Hackathon

Last Thursday, June 2, CSSN visited Mountain View Academy in Calgary Alberta to ask their grade 10 and 11 students for some help.

The Safe Schools Hackathon program uses a ground up approach to learn about social media and cyberbullying directly from those who know it best; students. The Hackathon program engages students in a discussion about cyberbullying, encouraging them to share their own insights based on what they’ve witnessed or experienced online.

We then invited students to pull out their phones. Although Mountain View Academy has a ‘no phones in class’ rule, we got an exemption for this unique learning opportunity. Students took a different look at the apps they used most, noticing commonly used features such as menus, buttons and icons. The program outlined the initial stages of app design and taught students how to develop wireframes and storyboards.  Teams of students were then given time to conceptualize their own apps that could help put an end to cyberbullying. At the end of the session 4 clever concepts were presented.

Each idea suggested offered educational tools and ways of coping with online bullying. A vote was had to determine the winning team, and we are proud to congratulate Emily, Taylor and Suweyda on their winning concept!

The curriculum for the Hackathon program was put together by safe school experts at CSSN and the team at Lighthouse Labs who provided valuable input on app design.

Over the summer CSSN will continue to develop the Safe Schools Hackathon program with the goal of visiting more cities across Canada next fall!

For more information on cyberbullying check out our resource:

https://canadiansafeschools.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Cyberbullying-resource-for-print.pdf

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What’s a parent to do when the hardships that we’re once restricted to the school yard such as bullying and name calling, come creeping into the house, scurry down the hall and are sitting next to your child on a screen while they try to do their homework?

The reality is, for most parents (and teachers), children are going to know more about smartphones and apps before you have a chance to learn how to pronounce them. This makes combatting issues like cyberbullying incredibly difficult.

In the last month, CSSN held the first two of our Bully Stop Hackathons, and we’re thrilled to say they were a great success!

The BullyStop Hackathon is a new Safe Schools initiative developed to help combat cyberbullying.

Bullying is one of the most prevalent and harmful issues facing youth today. Not only does bullying make children feel unsafe, but it puts their mental, social, and physical well-being at risk. With the rise of social media, the problem has only become more severe. Bullying, harassment and intimidation have become an inescapable, 24/7 problem for many Canadian children. The effects of bullying can be devastating and in the most severe of cases can lead to suicide.

Despite the issues, the reality is that communication technology has carved a lasting place in society. We live in digital times, and our capacity for online communication is only growing. In fact, computer coding is being introduced into provincial school curriculum and will likely continue to be integrated across the nation. As the space for online social networks continues to grow, more is needed to combat negative peer interactions and to promote safety, resilience, and positive mental health. We don’t believe that social technology is inherently the problem. In fact, we believe that it may be the solution.

 

This event, held in Vancouver and Toronto in Lighthouse Labs offices (and soon to be Calgary and Halifax) invited high school and university students to take part in a friendly competition to build mobile apps that can help put an end to cyberbullying.

The events saw students:

Discuss the issues and explore perspectives

– What are the problems and who is impacted?

Learn about app technology and development.

– Students learned about computer coding for iOS, how to storyboard their ideas, and how to develop a concept ready for market.

Collaborate and create ways to put a stop to cyberbullying.

-Students worked alongside safe school facilitators, law enforcement officials, and tech experts to brainstorm ideas for digital solutions.

-They competed in a creative competition to design iOS apps that could help eliminate cyberbullying.

-Teams pitched their ideas to the one another and to the adult experts.  The room voted on the winning app in each city!

We’ve heard excellent ideas all around! The events have allowed us to hear directly from youth on the most pertinent issues they face in the online world, which in turn allows us to develop solutions that are effective. We’re proud to have met and worked with such engaged and inspiring young individuals thus far, and can’t wait to hear more fantastic ideas as we head to Calgary and Halifax.

The program came to life with help from our generous sponsors Lighthouse Labs, and Telus WISE who seek to make the online world safer for everyone using it.

To check out CTV coverage of this event click here.

Stay tuned for more information on the BullyStop Hackathon as we look to develop a program that will bring the initiative to schools across the country! If you’d like to know more, get in touch!

 

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PRESS Release
Attention: Assignment /Education/Crime Editor
For Immediate Release
12 March 2016

Breaking the </code> of silence: Youth speak out against cyberbullying at the BullyStop Hackathon

VANCOUVER – What’s a parent to do when the hardships that were once restricted to the school yard such as bullying and name calling, come creeping into the house, scurry down the hall and are sitting next to your child on a screen while they try to do their homework?

The reality is, for most parents (and teachers), children are going to know more about smartphones and apps before you have a chance to learn how to pronounce them. This makes combatting issues like cyberbullying incredibly difficult.

For this reason, The Canadian Safe School Network (CSSN) is turning to the experts. We’re inviting high school students to partake in a series of hackathons focused on putting an end to cyberbullying. The BullyStop Hackathon, presented by Lighthouse Labs and sponsored by TELUS WISE, is a full day interactive event inviting engaged students to discuss social media, technology, and help put an end to cyberbullying. Groups of youth will work alongside tech experts, educators and law enforcement to brainstorm and build solutions in the form of iOS apps. Students will learn about computer coding for iOS, how to storyboard their ideas, and how to develop a concept ready for market.

This ground-up approach to delivering youth designed digital solutions comes shortly after Premier Christy Clark announced that BC will introduce computer coding in the provincial school curriculum. “Every kindergarten to grade 12 student will have…the opportunity to learn the basics of coding,” She stated at the BC Tech Summit in January 2016. The new B.C. coding curriculum (along with many other new curriculum amendments) is currently being developed and will be introduced over the next three years. We believe that this is an important event, not simply to help eradicate cyberbullying, but to encourage youth to enhance their digital literacy and create positive change in a fun and engaged way.

This series of events is being held in 4 Canadian cities in the coming months. The Vancouver event will launch the series and be held in downtown Vancouver on Saturday March 12, 2016 at Lighthouse Labs, 128 W Hastings St #300, Vancouver, BC V6B 1G9. More information can be found online: https://canadiansafeschools.com/events/bullystop Participants at this event include Ms. Carol Todd founder of the Amanda Todd Legacy Society, Superintendents from the VSB, and members of local law enforcement. There are still limited student spots available. Help us to fill this event by passing this information to any students interested in social justice, youth engagement, leadership, social media or technology. No coding experience necessary!

Media inquiries may be directed to:
Renee Goncalves
Canadian Safe Schools Network
renee@canadiansafeschools.com
778.877.9525 (on-site)

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