You may spend most of your time browsing the 80+ exhibitor booths at the 7th annual Vermont Tech Jam. But when you need a break, duck into one of these sessions for some inspiration or hands-on tinker time.

Thursday, October 17

3-7 p.m.

Exhibitor set up

Friday, October 18

10 a.m.

See ongoing demonstrations of video games, 3-D printing, robots and more on the exhibition floor.

10:15 a.m.

Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger opens the Vermont Tech Jam with an announcement about Burlington’s digital future.

11 a.m.

Mayor Miro Weinberger moderates a conversation exploring Burlington’s digital future. Panelists include: Bill Wallace, Executive Director, US Ignite; Ray Daniels, former school superintendent, Kansas City, Kansas; Sheldon Grizzle, founder, Company Lab; Erika Lowe, Partnership for Change Community Based Learning Fellow, Burlington High School educator; Jonathan T. Rajewski, assistant professor, Digital Forensics, Champlain College, Director/Principal Investigator, Senator Patrick Leahy Center for Digital Investigation (LCDI); digital forensic examiner, Vermont Internet Crimes Task Force; Rubi Simon, Director, Fletcher Free Library.
Have you ever driven a robot? Want to give it a try? The members of Essex High School’s US FIRST robotics club build their own ‘bots with help from teachers and community mentors. Stop by the Demo Zone to see the “playing field” they use in competitions with other high school robotics clubs and take a turn controlling one of their creations. You can also learn more about starting your own US FIRST club — or sponsoring or mentoring a Vermont team.

noon

As a kid growing up in rural Vermont, Marguerite Dibble wasn’t allowed to watch much TV or play many video games. Then, as a student at Champlain College in Burlington, she studied video game art and animation and founded Birnam Wood Games with some of her classmates after graduation in 2012. Located in Burlington’s Karma Bird House, their studio produces video games and commercial projects for local clients. Their latest project, Pathogen, will be released in October by independent game publisher Gameblyr. In this presentation, Marguerite shares Birnam Wood’s story.

1 p.m.

Recruiters from C2 and Dealer.com — two of Vermont’s fastest-growing tech companies — offer tips to job seekers who want to stand out in the hiring process. Michelle Brown, Seven Days employment account executive, moderates the discussion.
Want to make video games? The process doesn’t start in front of a screen. First you need to design an irresistibly fun and challenging game. In this hands-on, hour-long workshop, the staff of Burlington-based Birnam Wood Games will explain some basic principles, split the group into teams and invite them to make their own games using simple tools. Limit: 15 participants. Please register in advance.

2 p.m.

Champlain College Assistant Professor Jonathan Rajewski, director of the Leahy Center for Digital Investigation, was one of the first professors to get Google Glass and use it in the classroom. He’ll be demonstrating it at the Vermont Tech Jam and discussing uses, myths and misconceptions about this new wearable technology.

3 p.m.

Every techy person knows somebody — a parent, a grandparent, an uncle, a friend — who is not fully digitally literate. In fact, around 30 percent of Americans currently have no broadband internet access at home. In this workshop, tech teachers from the Vermont Digital Economy Project present stories from the other side of the digital divide. They explain how to approach students and friends in need of digital help with empathy, patience and understanding — and why helping to bridge that divide is important for all of us. Panelists include: Domenic Laurenzi, Internet Intern in the Northeast Kingdom; Jennie Martin, Lead Teacher/Community Coordinator, Randolph Learning Center; Mary Kay Dreher, Coordinator of Academic Services, Community College of Vermont, Montpelier; moderator Caitlin Lovegrove, Network and Outreach Coordinator, Vermont Digital Economy Project.
What can you make with a $45 computer? Digital artists, programmers, and tinkerers learn how to create interactive, programmable objects with the BeagleBone Black, a credit-card-sized computer ideal for makers. In this one-hour workshop, led by staffers from Logic Supply, participants will learn the hardware and software building blocks they need to bring ideas to life. Space is limited. Please register here.

4 p.m.

Vermont’s institutions of higher learning spawn some of the area’s most exciting new innovations. Learn about a few of the latest high-profile projects at this discussion with Corine Farewell, Director of the University of Vermont’s Office of Technology Commercialization, and Andy Cutts of the Cyber Conflict Research Institutes at Norwich University’s Applied Research Institutes. Cutts’ team recently won a multi-million-dollar contract from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Seven Days associate publisher Cathy Resmer moderates.
See description above. Space is limited. Please register here.

5 p.m.

Saturday, October 19

10 a.m.

See ongoing demonstrations of video games, 3-D printing, robots and more on the exhibition floor.
See description above. Space is limited. Please register here.
This hackathon-inspired, 24-hour storytelling competition kicks off during the Vermont Tech Jam. At the launch event, 20 teams will gather to get their instructions. They’ll have 24 hours to create an original story across at least three different media. The winners will present their stories on Sunday morning, and organizers will invite the public to vote for their favorite stories. Find more information at storyhackvt.com.

11 a.m.

Recruiters from Logic Supply, MyWebGrocer and Green Mountain Coffee Roasters — three of Vermont’s fastest-growing companies — offer tips to job seekers who want to stand out in the hiring process. Pat Boera, from Champlain College Career Services, moderates the discussion.
See description from Friday. Space is limited. Please register here.

noon

Representatives from Vermont’s US FIRST teams explain how kids — and adults — can get involved in robotics competitions. Essex High School robotics instructor Joe Chase moderates.
See description from Friday. Space is limited. Please register here.

1 p.m.

One of the world’s most advanced humanoid robots lives in Lincoln, Vermont! Bina48 talks, moves and learns from others. She was modeled after Bina Aspen, cofounder with Dr. Martine Rothblatt, of the Terasem Movement. The Lincoln-based Terasem Movement Foundation invites you to download your memories to its servers and become a “lifenaut” — think astronaut, but instead of exploring space, you’re exploring the boundaries of human consciousness. Director Bruce Duncan introduces Bina48 and explains how and why you should think about creating a “mindfile” with his organization.
See description from Friday. Space is limited. Please register here.

2 p.m.

In this presentation, “white hat” hackers from the local Code for BTV Brigade demonstrate and explain their civic hacking projects, including Lakecraft, an educational tool that uses a custom modification to Minecraft to gamify the Lake Champlain Basin. Trust us, it’s pretty neat. Bradley Holt, Code for BTV Brigade Captain, moderates.

3 p.m.