DAILY INSIGHT: The APPMazing Race: A great way to increase collaboration & learning at an event - Tech Learning

DAILY INSIGHT: The APPMazing Race: A great way to increase collaboration & learning at an event

Encourage collaboration and creativity at your next meeting or event. Here's how. 
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By Carl Hooker, CIO Advisor

This year at iPadpalooza we were looking to do something a little different with all that "transition" time in between sessions. Often times, when you attend a conference, you find yourself in complete session-mode. You rush from session to session, never taking time to reflect, interact or collaborate with others at the event.

And so, the APPMazing Race was born. When the team at iPadpalooza started brainstorming ideas, we passed around the thought of some sort of app-based Olympics. Last year, we did an Aurasma scavenger hunt to get people interacting with their space. It was a great time-filler but was purely for individuals. We hoped that inventing a teamwork challenge would make the actual event even more meaningful. We ended up with 47 teams of 3 to 4 players signing up for the race by the end of the opening keynote. At midnight of the first day, they received their instructions of what they had to accomplish in the next 36 hours.

Unscheduled Challenges:
1. CREATE - A logo and team name for your team
2. LISTEN - Create a 15- to 20-second audio podcast that summarizes your favorite session. (background music/sound effects for a bonus point)
3. CONNECT - Oneteam member must make a new friend from somewhere else (not on their team) and find 3 things they have in common. Create a Thinglink to represent your new friend and the 3 things you have in common. (Bonus point for finding someone from a different state or country.)
4. SNEAK - A team member photo-bombs an Eanes iVenger (hint: they will be wearing red crew shirts on Wednesday) Clarification: A proper photo bomb is when someone sneaks into a photo from behind.
5. CAPTURE - Take 5 selfies with vendors and post to Instagram with hashtag #iplza14 and your team name. Capture all 5 for final submission video. 1 point per selfie.
6. EAT - Create a Canva poster based on your favorite food item from the food trucks.
7. DRAW - Usinga drawing app, create your best caricature of another team member.
8. CHALLENGE - Create and post a Vine of a team member asking a presenter a question. (please don’t interrupt a session just for this - that could result in a deduction)
9. OUTREACH - Connect with someone over FaceTime who is not at the event and show them around. Take a screenshot that displays evidence you are here.
10. SHARE - Upload and share your final video submission somewhere visible on the web. Your final video must be no longer than 2 minutes.

We also had two scheduled challenges from 3:30-4:30 in the main room of iPadpalooza on Day 2 where the teams had to complete these tasks:
1. DRIVE - Control a Sphero through an obstacle course. 5 attempts per team. Bonus points to the top 3 teams that take the shortest time to complete the challenge.
2. SMASH - Create an Appsmash LIVE during the day 2 closing activity. Theme of the smash will be given at 3:30. You must smash as many apps as you have team members +1 (so a team of 4 must smash 5 apps).

Bonus points were possible for teams with evidence of the top tweets and creativity of final video submission. While we could have just made it a checklist of items and drawn names out of a hat, we decided instead to judge their final submissions. Rather than fact check every item, the 2-minute video was the proof teams had to submit to at noon prior to the closing.

We had an amazing 18 teams complete the challenge and many were made up of people from completely different districts. In retrospect I would have loved to have given every finishing team an award, but we ended up just awarding the top three prizes. Here is what the winning video submission looked like from Team "FargoFromDownUnder Appletes"

While there are always areas to improve, this race was successful in bringing colleagues together (either from the same district or even different countries) to engage and collaborate with an event rather than just being a passive participant. We look forward to even more teams competing next year and know now that the bar has been raised!

Official APPMazing Race Rules & Challenges 2014 PDF

Carl Hooker is director of innovation & digital learning at Eanes ISD in Texas and blogs at Hooked on Innovation, where this is cross posted.

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