A hackathon is a sprint-like design event where programmers and designers collaborate to solve a problem and create new products. Teachers can use an abridged version of the hackathon in their classes – a microhack.
Microhacks engage learners in collaborative problem-solving using design thinking. The teacher poses a problem or challenge to teams of learners who develop a solution, product or design in response. They pitch their designs or solutions to the class.
Microhacks must be time-limited. Learners are challenged to think creatively, engage in the design process and solve problems under time constraints. These time constraints can offer learners rapid feedback and a sense of achievement while learning from home, where the pace of the feedback and reflection cycle can often be slowed.
While students are learning from home, digital collaborative tools can be used to enable teams to co-design solutions. However, microhacks can still succeed without real-time online communication. Video-sharing or online presentation tools offer a lower-tech alternative which empowers learners to pitch and present their ideas to one another asynchronously.