Welcome to the EDTECH Hackathon 2017

In a country where the education ecosystem faces multiple challenges in the quality and delivery of education, technology offers the potential for solutions that can bridge this learning divide. With newer possibilities of design, crowdsourcing, mobile-tech, iterative hacking, rapid prototyping, and impact investment ecosystems, hacking for Early Reading can provide solutions to the early grade reading problem in India by developing radical solutions using technology!

READ Alliance, in partnership with USAID, CKS, Pratham Books and Amazon Internet Services, have designed a fast-paced, collaborative, and outcome oriented hackathon that will serve as a platform to create awareness around early grade reading and foster entrepreneurship towards addressing the various challenges associated with early grade reading across India.

#READathon 2017: Reading Hackathon Winners Announced

READ Alliance, USAID and CKS are thrilled to announce the winners of our fortnight-long Reading Hackathon. Between December 9th and December 17th, more than 13 teams across Delhi/NCR and Bangalore came together to generate solutions across four early grade reading challenge areas: increase access to reading materials in different languages, improve the quality and ease of conducting reading assessments, and help teachers be more effective.

This wasn’t a hackathon for one-off ideas, as teams were challenged to create more than just code. A team of dedicated early grade reading and technology mentors volunteered their time and expertise to guide the teams and pushed them to think hard about user pain points so their early stage projects could become real world, deployable solutions. The teams rose to the occasion and astonished everyone with creative and sophisticated solutions to some of the most pressing early grade reading problems across our country. Each team was independently reviewed by a panel of judges. The judges scored projects’ on the Local Impact it would create, originality of the idea, design functionality, real product potential and the correlation between content used with the respective theme/challenge chosen.

We proudly present the winners below, with links to their pitch presentations:

Team NamePrizeThemeIdea briefProduct Presentation Link
Wildcards+Tech-enabled reading assessmentsCreation of a live tutoring application which learns, adapts and monitors the growth of a childPresentation
Scholar Space+Tech-enabled reading assessmentsScholar Read is an early learning app of ScholarSpace. With a game like interface to learn and access the progress, this self-paced and milestone based learning model helps children learn to read letters, words and paragraphs in a fun way.Presentation
Krishworks+Increasing access to reading materials in different vernacular languagesUse gamified contents (tabled based games) for primary graders to improve their reading levels. They aim to do this through local youth run after-school centers.Presentation
READ Marathon+Tech-enabled reading assessmentsA gamified reading app, which finds out the initial reading level of the user. Assess them before moving them to the next level.Presentation


Theme 1. Edtech solutions to improve teacher effectiveness

Although we are all aware of the complex and comprehensive role teachers play in the education eco-system, yet the entry requirements and training periods for elementary school teachers are much lower than those in other countries. Moreover, our dated teacher training programs do not have a defined focus on early grade reading. A platform for teachers needs to be created where they could share knowledge, resources and best practices amongst themselves.   

  1. Challenge 1. Create an EdTech solution that allows for continuous teacher training as well as makes knowledge sharing possible and easy.
  2. Challenge 2. Create an EdTech solution that can become an organic repository for teaching best practices with a focus on early grade learning.
  3. Challenge 3. Create an EdTech solution that allows for more collaborative and cooperative learning amongst peers/teachers.

Theme 2. Edtech solutions to increase availability of reading material as well as digital stories in local languages

Reading materials are scarce, particularly in local languages and children, who are beginning to read, find it difficult to comprehend stories that are not written in their mother tongue. Instead of engaging children, the text often ends up distancing them from reading.

In addition, India has a very rich tradition of oral storytelling in local languages. The publishing industry has ignored it for years. The need of the hour is to document these stories for posterity and create age-appropriate reading material, which is levelled and child-friendly.

  1. Challenge 1. Create an EdTech solution that can be used to document audio and written stories in regional and local Indian languages.
  2. Challenge 2. Create an EdTech solution that has a curated bank of stories in Indian languages for pre-primary and primary school going children.

Theme 3. Edtech solutions for better reading assessments

There are differential learning levels inside a single classroom with many students struggling to read grade-level texts. The need of the hour is to come up with a solution that can help in identifying the learning gaps and provide personalized remediation. There is an urgent need to invest in tech-based assessment frameworks that rely on data to provide personalized remediation and diagnosis of challenges each child might be facing in their classrooms. Such a solution can help teachers identify learning gaps in the classroom and mould teaching practices accordingly.

  • Challenge 1. Create an EdTech solution which can be used by teachers in low-income classrooms to identify current learning levels.
  • Challenge 2. Create an EdTech solution to administer diagnostic assessments & enable smooth data collection.
  • Challenge 3. Create an EdTech solution that takes in child-wise question-wise data and visualizes relevant analysis and provides a roadmap for remediation.
  • Challenge 4. Create an EdTech solution that allows easy creation of questions in vernacular languages.


  • Group formation
  • Product development
  • Hacking for early education


Solve real challenges straight from the development sector, amaze the EdTech community with your results, and co-create the classroom of the future. At the EdTech Hackathon we provide the scene which creates the first step for you to develop your results and contribute to the education of the future!

Besides this ecosystem with interesting opportunities for you to develop your hackathon result further in terms of building your product, showing your expertise, building your network, and/or finding an internship, we have also some great prizes to win! Three winning apps/solutions will be chosen and awards will be given out based on their ranking:

  1. Free $100 Amazon Web Services credit for Hackathon participants.
  2. The Top3 entries shall get $1000 Amazon Web Services credit.
  3. The Final Winners will stand a chance to be part of a Funded Acceleration program supported by READ Alliance, USAID and other key partners.


  • Nikhil Saraf. Co-founder, Head Product & Marketing, Stones2Milstones (Bangalore)
  • Amit Agarwala. Head- Operations and Finance, Stones2milestones (Delhi/NCR)
  • Kapil Bakshi. Software Development Engineer, BlackBuck (Bangalore)
  • Mainak Roy. Co-Founder and CEO, Simple Education Foundation (Delhi/NCR)
  • Tribikram Nayak. Education Program and Content Developer, HPPI (Delhi/NCR)
  • Tarun Cherukuri. Co-Founder and CEO, Indus Action (Bangalore)
  • Hari Haran. Senior Program Manager, Central Square Foundation (Bangalore)
  • Mangal Pandey. Co-Founder and CEO, Key Education Foundation (Delhi/NCR)
  • Abhishank Shrivastava. Training head, Delhi NCR, Cuemath (Delhi/NCR)
  • Mohit Raj. Founder, T.Y.C.I.A. Foundation
  • Richa Shivangi Gupta. Teach For India Fellow & Founder, Labhya Foundation


  • Ullas Kumar. Vice President- Education Operations, Meghshala (Bangalore)
  • Priyanka Ahuja. Director, Acceleration Program (Bangalore)
  • Madhu Ranjan. Education Specialist, USAID India. (Delhi and Bangalore)
  • Balaka Dey. Program Management Specialist – Disaster Management & Education, USAID India (Delhi/NCR)
  • Bhanu Potta. Advisor & Member of India Board of Directors, Worldreader (Bangalore)
  • Naveen Mandava. Co-Founder – IMAX Program (Bangalore)
  • Sunitha Viswanathan. Associate, Unitus Seed Fund (Bangalore)
  • Aditya Dev Sood. Founder and CEO, Vihara Innovation Network (Delhi/NCR)