Saana Peltola, Class Teacher Education student:

Last fall my friend participated in an education hackathon called Linko, and I listened curiously when she praised it enthusiastically. Meeting new people and innovating together sounded just like my thing! So, when a notification of a new Linko education hackathon popped up in my Facebook feed, I knew my opportunity had come.

When I had filled my registration form to Linko I was super excited. I had never participated in any hackathons, so I had absolutely no idea what was ahead of me. Reading the description of the weekend raised my expectations high and I can tell that I certainly weren’t disappointed. The weekend at Heureka was all I had imagined, and much more!

This hackathon weekend was CRAZY in a totally good way. A lot of new and amazing people, laughter, brainstorming, innovation, inspirational speakers, discussions, and good food, of course! I think I have never learned as much in such a short time, or felt so enthusiastic and inspired (thanks to the great atmosphere that supported this enthused mindset). Working the whole weekend so closely with these interesting challenges was like therapy, because I didn’t even have time to think about any other things besides Linko and everything that was going on in the hackathon. My head was full of ideas for the challenge, pitching, benchmarking and all that kind of new stuff I hadn’t heard before Linko. Even though the days were long and the schedule was tight, me and my team had a good time and we enjoyed every moment. That was the case even when we were so tired that there was absolutely nothing fruitful left in our minds, and all we could do was to laugh.

After the weekend, I was happy that I had registered without a team, because it gave me the opportunity to work the whole weekend with people I had never met before. During the weekend these four total strangers became my friends and I couldn’t be happier that I met them! I gave my everything in Linko and it was totally worth it, because Linko gave so much for me! In addition to all interesting and useful things I learned in Linko, I learned a lot about myself as a learner and a team worker. Linko gave me an ardor for hackathons and innovating together, so you can totally find me at the next Linko hackathon!

Eeva Lilja, General and Adult Education student:

I had next to zero preconceptions of what happens at a hackathon. I only knew that teams solve challenges and, at the end of the weekend, present their solutions, and the winners are picked based on the presentations. The event just sounded interesting, so I decided to enroll on a whim even though I didn’t know if any of my friends were to join. On Friday, I was very intimidated because I could not imagine what was to come during the weekend, plus events where you meet a lot of new people means going out of my comfort zone by far.

The stress abated and turned into excitement as soon as I entered Heureka on Friday. It felt natural getting acquainted with people and I got good feelings about the team I was part of. The challenge seemed difficult to tackle but I was confident about our team. Saturday seemed like a long day and the emotional spectrum included feelings from excitement to even boredom and fatigue. On Sunday, we still had a lot of work to do on our solution, but we worked efficiently, and were finally satisfied with the product. Even though I didn’t present our work, I was a little nervous again as the finale loomed ahead. At the end, I felt relieved when the job was done and we could be proud of our work.

Hackathon was a completely novel experience that clarified a lot on what kind of abilities might be needed in corporate life, and what sort of concrete challenges are encountered in the field of education. It felt like the skills needed throughout the weekend, such as ideation, conceptualizing, and presenting your thoughts in a coherent manner, are skills that I have not learned in my university studies or in any other contexts, although they are surely useful in many walks of life. In addition to acquiring fresh perspectives and learning new skills, I got acquainted with great people, and got to take part in an event where everybody cheered each other. The atmosphere and team spirit were top-notch. I’m very glad I decided to participate, and I’m looking forward to upcoming hackathons!