After 54 Hours At A Seattle Startup Weekend Devoted To Education, Here Are The Winning Ideas

By Dahlia Bazzaz
The Seattle Times

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Alessya Labzhinova created a mobile app to give students quick calculus practice problems on-the-go. Her app won first place at Startup Weekend EDU Seattle, an annual 54-hour workshop where people from a mix of industries split into teams and work on ideas for an education startup.

The Seattle Times

College calculus can be unforgiving — even for math majors who score an engineering job at Amazon after graduation, like 29-year-old Alessya Labzhinova.

“I struggled,” said Labzhinova, now a full-time student getting her master’s in entrepreneurship at the University of Washington. Calculus builds on all the math you’ve learned throughout your life, she said, so if you’re shaky in some concepts, it’s hard to catch up.

But students need to pass calculus if they want a degree in tech or science fields, and Labzhinova wanted to help others build their calculus skills. Her idea — a mobile app that would give students quick practice problems on-the-go — won first place at Startup Weekend EDU Seattle, an annual 54-hour workshop where people from a mix of industries split into teams and work on ideas for an education startup.

About 68 people participated in this year’s competition at the downtown branch of the Seattle Public Library. Some hailed from the tech sector, but many others were teachers, students and budding entrepreneurs hoping to simplify or enliven classroom teaching.

The weekend typically begins with individuals pitching ideas, and participants vote on the ones they like best. If someone’s pitch isn’t greenlighted, they can join another individual with a winning idea.

That’s how Labzhinova ended up working with five strangers — some engineers, an app developer, a data scientist — to help bring her app, called DXDT, to life. Not only would the app give students more practice, it would provide their instructors with data to help them pinpoint where they need more help.

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