By Lara Onayak
Ryerson students were challenged by publishers, authors, device manufacturers and others to demonstrate their digital side at the annual Story Hackathon, hosted by the Transmedia Centre and the Radio and Television Arts (RTA) School of Media from Friday, March 7 to Saturday, March 8.
Students were assigned into groups and their task was to come up with new ideas and work on new multimedia projects, by storytelling through the world of books. Each group had participants from different programs.
The annual 24-hour event was held in the Transmedia Zone at the Rogers Communication Centre (RCC) and was open to all students from all programs. The promotional hash tag #HackTheBook allowed students to win prizes.
Amiga Taylor, organizer of Hackathon, referred to the event as “edutatement”, a collaboration of the words “education” and “entertainment”.
“Students get to collaborate, innovate [and] showcase their skills because it’s hard for students to collaborate outside of school,” she said.
“The Transmedia Zone is creativity and innovation all in one place,” said Charles Falzon, chair of the RTA School of Media. “[It’s] not just thinking but performing and let[ting] your imagination set free.”
After students signed their names and a dozen cameras were set up, key speakers took the stand from different organizations with their pitches and challenges for students.
Richard Lachman, director of the RTA Transmedia Zone, explained how all students benefit from this experience, regardless of their program, because all students are connected to books.
“[With the different backgrounds] you are generating new ideas and making something that demonstrates idea,” said Lachman. “Ryerson exists to further the future of storytelling.”
Ramona Pringle, faculty member at RTA School of Media, explained how the world is changing rapidly through video content. She urged all participants to try their best for the hackathon.
“Go big. This is not school [and] be brave, you are not being graded,” Pringle said.
After participants heard each challenge, groups were generated in different rooms within the RCC. The expert panelists led their groups and engaged with participants in the 24 hours they had to create a story experience through technological platforms.
“There are so many opportunities we can do and add something new to [the] Ryerson student experience,” said Fangmin Wong, head of library information technology services.