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Code ABC hackathons: Teachers as tinkerers

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review


Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDigital Turn in Schools - Research, Policy, Practice
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of ICEM 2018 Conference
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)978-981-13-7361-9
ISBN (Print)978-981-13-7360-2
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
EventAnnual Conference of the International Council of Educational Media - Tallinn, Estonia
Duration: 5 Sep 20187 Sep 2018

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Educational Technology
ISSN (Print)2196-4963
ISSN (Electronic)2196-4971


ConferenceAnnual Conference of the International Council of Educational Media


Motto ‘hands-on exercises are the most efficient means to learn coding’ prevails the design of Code ABC hackathons. Hackathons are emergent and challenge-based ways to engage participants. The participants of this study comprise Finnish comprehensive schoolteachers that are willing to develop their coding skills. Perceiving hackathon participants as players grants employing the same motivation and engagement theories that game researchers and developers exploit in developing serious games. This paper represents two subsequent Code ABC hackathon iterations, the autumn of 2017 and the spring of 2018. The development of hackathon challenges was based on the previous semester-long Code ABC MOOC exercises field-tested since autumn 2015. As the data, we exploit the returned work from participants (multiple-choice questions, open-ended responses, programming exercises, N = 10, the first, N = 30, the second) and the instructors’ reflections (N = 5). In particular, we address the topics considered challenging, engaging, and the lessons learned; the analysis utilizes mixed methods. Results show that the hackathons were almost too demanding yet engaging; however, their full potential was left unexploited.


  • Engagement, Flow, Hackathon, Knowmad, K–12 computer science education, Teacher in-service training

Publication forum classification

Field of science, Statistics Finland