How To Run A Jam/Picking a focus


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Decide on a title

Decide what the Jam is for - give it a title. Game Jam? Teacher Jam? Community Jam? Pilot Jam? Curriculum Jam?

Decide what you're making

Decide what the Jam is making. This is more specific than the title; you need to figure out the kind(s) of deliverables that will be produced. A good rule of thumb is to try for 1 type of deliverable so you can focus your resources; 2-3 types maximum. By "one type of deliverable" I mean things that use the same development platform - if you want to support people making wiki stuff and people doing kernel hacking and people making Squeak lesson plans, you'll have to set up 3 batches of tools for development... but if you only have kernel hackers, you only need to set up tools for kernel hacking.

The purpose of saying what you're making is so that you can make sure all the tools and expertise people need to make those kinds of deliverables will be on hand during the Jam, and so that people can figure out what they might want to learn beforehand. You don't have to specify the deliverables themselves- for instance, if the type of deliverable is a Pippy program, you only have to say "a Pippy program" rather than "14 Pippy programs, one that prints Pascal's triangle, another which finds anagrams, another which..."

Examples might be:

  • Activities for the XO written in Pygame
  • Science lesson plans for grades 3-6 that utilize Etoys and conform to the Alabama state curriculum for those grades
  • Wikipedia content bundles in Portuguese
  • A Pilot in a Box kit

Rocket pitch

Write up a ~25 word rocket pitch using these two telling people what you're going to be doing at the Jam. "In 48 hours, we'll make and test a half-dozen human-power input sources for the XO using the new voltage regulator design."

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