Hack-a-What?

Hello, I’m Meredith!

This is a blog. And a smart way to start a blog is with an introduction. Here’s what happened when I tried to think of how to do that:

Screen Shot 2014-10-19 at 11.40.33 PM

Phew, thank goodness that’s over.

“What’s with the Google notebook?” 

I’m so glad you asked!

A few weekends ago marked the start of the Launchpad with their first ever Education Hackathon presented by HGSE, Google and edX. If you don’t know what a hackathon is, you’re not alone. Until recently I thought a hack was simply a bad cough.

A hackathon is like having a major project that you’ve procrastinated for months and now it’s due in two days. You and your team have the weekend to go from idea to product to flawless presentation. Add a technology twist and the fact that you signed up to do this for fun, and that’s a hackathon. It was my entry into this strange new world, and it was a blast.

Here ‘s what happens when you say yes to a hackathon:

SIGNING UP: You see a really cool email weeks ahead of time and think, “I should try that!”

Why the heck not? (I didn’t need midterms anyway)

DAY 1: You walk in with a mild fear that everyone else will be a technology savant. It kicks off with opening remarks and a brainstorming explosion of post-it notes. Somehow you end up on a team.

Post-it brainstorm

Post-its everywhere

DAY 2: This is the day you do the bulk of the work. You have 1,000 ideas and throw out 999. Then you hold on to your one idea through a process of mentor feedback and group discussion. Google swag, free food, and coffee keep you going when your friends on the outside text you pictures of sunshine.

"Meredith, come out and play!"

“Meredith, come out and play!”

You tell them you can’t leave your team, but you can at least take a field trip…

Our team, UpTell, taking a field trip...

Here we go!

…to a different room in the library.

Hello from Gutman!

Hello from Gutman!

DAY 3: It’s Pitch Day, so you show up ready to cram all that happened the past weekend into 5 minutes. The other pitches are seriously impressive and there’s the fear you’ll get up there and do this:

What if I forget how to speak?

In actuality, it flashes by and you may even hear your group name being called out by a judge:

Go team!

We won a badge! (What’s a badge?)

Immediately leading to this:

And then this:

Screen Shot 2014-10-20 at 12.03.32 AM

So that’s a hackathon! A weekend crammed with bright colors, passionate people, and strong connections. Oh, and a Google notebook to take awkward pictures with.

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More information on the Lauchpad please follow the link. 

Meredith Dreman is a Master’s of Education candidate in the Prevention Science and Practice Program. She is passionate about psychology and reframing the conversation around mental health. She loves stories, odd connections, strong coffee and Google Calendar.

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