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On Saturday, June 19th, 2021, the organizers, participants, volunteers, and judges gathered in one virtual setting to kick off the 4th annual San Ramon Hackathon. They connected to work on ideas on how to tackle misinformation and online echo chambers. Stretching from coast to coast, this year’s Hackathon marked a new milestone by featuring the most geographically diverse set of attendees. The participants were high school and middle school students from across the US - San Ramon, neighboring cities, southern California, Texas, Michigan and Boston.
San Ramon Mayor Dave Hudson kicked off the day with an inspiring speech on why autonomy of thought is so important in the chaotic COVID-19 pandemic and post-pandemic time periods. Because of the pandemic, much of the world’s news and developments have been widespread through the media. As an effort to combat the decrease in the accuracy of media-based news and information, it was only natural that this year’s theme focused on tackling misinformation and online echo chambers.
Sixteen project teams presented their unique and innovative ideas. The judges were very impressed. Most teams were able to complete working prototypes or designs using various technologies to showcase their solutions. After much deliberation, the judges decided winners. Team “Just Numbers” won the first place by created an innovative mobile app using MIT App Inventor to allow users to stay informed with up to date COVID-19 data to prevent misinformation. Team “Rating News” won the 2nd place with a web site solution to provide and search for news ratings and feedback. Team “ReputeAID” designed a Chrome extension to detect reputable web sites and won the third place.
Not only has this event inspired new ideas to benefit the community, it also inspired the participants to further develop and apply their tech skills in real life. After the event, local area participants gathered at the San Ramon City center for the closing ceremony. This was the first in-person Hackathon ceremony since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. While not all participants could attend, it was still an inspiring event that reached a wide range of students across the U.S.
This was a very successful Hackathon and we will strive to do it again next year but even bigger and better.
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