| By Aimme Keener |
Gale’s credo starts with the statement “We believe in the power and joy of learning,” and the technology team truly embraces this. Once a month, our team stops all of its day-to-day work on the floor and participates in a hackathon. Hackathons aren’t new. They have become mainstream in the technology industry. Gale’s hackathon is a place where developers can work on a real-world problem or invest in learning a new technology. It’s a day where your only constraint is your imagination. Our only rule is that people spend their hackathon day working on something they love.
At Gale, we are lucky to have a large number of developers who are passionate about developing applications and features that students, teachers, and librarians will love. During hackathons, the “hackers” often build upon using existing Gale features or create entirely new features that Gale hasn’t explored in the past. For example, at previous hackathons, the technology team has created virtual reality applications, investigated how we could use machine learning to surface search results in new and interesting ways, and focused on how we could take advantage of Google for Education features.
One of our hackathon ideas has received a lot of press recently: the Opposing Viewpoints In Context’s Google Chrome Extension.
The concept and the Chrome Extension itself was developed over a few hackathons. It was user tested at the 2016 School Library Journal conference and then, after a little more tweaking, became part of Gale’s official product offering. This is a great example of how allowing extra room for creativity created a new feature that our customers are excited about. Some have even called it a “game changer.”
We hope that the Opposing Viewpoints In Context Google Chrome Extension is just the first of many big hackathon wins. In our hackathons, we believe in thinking big and working without constraints. By doing this, we believe Gale will continue to create products and features that students, teachers, and librarians love and can’t live without.
The Gale technology team is constantly on the lookout for new ideas and technologies to explore during our hackathons. If you have an idea that you would like for us to investigate, you can reach us at GaleAppsForEducation@cengage.com. We can’t wait to see what’s possible.