Around 2.8 million students study at German universities, each fulfilling their academic goals and preparing for their careers. But sadly, one in four students won’t complete their academic journey, choosing to drop out instead. A high dropout rate is one of the largest problems facing Germany’s higher education system. Almost 80% of student dropout is due to problems with the learning process – one that hasn’t changed over the past decades, leaving it hopelessly outdated. So, is there a solution?
The Vaia Hackathon: Helping Students Change the Future of Education
The problem of student dropout is solved best by those who experience it every day – university students. And that’s why we at Vaia (and as a university start-up ourselves) wanted to provide a platform for students to turn their own ideas for the future of education into reality.
On December 7, 2018, we invited more than 100 talented, interdisciplinary students to our Vaia Hackathon in Munich. We teamed up with academic institutions, partners, entrepreneurs, and politicians to equip students with the right tools to achieve their goals. Google engineers supported our technical development, and representatives from TUM (the Technical University of Munich) provided the necessary educational know-how. Representatives from our fantastic partner companies (Roland Berger, Deutsche Bahn, LV1871, and 71Circles) also provided students with continuous feedback and advice throughout the event.
100 Students. 4 Tracks. 2.8 Million Winners
During the Hackathon that focused on the theme “Digital University,” interdisciplinary teams had the opportunity to come up with a solution to one of the four presented challenges, and pitch to win prize money (750 Euros for first place). After a day of knowledge-sharing and innovating, each team presented their ideas in a start-up-like pitch. Our expert jury consisted of university leaders (TUM, University of Applied Science, and FOM), academic partners (Hochschulforum Digitalisierung, CDTM, UnternehmerTUM), members of the German parliament, and industry experts (Google, Universität Bayern e.V., LV1871).
It was truly inspiring to witness what participants were able to develop in a single day. From fully functional prototypes to ideas that intrigued industry experts, the presentations were diverse and game-changing. And even more importantly, multiple teams continue working on their idea to this day! That’s what we call #successforstudents! For more information on this event and the finalists, check out Vaia Hackathon: Digital University.
The four challenges (tracks) students had to find solutions to were designed to provide a holistic improvement of higher education. These were the tracks:
More than three million students have completed a semester abroad through the European program Erasmus, and students from other countries have become the norm on campuses across Germany. The dropout rates for international students remain higher than for local students, and international students often report difficulties in their first few weeks in their new host country. How can we make studying abroad as easy as studying at home?
WhatsApp, Facebook, Mail, Discord, Slack, Jodel. The opportunities to communicate in our day and age seem endless. Student networks, however, go far beyond chatting, encompassing possibilities to share and collaborate in the learning process. Effective communication should include not only students but also professors and universities. What should the student networks of tomorrow look like?
Text or video? Quiz or podcast? Although it ultimately comes down to personal preference, people tend to express a clear preference for videos and interactive formats. Therefore, one of the main questions in digital education is how can we transform content (such as text) into more fun and engaging formats on a grander scale? And how can we provide the relevant content for digital teaching methods?
Over the coming two decades, 47% of jobs could potentially be done by machines, and two-thirds of children entering elementary school today will work in jobs that do not yet exist. Consequently, universities have to prepare students for a world we don’t know yet. What are future skills, and how can universities teach them?
Help Us Revolutionize Education at the Next Vaia Hackathon
How did you find those challenges? Do you have some powerful ideas that could prove invaluable to education? If so, we’ve got plenty more Vaia Hackathons lined up for you to participate in! Join us at our next Hackathon to present your ideas on shaping the future of digital education (more information to follow!).
We’re always happy to welcome non-student participants to our event as well.
Looking forward to seeing you there – let’s revolutionize the future of education!