This is interesting, but I feel like I have been inundated by hackathons and challenges like this one. The really specific ones like Stripe CTF are still compelling, but I feel pretty burnt out over these more general ones, and also like I can do the same thing without needing the possibility of winning an iPad. I remember the excitement of my first hackathons, and how I learned how to do basic web development basically just to build things for hackathons, but I feel like now that I know the basics, there’s no reason for them.
Are hackathons just a tool for newbs to get acquainted with new tools? I suspect I was mostly interested in Stripe CTF because most of the techniques being used were things I hadn’t tried to do before. Is there another reason for hackathons outside of teaching, and if so, is there a better way they can be structured pedagogically?
Alexey MK is the de facto king of hackathons (at least of the in person variety) as far as I know—PennApps does the most innovative things at hackathons, and he led it for a while. He has a set of best practices for hackathons, but none of them focus on education (outside of office hours), which seems like it could use some improvement.
We’ve been doing http://osgcc.org/ for the past few years, and it’s always a blast. Glad to see GitHub coming up with something like this, too.