The Queens Xperience Social Hackathon (a collaboration between the CS4ALL Queens South and Queens North Education Managers and their FSCs) is a social hackathon experience designed to introduce communities to computer science principles and entrepreneurial thinking in a fun, engaging, and accessible setting. Student and family teams who participate are challenged to solve real problems that directly affect the neighborhood they live in. The student-family teams develop an app prototype for mobile devices, create philanthropic-driven business plans, and design a social media marketing strategy to get the product into consumer hands.
After successfully piloting the social hackathon concept on a smaller scale at Springfield Gardens Campus in November, CS4All launched the 2nd edition of the QXSH on December 10th at Campus Magnet in district 29 to close out a great CS Education Week in NYC. The hackathon showcased how to include families in our efforts to expand computer science education across the five boroughs.
Over 79 students and 39 parents/guardians from Districts 24 through 30 directly participated in the all-day event. The hackathon challenge of the day was to address the problem of healthy living when social and economic factors limit access to food choices and health care. Student and parent teams worked together to develop a prototype solution using the engineering design process and entrepreneurial mindset. Twenty-nine volunteer mentors from organizations, including NYCDOE, Facebook, WeWork, and Managed By Q were on hand to assist.
The hackathon concluded with venture-capital-style business pitch presentations and software demonstrations by students and their families. United Black Men of Queens Inc. donated prizes for the top three teams. Students, parents, and mentors walked away from the event craving more opportunities to be part of the growing computer science and hackathon community in Queens.