Project „Generation 0101“ and the final hackathon in Vilnius (Lithuania)

Project Generation 0101 had an ambitious goal. During it young people from several countries were able to learn new ICT related skills that are valuable in today’s work market and introduces youngsters to potential carrier paths. After trainings the best participants were granted opportunities to travel abroad and participate in international hackathons where they would create ICT solutions for NGOs that need such help. One of the hackathons was organised in the Vilnius, Lithuania by association Langas į ateitį.

When this project began, we carried out researches to find out how young people who live in Lithuania, Latvia, Croatia, Cyprus, Italy, and Turkey assess their ICT skills and knowledge in this field. Then we compared it with how employers value ICT skills and knowledge of young people just entering the job market. It was found that youngsters overestimate their ICT skills as employers need a lot more that what youngster already know.

All project partners have created different course materials which purpose was to introduce young people to ICT skills that are needed in the workplace for people who want to start their carriers.

Then we introduced those courses to the trainers from all partnering countries. Their task was to train 16-29 year old people according to these courses: e-journalism, web design, community radio, easy coding, mobile app development and online collaboration.

As the project was being developed further the pinnacle of it was an international activity for project participants. Seven international hackathons, organised by every project partner were planned where local youngsters and international guests would come and work together.

To prepare tasks for hackathon participants to work on during those activities in each country organisations published open calls for NGOs to suggest ideas for ICT products and services that could be created by project participants. In Lithuania the best proposal was submitted by Safer Internet Center’s Youth Forum. Their idea was to create a computer game that would teach children about safety online and dangers of the internet.

At the very end of summer of 2016 Lithuania welcomed youngsters from Latvia, Croatia and Cyprus. Together with Lithuanian participants they formed two teams and started to create their game concepts. Teams wanted to create games that would provide useful information and at the same time would be interesting for children to play them. We wanted to inspire young game creators to make the interesting and educational games so we invited Viktoras Dineika from the company LearnKey to speak about game development and share his experience.

Team “Fantastic5” created a game concept that focused on social networks. The game’s How safe are you on the internet? goal was to introduce children to dangers that are hidden in social networks. The game environment resembles environment of popular social networks Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. During the gameplay players can learn how to use social networks safely, how to act when confronted with online bullying, what to do if people lie about themselves and pretend to be someone they are not. The game provides a lot of useful information, identifies wrong decisions and explains what choices should be made in specific situations.

Team “Team Construct“ game concept resembles traditional games where players move from left to right, have to overcome obstacles and collect points. The game SaferNet is full of useful information about safe use of e-mail and other services. It also contains information about communication with strangers and protection of personal information. The game provides alerts is player act irresponsibly and explains what might be the consequences of such behaviour – stolen data, corrupted information, changed passwords etc. Examples of correct and safe actions are provided so players could learn from their mistakes and avoid them in the real world.

The hackathon in Vilnius was organised in the newly opened start-up and innovation hub Rise Vilnius. Hackathon participants were able to use the Rise Vilnius infrastructure, work in separate well equipped working and meeting spaces and received help from Rise Vilnius personnel. We wanted to arrange this hackathon in a way so it would resemble real professional hackathons so we received help from Barclays Technology Centre specialists. During the hackathon mentors from Barclays Technology Centre provided help and guidance to both teams in their game development process. Their advices enabled hackathon participants to find better ideas for game concepts faster and solve problems more efficiently – thus accomplishing more and have better final results at the end of this hackathon. On the last day of the hackathon mentors helped the teams to prepare for their final presentations. We wanted to convey the idea to hackathon participants how important it is not only to be able to create their products, based on their ideas, but also to present them to others. We had a special commission composed of Jūratė Drazdauskienė – representative from Saver Internet Centre’s Youth Forum, Viktoras Dineika – production manager from computer game creation company LearnKey and Loreta Križinauskienė – managing director of Association Langas į ateitį. The commission listened to their presentations gave feedback, asked questions about the further possibilities of their games development and awarded prizes. Association Langas į ateitį is very grateful to everyone who helped to organise this event, especially Rise Vilnius.

Hackathon participants from foreign countries also had other activities during the hackathon week – they visited famous landmarks of Vilnius, tasted dishes of Lithuanian cuisine, saw how people live in the centre of Europe. Lithuanian participants also had an opportunity to meet people from other countries, see cultural differences and similarities and have fun while implementing their ICT related ideas and projects.

An article about the hackathon was written in one of the bigests news portals and a news segment was broadcasted by a national broadcaster of Lithuania.