While they have not been rigorously documented for learning outcomes, hackathons expose students to new directions of study and opportunity (Duhring, 2014). They offer a project-oriented and active learning environment.
Recent Copernicus hackathon held in Zagreb, Croatia was an event that proved the potential and real value of this type of active learning. It was the biggest Copernicus hackathon in Europe up to now and gathered 21 teams, including, for the first time, 9 high school teams.
Even though this hackathon was not directly connected to the classroom, the impact was and will be in the formal education process. For example, pupils of XV Gymnasium in Zagreb self-organized their 300 peers to participate in data preparation for their project. Ideas developed there will continue to live and will be further developed through exercises, seminars and thesis. Most teams were also interdisciplinary, connecting different professionals around solving one task.
SPIDER team was represented on this hackathon by Ulrike Klein and Dražen Tutić and together with Nikola Kranjčić and Ružica Krstić won the second main prize – EU Copernicus Accelerator with the idea of GeoTwins – application for matching spaces across Europe. This experience as participants will be used further for developing active teaching and learning methods during the SPIDER project.
Copernicus data is one of the mainstream open spatial data infrastructures in Europe and belongs to a new generation of SDI which is not focused only on making data available but is strongly driven with usage, users, applications as well as societal and economic development.