DIGIEDUHACK-101: Prepare your offline DigiEduHack event
You want to host an offline DigiEduHack event? This is your starting point.
As a host, you believe in real-life group dynamics, you thrive in crowds, you want to feel the vibrations of the co-creation and you want to pamper your participants so they will enjoy every minute of your event? Welcome to hosting your first IRL ("In Real Life") DigiEduHack!
We're going to focus here on the practical aspects of actually preparing to run your offline DigiEduhack event. Check our other stories for challenge-building content, recruitment and social media strategy and getting your crew on board. And refer to our Complete Host Book for detailed, step-by-step guidelines.
(Photo: Adobe Stock)
The online part
Your DigiEduHack event may be happening offline, but there is *still* an online part. Actually two online parts: your event pages on digieduhack.com and the omnichannel chat board you have to create and set up prior to your offline event
Your event pages
Your event pages on digieduhack.com have a triple purpose: to gather in one place all the detailed info regarding your event (challenge, schedule, presentations of the members of your jury, presentation of the mentors, etc), to be the point of entry by which your future participants will register to your event and be used by the participants to upload their solutions so you can assess them. You can access these pages when you log in to your host dashboard.
Your chat board
You will use the omnichannel chat board as your primary mean of communication with your participants before, during and after your event. An omnichannel chat board, if you're not familiar with this type of tool, is a channel-based synchronous multi-chat platform that allows users to communicate between themselves in real-time and in an organised way. Boards are organised around channels, with usually a channel per topic. There are two main types of omnichannel chat boards: open-source platforms and proprietary platforms. All open-source omnichannel chat boards are 100% free to use, provided that you can install and self-host them. Rocket.Chat, Mattermost belong to this category. Proprietary chat boards, such as Slack, are freemiums: you can use them for free with some limitations. In the case of Slack, if you intend to use the board solely to run your DigiEduHack event, the free version should fit your needs.
Your venue has a great influence on your event. (Photo: Adobe Stock)
Your venue is key!
The choice of the venue where your DigiEduHack event will take place is definitively important. Your venue - should be accessible to all: we're talking here about both accessibility on location at all levels (hallways, corridors, toilets, ...) and by public transportation - should be safe: your participants will come with their laptops and own material so you want to make sure that they will be comfortable at your venue - should cover all your technical needs: be sure that your venue has enough electric outlets, super-strong wifi with dedicated maintenance, space to put a screen and its projector, and so on - should fit your event schedule: be sure that there is a late-night entrance, late-night transportation and that there are places around your venue for your participants to get food - should provide three distinctive spaces: a stage for all live events, a separated working space where teams can co-create in the best conditions, and a silent/sound-resistant resting space
Planning amd communicating ahead will save you A LOT of time (Photo: Adobe Stock)
Plan, prepare, communicate
While this also applies to online hackathons, it's even more crucial for offline events. The more you will plan, prepare and communicate with your crew and participants, the smoother your offline DigiEduhack event will run. Plan and share your schedule with both your crew and your participants. Remember that you will never repeat things enough, so use multiple channels to carry the info. Be consistent in your info: for example, try to use a boiler-plate schedule so that no matter the channel, the message will remain the same.
We're not going here into the event plan details: you can read more about this in our Complete Host Book. Instead, let's focus on communication with your participants. This is one of the key factors to a successful event. Start communicating with your participants as soon as they register to your event. Create your omnichannel chat board and start inviting your participants. The great thing about your chat board is that you can touch upon a lot of topics prior to your event: explain your challenge in detail, reply to your participants' questions, help participants to find a team, have the teams present themselves, etc. Follow the "one topic, one channel" rule, but don't go overboard with the number of channels you create: it's much better to keep all your info gathered in a few active channels than having it scattered around!
Think global, act in the details (Photo: Adobe Stock)
Have you thought about...
DigiEduhack is a free, inclusive, accessible, sustainable event. All your planning and actions as a host should reflect these core values, even in the smallest details.
When ordering the catering remember to consider all kinds of diets (vegan/gluten-free/vegetarian/allergies, but also halal/kosher) and opt for healthy food. Don't forget the beverages!
Is your venue fully accessible? If you have different spaces, are they all accessible? Are the restrooms also accessible? What about the main entrance?
Have enough facilitators, moderators and mentors available so that all participants will be treated equally. Have members of your crew around the venue, visible, so that participants can reach them easily.
Get memories! Record, capture and share images of your event. Grant your photo/videographer access to all parts of your event, from the front of the main room to the backstages. Try to film /record the speeches, your speakers, the pitches.
What happens if the local rules on public gatherings suddenly change due to the evolutions of the COVID-19 situation? Do you have a backup plan? Just in case, check what you'll need to run an online DigiEduHack!
Are planning to have some goodies for all your participants? Are these goodies sustainable? Are they really necessary? If you do want to have goodies, can you think about things that would benefit local communities?
Have you read our Complete Host Book? It's full of insights and hands-on frameworks. And we made it just for you.