Three Weeks to the Hackathon!

Three weeks?!? That’s practically tomorrow!

As with any event planning, the to-do list seems to grow the more things we check off the list. Here’s what what’s on our minds this week:

Promotion, Promotion, Promotion

Participants are continuing to sign up, but we still need more! We want the pack the house with passionate parents, teachers, healthcare professionals, designers, and developers! So we’re ramping up our promotion efforts this week by going out to organizations we partner with on other projects to make presentations and personally invite members of the community.

Laying Out the Space

Sorting out the layout of the event space sounds easy—tables and chairs, done. Right? Not quite. We’re trying to tune in to how the arrangement of the space sets the tone for the hackathon and aids—or impedes—productivity.

Think about a typical classroom, for example. If the desks are arranged in rows and columns, what does that tell you about how students are expected to interact with each other? What if the desks are arranged in groups, or in a big circle facing the center?

We want our hackathon attendees to start collaborating from the get-go, so we’re leaning towards round tables spread out throughout the space—close enough for groups to see and hear what others are up to, but far enough that each group has space to spread out and think creatively. Round tables means everyone in the small groups can be seen and heard, and there’s plenty of space in the middle of the table for sketching all the great ideas that come up. We’re also planning to keep each table close to some solid wall space so that the great ideas can expand and later be shared.

And the Winner Is…

At our hackathon, a winning team will be chosen by a panel of judges following final pitches. We want to send the winning team home with special prizes (likely gift cards), but we also want to thank all of our participants with some kind of goodies. This week, we’re thinking through what sorts of goodies our attendees might like. Should it be something that all groups would like, or should we have different goodies for parents versus teachers versus designers/devs? Are t-shirts the way to go, or is there other swag that would be better? And how do we keep the costs in check?

Hacking the Hackathon

We’ve been on a hackathon attending-spree to see what others are doing and to get tips for our own hackathon. This week, two of our staff members are practicing their facilitation skills by facilitating groups at another fabulous organization’s hackathon!

Coming up next week, we’re getting into the nitty gritty details of the event: putting together the final presentation, finalizing the schedule, ordering supplies and preparing packets for our participants. Stay tuned!

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