Story Jam New York

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UNICEF-OLPC Story Jam New York
UNICEF New York, Manhattan

Schedule | Registration | Projects | For participants | Participants | See what we made

The Jam is over - see what we made, read the UNICEF report, or download the summary!

You are invited to Story Jam New York!

UNICEF, the world's leading children's organization will be holding an open Storytelling Jam and Hackathon from Friday March 28 through Sunday March 30. The three-day event will be hosted at UNICEF's headquarters in Manhattan, NY.

The focus of this event is to build and implement free and open-source tools for collecting stories, as well as gathering and spreading the stories themselves. Work will be done on a variety of platforms, from mobile phones to the One Laptop per Child's XO machine.

UNICEF is inviting software and hardware experts of all types to create tools that enable young people to capture and share their stories on various hardware devices including the XO. UNICEF's Youth Section has been actively involved in developing various projects in this area, including a radio station on a USB stick, software to allow people to access web pages through SMS / Text messages, and ways to capture the voices of young people through their mobile phones. Developers will be working in groups to either extend existing programs or create new ones. Check the projects page to see a list of proposed projects or propose one of your own. In addition to a viewing for the attendees on Sunday the 30th, Monday the 31st will feature a public viewing at UNICEF HQ where work from the weekend will be displayed and visitors will be able to record their stories.

Some suggested projects are here. UNICEF and partners have been working on developing these open-source tools for the last 8 months, and would like to extend and finalize them during this Jam.

Register Here.


UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world's largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.

About OLPC

One Laptop per Child (OLPC) is a non-profit organization created to design, manufacture, and distribute laptops that are sufficiently inexpensive to provide every child in the world access to knowledge and modern forms of education. The rugged, Linux-based, mesh-networking-enabled, and power-efficient laptops have begun to be deployed to children by schools across the world on the basis of one laptop per child. OLPC is based on constructionist theories of learning pioneered by Seymour Papert and later Alan Kay, as well as the principles expressed in Nicholas Negroponte's "Being Digital."

Important Links

Projects - A list of the projects that have been proposed for people to work on. Find one that interests you, or come up with your own!

Schedule - Times and places.

Registration - Register yourself or your group.

and the Promotional URL

Hope to see you there!

In A Nutshell

What: Story Jam New York

Where:<br\> UNICEF New York<br\> Danny Kaye Conference Center<br\> 3 United Nations Plaza<br\> New York, NY, USA

When:<br\> March 28-30, 2008 (Fri-Sun)<br\> Hacking: Friday 6pm-10pm, Saturday 10am-10pm, Sunday 10am-3pm<br\> Showing:Sunday 3pm-6pm<br\> See /Schedule for more information

Goal: Foster youth communication by telling, recording, gathering, and translating stories about life and learning learning in New York City to share with schoolchildren from around the world, and creating tools for them to do this along the way.

What is a Jam?

An OLPC Jam is a content creation crunch that gets participants from idea to reality in just a few days. Click here to learn more about Jams in general. This particular Jam aims to:

  • Tell and gather stories about learning from New Yorkers from around the world,
  • Create tools to help record and share them, and...
  • Hold a public, multilingual screening of a large range of selected works in New York on Sunday, then...
  • Release them to the world - and come back for a follow-up screening in May when classrooms across the world respond.

Things to bring

  • Laptops/XOs
  • Power strips
  • Extension cords
  • EVDO/Mobile broadband cards (there is Wi-Fi but there will be lots of people)

We need help!

We're looking for people to help plan the following parts of the Jam. Contact Mel if you're interested, with a short explanation of what you can do, why you want to do it, and any relevant qualifications you might have.

  • someone to help coordinate the filming/recording/editing side - wrangling camera/microphone setups to UNICEF for the weekend, convincing volunteers (film students?) to help man them, and finding some way to get the ensuing footage edited into a rough series of clips for Sunday afternoon's showing (which means wrangling yet more volunteers to help out chopping clips through the weekend).
  • someone to help coordinate food - getting donations, following up with thank-you letters (and tax deductibility paperwork, if it's possible for us to give that to donors). At a minimum it would be awesome to have pizza on Friday night, some sort of snack-like stuff out on Sunday afternoon when everyone's switching from "HACK!!!" to "PRESENT!!!" mode (water/soda, chips, popcorn, fruit), and coffee in the mornings (or alternatively, late at night).
  • someone to help coordinate swag and prizes - some ideas: this could be "find a way to get 50-100 tshirts printed for all-weekend volunteers (we can set a cap on the number of people who want to show up for all 3 days)" and/or "find a way to get a few thousand 'I made something for the world today' creative-commons-branded (ok, other open licenses also) buttons printed for everyone that comes by and records a story"


If you have any questions about the Jam, please contact Jam Coordinator Mel Chua.