Hacking a hackaton

How to initiate a positive change in digital education through international EdTech hackathons. Case studies and best practices

Workshop W4

Date: June 18
Time: 14:00-18:00
Room: Seminar 4.2 (Building 7J, UPV)

The aim of the workshop is to share experience and best practices of participants on how to conduct EdTech hackathons. Hundreds of hackathons are conducted in Europe every year, but most of them are organized locally without any broader dissemination at the European level. This might reduce students’ and educational innovators’ interest in participating in such events, as they do not see local hackathons as springboards to jump to the international educational ideas market. By learning from each other’s experiences and sharing the results from last year, as well as the current year plans of the DigiEduHack pan-European initiative, we aim to encourage universities to equip themselves with necessary suggestions on how to promote their students’ and teachers’ innovation potential through the educational hackathon format. The workshop will demonstrate the pathway of how such a format can be turned into a course subject of challenge-based learning or how it can be part of an academy-industry knowledge transfer program.


  • Exchange best practices of conducting and hosting EdTech hackathons in the higher education context;
  • Develop recommendations on how to conduct and host high-quality hackathons that offer participants a great learning experience;
  • Discuss the role of hackathons as a challenge-based learning format in higher education in the era of active use of AI in education and the importance of involving EdTech companies and policymakers in such a learning experience


Janika Leoste, a PhD in Educational Sciences and an M.Sc. in Economics and Finance, is an Associate Professor of Educational Robotics at Tallinn University and an Assistant Professor of IT Didactics at Tallinn University of Technology. Her research focuses on educational robotics, STEAM education, educational innovation, hybrid and blended learning. She has published 70 scholarly articles, including in Frontiers and Francis & Taylor. Since 2019, she has been teaching at the university, including robot-integrated learning and project-based learning projects. She has supervised 12 MA students and has four PhD students under supervision. Janika’s previous experience includes developing accounting software and web-based games, producing cartoons, and teaching robotics. Janika has successfully applied for research funding from many national and international sources, including the EU’s Horizon Europe – for example, one of her projects is an ERA Talents project EdTech Talents. She is also a local PI in the DigiEduHack consortium with the main task of offering high-quality learning opportunities for DigiEduHack perspective hosts and participants. She has organized several EdTech Hackathons.

Tomi Kauppinen, a PhD and Title of Docent in Media Technology and an M.Sc. in Computer Science, is a versatile author and academic known for his work in cognitive systems, AI, information visualization and online learning. He is passionate about using storytelling, visuals, augmented realities and AI to enhance our understanding of the world. He has published around 100 scholarly articles, including in Semantic Web, Frontiers and conferences related to AI, spatial information and visualization. Since 2016, he has been leading the Aalto Online Learning strategic project, which aims to create engaging learning experiences, inspire valuable mindsets, and shape an exciting future for Aalto University. He has advised tens of master’s students, PhD students and postdocs. Tomi’s previous experience includes designing visualization apps for international companies, followed by postdoc, professorship and Privatdozent positions in Germany. Tomi is an author, community builder, keynote speaker, educator, and podcaster as the host of Cloud Reachers podcast on Spotify. He has received the Learning Contribution Achievement Award from Aalto Student Union in 2016 and EUNIS Dørup eLearning Award in 2020. Tomi is the author of ‘Human’—a scifi adventure book about AI and humanity published via Amazon in January 2024. He is also involved in several international collaborations, such as the Unite! European University Alliance and the Cyber-Physical Learning Alliance.