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Skipaclass Showcases IBC Hackfest Innovation

16 Nov 2016

2016 saw IBC hold its second hackfest, a live competition that sees groups of ‘hackers’ come together and brainstorm new ideas and technological solutions to help accelerate the future of the media industry.

This year, the teams were urged to think about the future of the city and, amongst an extremely strong field of competitors, the judges decided the winners of the €4,000 grand prize should be Skipaclass, a tool for online educators that uses Google’s Vision facial expression recognition API to provide teachers with intelligent feedback on how students react to different parts of the course.

What’s more, and as proof of the real-world robustness of the event, the Skipaclass project is continuing to evolve with the involvement of the University of Amsterdam amongst others.

Data Analyst Madli Uutma is spokesperson for the four-strong team of hackers behind the project, which also includes: Programmer, Itay Kinnrot; Data Analyst, Taavi Kivisik; and Creative Entrepreneur, Martijn Snelder.

“We decided to improve education by giving teachers more feedback on how students reacted to specific parts of the course,” she explains. “The teachers can use the feedback bar to understand which parts are difficult or enjoyable to watch for the students.”

“Since the competition we have received a lot of positive feedback and some collaboration opportunities. We decided to slowly continue working with the project.”

Skipaclass’ success in winning the competition, and attracting significant attention since, is made all the more remarkable by the fact that the team changed direction and abandoned an original idea to improve online learning after running into technical difficulties several hours in.

“By the evening we realised that we had to change our direction,” Madli explains. “We continued to work with our new idea until the early hours of the morning. As we all work a lot better after we have had some sleep, we had 5 – 6 hours of rest at night (some of us couldn’t sleep) and then continued working on the product the next day.

“The atmosphere was friendly and supportive,” she continues. “We enjoyed getting to know people from different countries and we hope to see them in future hackfests.”

Before then, though, work with Skipaclass continues.

“After the hackfest, we got in touch with the ACE Venture Lab at the University of Amsterdam,” says Madli. “They have helped us think about future funding and about startup incubators we can be a part of. I am also continuing to work with the idea as part of my Data Driven Business and Entrepreneurship class and in the Flying Dutch Young Entrepreneurs programme.”

The team is currently testing out the concept further: both working on what behavioural indicators should be included to most effectively track student response and contacting prospective clients to gain feedback.

As for the plans for next year’s IBC2017 Hackfest, watch this space!

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