Hawaiʻi's Technology Community

Aloha TechHuians. As part of our initiative to grow the TechHui community, we are announcing what is, to our knowledge, the world's first meta-contest. This is a contest to come up with a clever contest :-) The winner of the meta-contest will have their choice of two months of free top level sponsorship (see the Sponsors area to the right) on the TechHui site, a $998 value, or the new 16GB iPod nano.
The Rules 1) You must be a member of TechHui. 2) The contest you propose must relate to science or technology. 3) Employees and contractors of TechHui's sponsors are not eligible. 4) The contest cannot be oriented toward promotion of a company, product or service. 5) The contest must only be open to members of TechHui. 6) Submissions must be made as responses to this blog post received on or before February 1st, 2010 (midnight HST is the cutoff) Any other form of submission will not be accepted. Entries will be judged by a panel of five judges put together by the TechHui team. The criteria with be creativity and expected efficacy in increasing membership. TechHui reserves the right to exclude entries, at its discretion, for any reason, including the expected cost and complexity of the entry's implementation.

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Comment by Rik Jadrnicek on January 1, 2010 at 8:38pm
Photo contest
"Best Sustainable or Green Technological Event in 2009"
Hold a reception at the TechHui Office in SL ... I'll build the donation jar ...
Comment by Rik Jadrnicek on January 1, 2010 at 8:18pm
How about a contest using Sketchup 3D and Google Earth (both free)
Maybe that would be a little more benign ...
Google is encouraging students and general population to build their cities, universities, etc.
"Best University of Hawaii Building", "Best TechHui Office"
Then assemble winners and submit to Google to get UofH more into Google Earth & the warehouse ...
Then hold a virtual reception in SL ... :)
Comment by GB Hajim on January 1, 2010 at 7:54pm
Riffing on Katharine's idea:

A Mentorship Contest:

Which Tech Hui member can mentor the most local kids into viable careers?

Format of mentorship can be of participant's choosing.

Everyone who successfully mentors a kid into a full time job in tech is a winner!

Full disclosure: I have quite a few already.
Comment by Daniel Leuck on January 1, 2010 at 7:53pm
Hi folks. I hope you are enjoying the first day of 2010.

Katharine - Would it be accurate to summarize your question as, "What can we assume about contestants?" That is a reasonable question. You can assume that they are able to access TechHui, because membership is a requirement of participation. This means having at least occasional access to a computer and an internet connection. We have public facilities in Hawaii that provide this sort of access. Libraries provide access and, through the hard work of people like Curtis and his Hawaiian Hope organization, computer access is provided in homeless shelters. Could we have better access for our wider community? Absolutely, and we encourage community members to contribute to those organizations that work toward this end (Kanu Hawaii, Hawaiian Hope, etc.) The new Hawaiian Hope Group is a good place to discuss these topics.

Now, to the question of this particular contest. This is really a contest for members of the TechHui community (current and potential), so SL is absolutely fair game. That being said, I think you have brought up a good idea - a future meta-contest specifically for bettering the wider community.

Finally, the entries below that are able to meet the contest's criteria and help the wider community certainly get points for creativity, along with all the usual benefits of helping your community :-) For the record, we have enjoyed reading all the ideas that have come in so far. Its going to be a hard contest to judge.
Comment by Francis L. Camacho on January 1, 2010 at 7:35pm
I believe your comments are quite valid. The initial spark you wrote about as a means to propel one's imagination to explore the world around them is a powerful thing. And from there they will be able to discern which avenue to take to reach their goals. A certain avenue may or may not work for one person but may for another. So its important to enlighten them of the choices that are out there.

I offer my own personal anecdote. Years ago when I first saw the movie "Tron", I was amazed but also a bit disheartened. Hawaii at the time had no access to any computers nor software nor training to even learn how to do the kind of CGI that was in the movie. But the spark was there and although it took me years (a slight career detour and moving to L.A.) I have to say the impact of first seeing it never died and today I find myself working on "Tron Legacy" the sequel to the original movie.

My path was multi-tracked so to speak full of whatever approaches I could afford or took an interest in. I am just grateful that it was not limited to just one approach.
Comment by Katharine Osborne on January 1, 2010 at 4:15pm
Gabe, Rik,

I said I thought (my opinion) that it wasn't fair, I didn't mean it wasn't a valid idea. I'm interested in broadening the community of technology enthusiast specifically in Hawaii. I believe that personal interaction, volunteering to go to schools and community centers and bringing our enthusiasm and knowledge directly to the people who can most benefit from it (and might not realize it), in addition to the efforts of under-funded professional educators, would be a cost efficient way to reach a lot of people.

This is an anecdote, but when I was a kid, Buzz Aldrin came to my school to talk about his experiences in the Apollo missions. The entire student body was in the gym, listening to him and watching a slideshow of pictures from the moon and the mission. There wasn't a kid in the room who wasn't completely in rapt attention through the entire thing. Granted, I don't think any one of us here has the geek cred of Buzz Aldrin, and lectures and slideshows are usually boring, but if the same material had been presented in a film we all had to watch, or a unit in a textbook, it would not have had the same impact.

While I think SL is valid, and definitely useful for delivering some kinds of content to some kinds of people, I question how effective it would be in reaching people intimidated by it or not interested in 3D games. Why is it so hard to understand that a simple solution may be the most effective one?

Gabe, shunning criticism in a forum of all places is ironic. It's spurring discussion and that's positive.
Comment by Rik Jadrnicek on January 1, 2010 at 2:48pm
Good concerns, and I am sure you are not alone.
I quess I am just really impressed by how children, handicapped, and elder members of our community can participate in educational events they would not otherwise be able to (or afford to) attend. And they can personnaly interact and collaborate with others from all over the world. I recently had a conversation with a lady from Japan, and a fellow from Argentina. The translator we all installed (free) was letting us talk in our own languages.

You might want to check into how K-12 and other educators are looking at 3D worlds to offer educational experiences to their students. Also, many universities are now conducting credit courses in 3D world environments where their students can listen, but also collaborate in real-time. They can even build models to share.

Here is a recent machinima production I put together for a group of educators interested in sustainable education in SL.

I think that kids who are already well into 3D games, will have no trouble attending to educational events of this kind.

Hope this helps ...
Comment by Gabe Morris on January 1, 2010 at 2:45pm
"I think the SL idea excludes those without access to computers, and frankly that's not fair"

I didn't convene this contest, but how's about we each use this forum to submit our ideas without commenting negatively on other people's submissions? Katharine, whether the point you make is right or wrong is immaterial. Every idea has its merits and demerits and I leave it to the wisdom of the people who convened the contest to sort that stuff out.
Comment by Katharine Osborne on January 1, 2010 at 2:34pm
Rik, I'm not convinced that SL trumps personal human interaction, especially when it comes to instruction (but quote me a couple of peer-reviewed papers and prove me wrong, personal anecdotes don't do anything for me). I'm not saying that there isn't room for virtual instruction among other methods, but simply 1) you must have frequent access to a computer able to get to or run SL in order to use it 2) you must not be intimidated or put off by the technology 3) you must find the technology engaging enough to use over and over again and not be bored. If the purpose is to encourage people who aren't enthusiastic about technology, then we need to examine whether and where the technology itself is a barrier, and how to best get around it.
Comment by Rik Jadrnicek on January 1, 2010 at 2:03pm
Broad? Cheap?
I collaborate with children through adults all over the world on SL,
and it is free, and many of the seminars and lessons are free ...
and you can operate it from a school computer.
Granted, your experience will be better with a well-equipped computer,
but it does not have to be owned by you ...
Not sure I understand your concern ...
And SL is just one of over a 100 virtual worlds ...


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