Philippine Team from UP wins 2nd Place at International Hackathon

December 03rd, 2020

A Philippine Team has bagged victory as Top 2 in a recent global hackathon that aims to address digital inclusion in the education sector, competing against hundreds of teams from 30 countries

Team Optimizing Optimism was one of the 150 teams across 30 countries that participated in the Digital Inclusion Challenge 2020 organized by Toronto-based tech company from October 23 to November 1.

Digital Inclusion Challenge 2020 

The Digital Inclusion Challenge is a 10-day annual hackathon open internationally in which teams of 2-6 students create viable solutions to their annual problem statement through work collaboration and mentorship. 

This year, the challenge’s theme was “Embracing Digital Education For All”. According to its website, its aim is to “create new technology solutions for the education sector which will address mental health, digital wellness, equity, and diversity issues and empower a challenge to the status-quo and enable educational success for all children globally.”

Team Optimizing Optimism is composed of 5 undergraduate students of interdisciplinary fields from the University of the Philippines Diliman and 1 student from Hindu College, India: 

Miguel Balao (BS Economics) 

Gianna Burgos (BS Computer Science) 

Jamila Domingo (BS Business Administration and Accounting) 

Kayla Tiongson (BS Community Nutrition) 

Jelena Garcia (BS Business Administration) 

Savinay Sharma (Statistics, Hindu College) 

By the end of the 10 days, the team submitted their solution to the organizers and eventually made it to the Top 10.

On November 7, team leader Miguel Balao and prototype developer Gianna Burgos presented their team’s solution to an esteemed panel of judges and hundreds of other viewers. This panel included 15 professionals who are leaders in their respective fields of expertise such as UN Assistant Secretary General and head of New York Office at UNEP Satya Tripathi, Canadian Senator Colin Deacon, and Global Education Policy Lead for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Asyia Kazmi. 

Despite all odds and difficulties faced, the team won 2nd prize, CAD7500 (Php 280,000) sponsored by TD Bank, for their solution STABLE. 

STABLE, Students who are ABLE 

STABLE is an adaptive learning management system specifically designed for students with hearing impairments. The app’s goal is to equip hearing-impaired primary students with knowledge and soft skills so that they may be able to grab opportunities in the world ahead of them. This is done through curated content, interactive learning modules offering subtitles and Filipino Sign Language interpretations for the lessons, and gamified assessment tools. 

With STABLE, time spent by teachers for student evaluation, module preparations, and grades recording decreases by as much as 30% while reallocating that time on more essential components for learning such as student guidance. 

This thereby successfully brings light to the needs of underserved learners whose issues have been marginalizing them as well as their experiences of lacking in educational opportunities and learning options.

Learn more about STABLE in Team Optimizing Optimism’s Youtube presentation:

Learn more about the Digital Inclusion Challenge through these websites: – Challenge Event Website – Twitter – Facebook


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