Hawaii STEM Conference adopts virtual hackathon

Hawaii STEMworks Students and Local Industry Mentors Collaborate on New Innovation-Learning Platform to Design Oyster Cages


The upcoming Hawaii STEM Conference 2020 will be using the online project-based learning platform BizzyB.com to run a virtual hackathon to design an oyster cage for Malama Maunalua’s new aquaculture initiative.

The hackathon will take place May 8-9, 2020 from 10am-5pm, with a number of tech prizes awarded to winning teams. While online registration closed on April 24, 2020, interested intermediate and high school students may still participate by emailing katie@medb.org directly.

“Like so many beloved events during this time, we needed to cancel the Hawaii STEM Conference 2020 for the safety of our communities. In the days following, teachers and students reached out to express their disappointment at missing this opportunity for professional development and meaningful engagement with industry leaders,” said Katie Taladay, STEMworks Program Manager. “We began looking for opportunities to bring the highlights from the annual meeting to life virtually – particularly the Hackathon portion.”

“We are extremely excited to partner with BizzyB and Malama Maunalua to bring the STEMworks’ yearly hackathon challenge to our kids virtually,” she added.

By participating in hands-on concept development activities, students will learn creative problem-solving and other “soft skills” that are increasingly demanded in the business world.

BizzyB, an innovative, Hawaii-designed software platform will allow the team members to collaborate remotely. During the hackathon, teams of 2 to 5 participants will hear from other organizations who have developed and deployed their own oyster cages and learn about the native Hawaiian plants that were used in the past for fishing. The students will test their scientific, engineering design skills as they research and design solutions.

“When schools began closing due to Coronavirus, we made BizzyB entirely free for the rest of the school year,” says BizzyB author and Bizgenics Foundation Chairman Steve Sue. “Through HIplan of Hilo, the University of Hawaii and Hawaii Community College stepped up to take advantage of our offer. The result was an amazing 100 percent virtual hackathon which took remote learning and education in Hawaii to a new level. We are excited to see it now benefit STEMworks and Malama Maunalua as well.”

BizzyB’s approach combines self-directed learning, 4Cs learning (Creativity, Critical-Thinking, Collaboration & Communication), STEM learning (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) and SEL (Social Emotional Learning). The result is an online innovation Concept Canvas where student teams collaborate on five essential themes of an innovation project. This canvas supports remote collaboration via sidebar comment channels, built-in feedback surveys, pitch deck builder and showcase presentation functions.

Team members also experience corporate leadership roles serving as facilitators of the five themes. And mentors can view team content and advise remotely from anywhere, anytime.

Educators and participants are invited to observe the event. Email katie@medb.org for an auditor access. A link to a recorded version of the showcase will also be published following the event.

The event is sponsored by Microsoft, Office of Naval Research, Air Force Research Laboratory, County of Maui, Maui Economic Development Board Ke Alahele Education Fund, Hawaiian Electric, CyberHawaii, and ESRI. It is being produced by STEMworks in partnership with Malama Maunalua and Bizgenics Foundation.

About STEMworks

STEMworksTM is an innovative, impactful, and relevant approach to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education! Founded in 2000, STEMworks is a 501(c)3 initiative of the Maui Economic Development Board, with a mission to educate and empower teachers and students with the professional skills they need to enter and build the STEM workforce in Hawaii. More than 40,000 students have been reached through the STEMworks program.

About Bizgenics

Bizgenics Foundation is a Hawaii-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit that seeks to empower all people to discover unique personal skills and learn positive social values to catalyze a bright future. Bizgenics specializes in creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship K-12 student programs including Lemonade Alley, Project Lemon Tree, and BizzyB.com. Learn more at bizgenics.org.

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