When is it?

The Techathon will take place on a Friday off school every autumn. Usually, this is the Friday in October that all teachers are away doing professional development. Check-in begins at 8am, and proceedings will officially begin at 8:30. The event will be over by 10pm.

Where is it?

The Techathon will take place at Living Computers: Museum & Labs in SoDo.

What should my project be?

Anything you want! We want participants to pursue whatever interests them most, and use technology to aid their creativity. We encourage participants to address one of the civic prompts presented, but if you would prefer to choose your own issue to concentrate on, you are welcome to.

Do I need to know how to code?

No, but it might be useful. You can use any application of modern technology you want. Your project will be judged on social impact, feasibility, and how well it makes use of technology — not how technically complicated it is. Also, mentors will be available throughout the day to answer questions and provide advice, technical or otherwise.

What are the civic prompts?

To make sure the competition is fair and nobody gets a head start, the prompts will be not be announced until a few days before the event. They will ask you to come up with solutions or ways to raise awareness for both local and global issues.

May I work on my project outside the Techathon?

No. All projects must be started during the timeframe of the event. The fun and excitement of a an event like this comes from the constraints.

Do I need a team?

We strongly encourage building a team ahead of time. Due to the limited amount of time, having one or more teammates may be the only way you complete your project by the end of the day. We also think collaborative work is more fun. We also encourage you to post on our Facebook event page, if you want to look for teammates yourself. If you come to the event as an individual, you will be able to form and/or join a team, as well.

How old do I have do be?

The event is open to grades 6-12. If you are not yet in 6th grade, we encourage you wait until Techathon comes around again next year.

Are parents and guardians allowed to attend?

Parents and guardians are welcome stay for the opening ceremonies and return for the announcement of the winners at 9:30pm. However, to ensure all teams have equal resources, they are not allowed to stay in the building during the main event.

Will there be food?

Yes. Lunch, dinner, beverages, and light breakfast and snack foods will be provided, although we recommend you eat a hearty meal before arriving.

What should I bring?

Anything you need to complete your project, so likely a computer, as well as all of your supplies. TeenTech Washington can provide power and internet access, some basic supplies, but nothing else. 3D printing, laser cutting, and some electronic hardware may be available, but do not expect to be able to rely on it. If you do not own a vital piece of equipment you need for your project, feel free to email us at teentechwa@gmail.com and we will see what we can do.

We also recommend bringing a water bottle, so that you can stay hydrated throughout the event, and any snacks you may want.

Note: To save bandwidth, we will attempt to use ethernet for as many people as possible, This means, if your computer requires an adapter to plug into a CAT5 cable, bring that, too.

What should I expect to have completed by the end of the day?

The point of an event like this is to give people the time to make something. Your goal should be to a have physical or digital manifestation of your project to present at the end of the event. However, we don’t expect anything more than a prototype or proof of concept. Ideas and plans are great, but they can’t be properly judged.

What do I get for participating?

Other than the fantastic opportunity to spend a day working on a cool project with the potential of creating positive change in the world, all participants will receive official Techathon t-shirts and pins, as well as swag from our sponsors.

Are there winners and what do they receive?

All teams submitting their projects for evaluation will present to a panel of professionals, who will judge the projects. At the end of the day, up to three winners will be announced. They will receive prizes from our sponsors, the value of which will be determined by the total number of participants.

What are the judging criteria?

Projects will be judged based on three citeria: (1) How well does it address the chosen prompt? (2) How innovative/original of a solution is it? (3) How well does it make use the technology it involves? Complete judging rubrics will be available to participants onsite.

Who do I ask if I have more questions?

You can email us at TeenTechWA@gmail.com or message us on Facebook. You will also receive a confirmation email a few days before the event with all the information you need to know, and all of it will be reviewed again at the start of the event.