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Contest Calls on Developers to Impact Education 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 has compiled over the years. 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 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 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 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 Hacking Education portal here.

About the Author

David Nagel is the former editorial director of 1105 Media's Education Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal, STEAM Universe, and Spaces4Learning. A 30-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art, marketing, media, and business publications.

He can be reached at [email protected]. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at .