Tags: #MusicHack, #STEMEverywhere, @PhillyJazzApp, civic apps, civic hacker, Civic Tech, hackathon, Innovation, Knight Foundation, Random Hacks of Kindness, Social Media, Technology, voter ID, Voter Participation, voting rights
Tag Archives: hackathon
What’s Going On is a mobile web app that curates information about after-school and summer programs in Philadelphia.
While there are a number of databases that aggregate information about out-of-school-time programs, the information is not current. Parents and students are frustrated in their efforts to find safe, productive activities. The demand for academic enrichment programs will increase in the wake of the “doomsday” budget approved by the Philadelphia School Reform Commission.
In addition to the school budget crisis, Philadelphia’s digital divide is a chasm. Nearly half of Philly households do not have access to the Internet. So, many parents and students will search for safe and productive out-of-school-time activities at the public library or Keyspot public computer center. While Internet access is free, there is a time limit. Philadelphians on the wrong side of the digital divide are not free to sit there as long as it takes to find a program.
What’s Going On is at the intersection of technology, education and civic engagement. Program providers, parents and community members are invited to submit a program. The information is verified before the program is added to Wikidelphia, Philly’s local wiki.
In recognition of our efforts to promote civic engagement, the What’s Going On team has been invited to the White House to participate in the Champions of Change event which will highlight “extraordinary leaders in transformative civic hacking and civic engagement.”
The invitation reads:
On July 23, White House officials will participate in a discussion with these Champions to learn more about extraordinary individuals who are taking innovative approaches to engage citizens and communities in the practice of open government, civic participation, and civic hacking.
As a longtime champion of civic engagement, it’s an honor to be included in the mix.
Last weekend was the National Day of Civic Hacking, a two-day event that brought together technologists and subject matter experts “to create tools that make our city better.” I participated in the hackathon organized by TechnicallyPhilly.com and the City of Philadelphia at Drexel’s ExCITe Center.
I worked on a Code for Philly project with Chris Alfano and Jim Connor. We addressed the problem of the lack of a central source for information about after school and summer programs. There are a number of databases that compile information about out-of-school-time (OST) programs, but the information is not current. The demand for such programs will increase in the wake of the “doomsday” school budget recently approved by the School Reform Commission.
There’s no money and in nearly half of Philly households, no Internet access. So many parents and students will try to find out what’s going on at the library or Keyspot public computer center. While Internet access is free, users are not free to sit there as long as it takes to find a suitable program.
So we built a mobile web app that empowers parents and students to quickly access current information about after school and summer programs.
Users are able to search for programs by grade level, season (summer or year-round) and subject. What’s Going On is at the intersection of technology, education and civic engagement. The public is invited to submit a program. We will verify the information before adding the program to our community wiki, Wikidelphia.
An asset map of OST programs in Philadelphia, What’s Going On won first place. The project can serve as a national model for how developers, advocates, parents and community members can collaborate to expand access to programs that promote year-round learning and engagement.
The Nobel Prize-winning author William Faulkner famously observed: “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” At this weekend’s music hackathon, my team, All That Philly Jazz, will bring Philadelphia’s jazz legacy to the present.
The Philly Jazz App will map historic places and markers, murals and legendary jazz clubs.
Looking beyond the hackathon, we will go back to the future and augment reality along South Street, Ridge Avenue and 52nd Street. Back in the day, those corridors were jumping with jazz clubs where legends like John Coltrane, Ella Fitzgerald and B.B. King hung out. I’m already fantasizing about the Fantasy Lounge, which was located across the street from the studios of Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff’s Philadelphia International Records.
All That Philly Jazz is at the intersection of technology and art. The project can serve as a model for how art can be used to motivate underrepresented minorities to pursue STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). While jazz appeals to an older demographic, a project on, say, Philly’s or Brooklyn’s hip-hop legacy would resonate with young people who are disconnected from the innovation economy.
For more information, follow us on Twitter: @PhillyJazzApp.