What is a hackathon?
A hackathon is an invention marathon. Programmers, designers, builders and more come together to learn, build, and share their creations over the course of a few days. Hackathons are not limited to computer science majors — anyone who has an interest in technology and is eager to learn can participate in a hackathon.
Not to be confused with illegal and unauthorized programming, "hacking" in this context means quickly and intelligently creating a real application that others can use. Although the term "hacking" has previously been associated with gaining access to a computer system with a malicious intent, "hacking" has started to transition into a positive term describing the actions of innovators who are creating prototypes of their ideas. Programmers have rallied around the term "hacking", as a term to describe their love of learning and their efforts to build the future.
Teams of two to six students work together over a long period of time to develop a product, learning about new technologies and making friends along the way. At hackathons, students can augment skills learned in the classroom by teaching themselves how to independently research new technologies and fix problems they encounter. Hackathons allow students' intrinsic interests to drive their education. Every time a student encounters a new challenge at a hackathon, they must learn how to fix the problem through independent study. By giving students an opportunity to individually build a project from start to finish, students develop increased critical thinking skills and have a chance to become better prepared to enter the workforce.
Students enter a hackathon with a blank slate — they cannot bring in a school project. Once a student has found a team, they enter the brainstorming phase. After collectively deciding on an idea to work on, students on the team spend a majority of the event transforming this idea from concept into reality. Whether the idea is a hoverboard or an app to teach you to drive, hackathon teams bring a project from epiphany to completion all within a single allotment of time. Expert mentors from professional development backgrounds work with students to help with their projects.
The lengthy amount of time is integral to allow students the time they need to complete their projects. Most hackathons conclude with a science-fair-style exposition of projects. Winners are chosen, prizes are dealt, and the top teams give a live demo of their project on stage.
Watch the link below to learn more and join in on the excitement December 1st!