by each team and determines winners.

Johnson said they are seeking any idea related to secondary or higher education for both domestic and international markets. Students can propose computer or web applications that help teachers improve their skills, teach students to study more productively, make schools safer or better connect the stakeholders in the educational system, for instance.

The free 24-hour hackathon will start October 11 at Venture Hive. The winners will be awarded $5,000 in prizes.

Judges will include: Peter Kellner of Richmond Global; Xavier Gonzalez of the Technology Foundation of the Americas; Madeline Pumariega, chief executive officer (CEO) of Take Stock in Children; and Miguel Alonso Jr. of Miami Dade College’s School of Engineering.

The company is also hosting a two-day virtual hackathon from October 7 through October 9. It is open to anyone 18 and older in the United States, and teams can submit a video of their hack for judging, with $5,000 in prizes given for that contest as well.

We hosted the first ever Liberty Hackathon in June 2013 at Eventbrite’s San Francisco offices. With over 150 engineers, designers and entrepreneurs participating, the event was a HUGE success….plus teams walked away with$5000 in cash prizes. We’ve decided to take the show on the road! We’re looking for the best innovators to make cool stuff and who want to make a positive impact on societal well-being and individual liberty, according to Lincoln Labs’ website.

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