MakerJam 2016: The Who, The How, The Why

* This amazing guest post was written by my incredible students Sarah Almeda, Antigone Bellanich, and Patrick Westervelt, and all of the ideas it in have been formulated by them.

They arrive en masse, early in the morning, excited, anxious to start working, and after a brief presentation to give them direction- no, not direction, INSPIRATION- a marathon, rather, a sprint begins:  several straight hours of focused collaboration and rapid creativity. fueled by energy drinks and pizza slices, held in one hand while the other hand works ceaselessly.  They rest in sleeping bags, if at all.  Driven, dedicated, crazed. with one goal:  that by the end of the day they will have solved this problem, tackled this challenge, finished this creation, accomplished something they can feel proud of.  What I have written here describes what many people would call a hack-a-thon, hackfest, hack day or game jam, events that encourage participants to solve a problem or create a finished project within a time limit- specifically geared towards those with interests in computer science, coding, and game design.

The MakerJam Team seeks to extend that definition.

Organized by three New Milford seniors that love and embrace their school's lively maker culture, MakerJam intends to follow the game jam and hack-a-thon model by creating a fast-paced, collaborative environment that demands rapid creativity, innovation, teamwork, and problem solving- while extending that platform to makers from all fields of creative passion, be it music, art, writing, science, or something entirely different.

Following the secret theme release on June 6th, intended to jumpstart and inspire (but not restrict!) creativity, MakerJam 2016 will run from 8am to 3pm on June 7 for the students at New Milford High School.  During that time, students have the challenge to make something, ANYTHING, by the end of the day, inspired by the central theme.  

Maker Jam hopes to be an experience that inspires creativity in students of all kinds- from those that have never had the time, environment, or motivation to create, to those makers that have been waiting for a chance to showcase their creativity without having to conform to or fit the traditional art or talent show, to those that regularly create but have never been challenged by limits on time and planning.

For future years, MakerJam plans not only to spread to other locations, but to extend to become and online and therefore global challenges as well.  

You can find out more about the team and its mission on the MakerJam website, or by following MakerJam on Facebook or Twitter.

If your school makes along with ours, please tweet your creations to #makerjam2016.

This year's theme reveal:

MakerJam: Make Something, Anything.