Friday, February 21, 2014

Hacking is not what you thought it was

In preparing for our high school's first ever hackathon, I've thought about the typical thoughts associated with hacking. At our school, it typically means breaking into an existing system. However, I'd like to change that notion.

As hackathons spring up around the educational arena, I've seen a shift in definition. Rather than being a negative connotation (breaking into and stealing), it's about working together to solve a problem - to change an existing system.

Student, Logan LaPlante, has it right when he describes his model school - one where students use hacking to change existing systems - to find new ways - to create - to innovate. All of the things we want our students to do and to become.

However, before we can use such a model, we need to change our students' and teachers' definitions of hacking. Once, sharing and borrowing ideas was considered a negative thing. Now, our culture thrives on crowdsourcing and on sharing ideas.

So, in preparing for this hackathon, I want our students and teachers to understand hacking is not finding ways to steal information, but rather a way to change an existing system and to find a better, more efficient way of doing something. In fact, you may even find a solution to an unsolved problem!

Stay tuned as we chronicle our high school's journey to our first ever hackathon in honor of teen tech week.

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