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Unleashing Innovation At The 2023 Hackathon

Students sitting in a large hall working in groups during a Hackathon

Nexus School recently hosted the much-anticipated 2023 Hackathon, a two-day event full of creativity, collaboration, and cutting-edge ideas. 

 

This year’s theme, “Empowering the Nexus Community,” echoed the school’s commitment to education as a transformative force. It unleashed the creativity of our learners to think and develop solutions using technology and innovation to enhance the Nexus experience for everyone involved — learners, teachers, parents, and staff.

Collaborations Between Year Groups

From the get-go, the learners wasted no time and began by breaking into teams across different year groups. The first day was then spent brainstorming, ideating, and developing prototypes. 

 

It was amazing to see the learners collaborating across year groups and the confidence they displayed. Working in a team setting during the hackathon helped the learners to develop collaboration and teamwork skills. They learn to leverage each team member’s strengths, communicate effectively, and contribute collectively to the project. The learners were encouraged to think outside the box, explore unconventional solutions, and push the boundaries of what they know.

The Pitch

At the end of day two, the learners were challenged to present their pitches to a panel of judges. Each group put together a detailed presentation, with some groups even creating prototypes of their product and marketing materials.

 

The panel of judges consisted of members of the Nexus community Mr. Vinod Joseph, Chief Technologist for Mobile Wireless, and Mr. Yoga Nandiwardhana, who works at Google, along with Mr. Duncan, Deputy Head of Secondary School.

After the pitches, the three judges had the difficult task of sifting through all the brilliant ideas, expressing how tricky it was to pick out the winners from such a creative bunch.

Mr. Vinod told the learners “What I’m seeing here is what I would expect from someone with 10-15 years of experience. I employ graduates and do not see this level of skill.” Out of the many wonderful ideas we saw, the follow teams were recognised for their winning solutions: 

Best Overall Idea: Nexus Loans

An app that facilitates the borrowing and returning of items within the school, enhancing accountability and resource sharing.

Best Design: InterNexus

A service that uses social media for educational purposes, connecting learners based on interests and expertise, creating a sense of community.

Best Impact: Big Campus

An app that solves the challenge of navigating through the school’s big campus as a new learner by directing learners and teachers to their classes using 3D models and maps.

Best Pitch: Team Crackerz

An app that aims to speed up cafeteria queues by allowing pre orders and flexible payment options.

Next Steps and Future Expansion

The event was truly amazing, filled with exciting and brilliant projects from our learners. What stood out was their independence and proactive approach to taking charge of their learning journey.

 

Mr. Duncan shared that he was impressed with the learners, stating, “The learners demonstrated a tremendous level of insight into enhancing their experience at Nexus and supporting the broader community. Their consideration of various school functions, from Learner Services to our Academic Staff and parents, showcased a thoughtful approach to understanding how their ideas could benefit different facets of our school community.”

 

There are active discussions with the Nexus Senior Leadership Team to explore how they can effectively develop and execute the winning ideas. Following the enthusiasm and interest this year, there are intentions to expand the event next year!

Insights From The Winners:

Vedant (Best Design):
Shared insights into the creation of “InterNexus,” emphasising the importance of student connectivity in reducing stress and anxiety.

“Our idea, InterNexus, was created as a way to empower the community by creating a website through which learners throughout Nexus could find others like them with similar interests online. By ensuring interconnectedness within the community, it reduces the stress and anxiety of going to high school. At first, we had decided that our idea would be in relation to connecting the students in Nexus. Joining last year, I understood how difficult and stress-inducing it can be to join a new school with a new environment with different students and teachers. As a result, it seemed fitting to create a place where students could interact with each other and talk about possible struggles and achievements in school.”

Mohan (Best Impact):

Discussed the motivation behind “Big Campus,” highlighting the learning experiences gained and the importance of collaboration.

“Basically, since I was a new student at Nexus, I had some trouble navigating the school. I don’t have that problem anymore but my friends/parents do sometimes get confused on which way to go. Hence, I thought that this was a good problem to solve. We kind of decided on this issue after getting a teacher’s advice (although one of my teammates was a little sceptical about this problem. To be honest, I learned about different perspectives of people and I learned about how sometimes life will be unfair to you, even if you work hard. I also learned that the friends that you make now will last a lifetime.”

Lucca (Best Pitch):

Delved into the cafeteria queuing challenge, emphasising the project’s practicality and the joy of presenting innovative ideas.

“Our team’s idea was a solution to the cafeteria issue of speed, since we can’t do anything about the prices that the supplier offers. We proposed a solution that would work akin to a fast food ordering kiosk, if you ever ordered at one of those. There would be a main menu to order some food, a checkout system that allowed payment by credit cards, learner/Ez-link cards, and a pay-later function, which would allow for payment to be allowed later. Learners sometimes don’t have enough – perhaps they thought they did but they didn’t, maybe they needed to go home by bus today, but they also needed food. The kiosk would still ensure that the cafeteria would eventually get their money back, with the looming threat of parent/teacher notifications.”

Hannah (Best Overall Idea):

Described “Nexus Loans,” focusing on the teamwork, design skills, and valuable lessons learned.

“NexusLoans is an app we created to aid the borrowing and returning of items in school. Similar to a library, students can loan and return items such as uniforms, equipment, and cafeteria slip all through a couple clicks of a button.”

Wrapping Up the Nexus 2023 Hackathon

Although the Nexus 2023 Hackathon is over, it was a dynamic and immersive learning experience that goes beyond traditional classroom settings, offering learners a chance to apply their knowledge in practical and impactful ways.

 

We would like to say a huge thank you to all the staff, learners, and parents involved. Your energy, ideas, and teamwork made this event truly special.

Hemangi Ahire, Computer Science Learning Area Leader (Secondary)

Hemangi Ahire, Computer Science Learning Area Leader (Secondary)

Hemangi is a dedicated Computer Science educator with a Master's in Education (Learning Sciences and Technologies). With multiple years of experience teaching in renowned IB international schools in Singapore, she values student relationships, embodying a teaching philosophy that emphasises caring before knowledge.

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Nexus International School (Singapore) © All rights reserved.

CPE Registration No. 201009668C, 21 March 2023 to 20 March 2027

All information is correct at time of upload and is subject to change.