Hackathons as Community

A huge Thanks! to everyone who joined us at The Center for Social Innovation this past weekend for our first public hackathon.  We’re so happy to now know you all!  If you missed it (or want to relive the glorious memories), here’a bit of our Twitter trail and here’s some playful poses by the newest members of our community who braved our Gif Myself Station.

We aimed for a different vibe at our hackathon; one primarily about community that can continue beyond the weekend. Over 100 people engaged with the tough question we posed: “How do we design learning for a future of computational thinkers, effective storytellers, and empathetic inventors?”  At our “Dating Wall”, new found collaborators teamed up around our Tracks and the Challenge Briefs EDesign Lab created to facilitate creative energies along. Our Learner Personas Wall gave participants insight into the range of minds, interests, and learning styles to help inform their designs.

A set of adult and youth judges joined us on the second day for the sharing of the 11 projects that emerged.   Team “Wave Pool” an interactive application (gestural interface) to teach students about wave properties (lengths, frequencies, and amplitude) through embodiment and sound (kinect hack) was voted to the top. Runner-up was a tie between “If, Then, What”, a collaborative time line for student-generated current event stories, and “Data Crunch”, a web-app where students interpret data through questions and polls and which links classes into a larger database to see more global patterns.   The “Youth Favorite” prize went to  “Mini Stories” an iPad app where students create characters, images, and  a collaborative story to practice language skills and engage in creative writing.

The weekend was also full of stories of personal journeys.  One person came all the way from Canada.  And to our delight, we discovered that Mini Stories was actually a husband/wife/friend team where the wife had asked to spend her birthday weekend at this hackathon.   We snuck in a lit up cupcake as a surprise and everyone sang happy birthday at the closing of the hackathon – pretty much reflecting the group spirit over the weekend.

We had a blast and are looking forward to the next one. Stay tuned!