This week at HackEd 2.0, the Quizlet team built an app to teach you new words by translating a word from a friend's status to unlock your phone. Try it out! We think this app can have a huge impact on the daily lives of all those millions of students who use Facebook everyday. And even better, we won! Read the GigaOm write up.


95% of teenagers on the Internet use Facebook. Anyone who can add real learning value to the Facebook experience can impact a huge portion of US students across socio-economic boundaries. For HackEd 2.0 (a hackathon sponsored by Facebook and the Gates Foundation), the Quizlet team set out to deliver on that promise and opportunity.

Building a learning tool using Facebook

We arrived at Facebook's offices early Tuesday morning to work alongside 25 other teams building apps that tried to harness the power of Facebook and make a difference in the education of millions of students' lives in the US.


We wanted to build an experience that could integrate with how students already use Facebook, make learning relevant, and that the entire audience could use on the spot.

The Idea

We had the original concept the day before, when driving back from a school visit in Oakland, testing out some new features.

What if we could make Facebook an education experience by translating your friends' statuses?

We were inspired by some of the new Facebook Home designs, and joked that we should call it Quizlet School. We decided to go with a mobile first approach, but have it accessible through the web as well.


5 hours of coding

In the morning, Facebook's COO Sheryl Sandberg gave some opening remarks before the hackathon started. Andrew snapped a photo and posted it to Facebook.


And then we were off. The first step was coming up with our game plan.

Andrew tackled the Facebook API to get us the status and photos we wanted. Anand made the log in screen and an interface that worked on both web and mobile. David built the draggable selector for the lockscreen and packaged all this into an Android app.


Joanna and I built the dictionaries, using Quizlet to create two massive lists of 1000 words in French and Spanish that would probably appear in your friends' facebook statuses. Unfortunately, we couldn't add Chinese since we'd left Thompson Paine back at the office.

When we finally got most things working, it was exciting to see the photo of Sheryl Sandberg that Andrew posted earlier show up in the app to teach us how to say "Day" in French.

testing the app

When the correct answer "le jour" was accepted, we knew that we'd built something that actually worked.

There's nothing like a live demo

My advice to anyone participating in a contest like this is to do a live demo. The power of putting what you just built in the hands of the audience is unparalleled. No Powerpoint, just everyone in the room using the app at the same time.


After a ritzy sushi and sake reception, we were psyched to find out that we'd won for best out of school study app (and $5,000)!

We're even more excited about getting this tool into the hands of the millions of students who use Quizlet so that it can start having the impact that it's capable of.

Try it out with your Facebook Feed

Go to and login with Facebook.

Action Shot

It should work on your computer and on your phone, in all browsers. Thanks to Facebook and the Gates Foundation for putting this event together and to all the other teams that participated!

So what are we doing with the $5,000?

We've decided to donate the money to the charter school in Oakland we visited the previous day. Unity High School is doing great work on college readiness (which was one of the major themes of the Gates Foundation's work). Therefore, we thought it was a fitting cause and we wanted to thank them for welcoming the Quizlet team into their classrooms over the last year to get feedback from their students on new products we're developing on Quizlet.

And special thanks to Damon Grant (9th and 12th grade English) who helped set up the visits!


  1. haertbreyker

    FIRST COMMENT!!!! COOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. brianji22

    4th comment awesome!!!
    THis is awesome.

  3. Planar

    why are people hyped up on comments?

  4. davidhill123


  5. Planar

    oh, so that was why anand asked about the country flag things! He wanted the icons for the app! hahaha!

  6. nhabtemariam PLUS

    Keep up the good work Quizlet!!!!! 8th comment!!!!!

  7. christina1020

    I think that it should not just be for Facebook. a lot of people don't have Facebook and would really like this addition, like me. You could just do it a random phrase. Also will you have more languages, instead of just French, German, Spanish, the like?

  8. christina1020

    9th and 10th comment!!!

  9. chandangoopta

    12th not so cool :(

  10. Dogecoin

    Wow that's very innovative. :)

  11. mahase

    That is awesome. Could you please add Latin words for those who take latin?

  12. mahase

    I suppose when you are at a hackathon, tempus fugit.

  13. jacobpeek


  14. JJMan007

    That's very kewl! ;D

  15. bsmrck TEACHER

    Great job, congratulations! but, what languages does it use?

  16. Pikachu2001

    When I saw the words Hackathon I was like "They're teaching people to hack!!?"

  17. Pikachu2001

    20th and 21st comment, please, twice as good as you people being first!

  18. jessicamccall117

    Hey guys I don't care what comment number I get, I just want to say that is AMAZING!!!! Keep up the awesome work guys.


    so THAT is what a hackathon is



  21. rawells14

    holy cow thats awesome

  22. Lugeboy

    Awesome! this makes me want to do even more Programing work.

  23. ShadowMaster01

    28th Comment XD

  24. bynum-charity


  25. rvhorsley

    Guess how much I care/ really just guess ... None. *__* just kidding y'all epic 4 u

  26. lopingirl

    cool lol like 35th comment

  27. Ganeshrg


  28. rattler1234

    impressive. Good job you guys.

  29. Meekjesse

    #5th comment and good job guys

  30. Meekjesse

    Sorry hit the shift 35th now 36th comment lol

  31. davidhill123

    Make it for more than just facebook users.

  32. PhraseBot TEACHER

    What a cool idea! Nice work!
    btw I've just updated my 'Lex Word Game' app using the Quizlet API - check it out on iTunes, or try the web version.

  33. AbigailBaldwin

    Wow and nice!

  34. Oshean


  35. Markka

    This is really fun to use! I wish more languages was available since I do not study French or Spanish! Or that we could attach our own sets to study to unlock updates!

  36. EvanVolkin

    Cool. Nice that u donated it to a school

  37. happypanda7

    well unlike the rest of u, i dont care about wat comment number i am ( #47). However i think this is genius and will help millions of people around the world trying to learn a new langue. this is quick easy and simple and everyone checks their fb everyday so hence they will practice everyday making their learning process much easier! great job!

  38. apuji101

    Wow guys nice job this is AWESOME

  39. apuji101

    Oh 49th and 50th COMMENT OH YEAH!!!!

  40. scimaster

    Wow thats awsome!!!!!!

  41. cornbread15

    I like that cool

  42. vmariesor

    thats AWESOME!! great job quizlet:)

  43. jasonCoolGuy

    aye cornbead 15

  44. chinesischlernen

    Why do you need access to my news feed and my friend list in my Facebook profile? What a bummer!

  45. Schwaggiee_Sinner

    People are so hyped on comments. & for what?? But, the hackathon sounds like a great idea. I'm ready ♂

  46. scaplet PLUS

    Nice job!

  47. rosiethecat101

    Can someone plz explain on one of my non private sets in the discussion box about what the article is about?
    <3 thx

  48. rosiethecat101


  49. bookclub

    that's cool!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  50. rockclimber98


  51. jamie_rau

    ok so I like the idea but a friend just linked me to this and you have no explanation or walk-through whatsoever for new users. After choosing a language the next screen is just a phrase from a picture of my facebook friend with four word around a lock. What do I do next?

    No explanation means I just close the window and never use it again, waiving it off as a nice idea but ill-created. BUT you can fix that to be better! I love the idea. What am I missing here?

  52. CyrilBiselx


  53. aheung

    Lets hope this'll work for character languages as well and not just Latin alphabet languages.

  54. aheung

    btw, if you don't understand how to use this lockscreen app, you're an idiot. It's so simple. Looking forward to more languages- good job Quizlet team.

  55. keetonmartin

    Why do we have

  56. keetonmartin

    a two comment

  57. ChocolateLover1003

    That's really cool! You should make one with Twitter and Instagram!

  58. ChocolateLover1003

    Ooh! First comment on April 14th!

  59. smexysunny

    Nice! :) (First and last comment)

  60. janelle_juliana

    I wonder how many comments are there?

  61. janelle_juliana

    let's a play game and guess how many comments are there.
    I'll go first..............

  62. Raj_Warman


  63. Raj_Warman


  64. Fbraga


  65. hwaminhae

    This will either improve my language or stop me from using facebook :"D

  66. poptower292


  67. a31356

    That's cool, GREAT JOB Quizlet!

  68. ElaineChengWaffles

    awww... i don't have a facebook!!! i never was interested in getting one, either...

  69. Vera_Studies

    Me too i don't have a facebook!!! i never was interested in getting one, either...

  70. marcelovillarreal

    SealandHetaliaFanBoy you are my HERO!!!! ive dreamt about you before

  71. callum_parks


  72. abdooz_88

    Will be other languages ? As German ??!

  73. MythineX

    One person gets all hyped over their first comment and everybody excites for the same reason... >.>

  74. smith35673

    finish with the chinese soon

  75. benjamin01px2018

    The Spanish version isn't so great. It gets mixed up between adjectives & nouns (like mixing up la niñez & infantil: The interface is absolutely user-friendly, as expected from Quizlet. Hope the Chinese version comes out soon!

  76. Brainiac98

    Very nice... I don't use facebook, but that would be cool to have to unlock it with translating a word. :D

  77. Lola_H

    Frantically coding a working app in just 5 hours was to me equally as impressive as the app itself, great work Quizlet team! Also thanks for finally utilizing FB for learning something new, and donating the prize money to the development of a future Quizlet community. :)

  78. eliza0510

    88th comment

  79. seo-jin-seok

    oh yeah !!! 90th comment

  80. balletfanatic97

    love it!

  81. evangiline


  82. MirkwoodMeag

    and evengiline, you have to be 13+ to do it

  83. MirkwoodMeag

    oh and me too veraandfluffy and chenge2783. i would love to do the hackathon!!!! :-(

  84. Analisas212345

    very cool Xoxoxoxoxoxxoxxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo

  85. Davidx3737

    That's really cool!!

  86. scaplet PLUS

    What if you cant remember it ?

  87. TaylorSwift22

    anyone wanna talk???????????? :] :) :0 :"3

  88. nunu10000

    DUDE, This is awesome! I'd MUCH rather use this as a lockscreen than Facebook Home (which is actually useless, since pressing the home button will still unlock your phone). Any plans to release it on Android as a native lockscreen?

  89. readjfb

    How long did that take you? Can I use it (is it on the app store)?

  90. royce1998

    I WANT.

  91. ilamenon

    so cool!

  92. maceyroberts713

    soooo kol!!!!!

  93. bluedomke

    Ha, It is January 22 2014, and the last comment was posted on November 10 20131! This post is old.

  94. bluedomke

    Ice ice baby!

  95. Pickapoo

    This doesn't work, when I press "Login with Facebook" it just loads for a few seconds then stops.

    Any solutions?

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