Two Weeks to the Hackathon!

Only two weeks remain! We are hard at work hammering out all the final details. Here’s what we’ve got going on this week:

Lessons Learned
Several of our project members helped to facilitate a hackathon last week at a partner organization. This was a great learning opportunity for them as they hone their facilitation skills, but also helps our team learn from the successes—and struggles—of other hackathons. Here are a few of the takeaways they brought back with them:

  • Keep participants oriented: At the hackathon, there was a constant visual showing participants what stage of the process they were in. This guide helped keep participants clued in to where they were in the timeline and what would be coming up next.
  • Timing is everything: When gears are turning and ideas are flying, it’s tempting to let the conversation continue. But with a packed schedule, it’s important to stay on time to make sure there’s ample time for every stage so that participants aren’t feeling rushed. We’re looking at adding in some buffer times—a few unscheduled gaps of time—to prevent us from falling behind in the schedule if certain parts do run over.

Gathering Materials
We’re putting together our final list of supplies, both to make sure we don’t forget anything when we head to the store and to keep us on budget. We separated the list into several categories: brainstorming supplies, such as paper, pens, sticky notes, etc.; food and food-like supplies, such as granola bars, apples, plates, napkins, etc.; goodie bag supplies, such as books and WGBH paraphernalia; and space-related supplies, like power strips, extension cords, sign-in sheets and bathroom signs. The list will undoubtedly keep growing as the hackathon gets closer and we think of additional supplies we need, so we’re planning on holding off on purchasing most of the supplies until a day or two before the event.

2016-10-white-on-red-bolocologo-jpgWe’re also continuing to reach out to local restaurants and catering companies that may be interested in donating food for each of the meals. Boloco has generously agreed to donate food for one of the meals!  We’re thrilled (not just because burritos are delicious) and extremely grateful. Thanks, Boloco!!

Where the Parents At?
Participants are continuing to register but we’re still low on parent attendees. We’re going out to partner organizations to do some in-person recruitment. One of our partners suggested that transportation may be a barrier for parents—WGBH is accessible by bus, but may be more than a single bus ride away for some of our target populations—so we’re looking into alternate transportation options. We want to make it as easy as possible for parents to attend because this event is meant to give them a voice in the media landscape.

Next week we’re gathering the troops and making sure everyone knows his or her responsibilities during the hackathon, as well as finalizing any presentation materials and handouts for participants. And, well, everything else! Much more to come as we count our way down to the hackathon!

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