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Contest Calls on Developers to Impact Education

DonorsChoose.org is holding a competition in which developers and analysts are asked to use their talents to "engage the public and impact education" using data the organization has opened to the public. Factual, a company that offers a platform for developing with open data, is providing free access to the data DonorsChoose.org has compiled over the years.

DonorsChoose.org is on online charity that connects public school classrooms with donors who are looking to fund specific types of programs. Teachers can post requests for supplies, technologies, books, or other types of materials, and donors can choose to fund all or part of those requests. To date, some 1.12 million donations have been made through the site; 63 percent of teachers' requests posted have received full funding. In 2010, funding topped $26 million, up from less than $18 million in 2009 and $10 million in 2008. In total, $82.6 million has been granted, according to the organization's published statistics.

The contest, Hacking Education, includes competitions in seven individual categories--one for data analysis and six for development.

For the data analysis competition, participants are asked to analyze the data made available by DonorsChoose.org to identify trends that could positively impact schools, such as how donations impact students, what types of proposals attract donors, etc. The winner in the data analysis category will receive a $1,000 DonorsChoose.org gift card and other prizes.

App development categories include Javascript, .NET, PHP, Python, Ruby, "wildcard." One prize package will be awarded in each category. Prizes vary, but all include a $1,000 DonorsChoose.org gift card, plus software, training/professional development, and hardware.

One "big winner" will be selected from all of the individual winners in each category.

Sponsors include Adobe, Best Buy, Column FIve, Google, Joyent, JumpstartLab, Microsoft, O'Reilly, and Webtrends.

The contest opened earlier this month. Submissions will be accepted through June 30. Additional information, rules, discussion boards, a developer/API guide, and contest rules can be accessed on the DonorsChoose.org Hacking Education portal here.

About the Author

David Nagel is the executive producer for 1105 Media's online K-12 and higher education publications and electronic newsletters. He can be reached at dnagel@1105media.com. He can now be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/THEJournalDave (K-12) or http://twitter.com/CampusTechDave (higher education). You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=10390192.

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