Tag Archives: barcamp

What’s on the EYC unConference programme?

A wordle that captures essence of 2010 unconferenceAn unConference is unlike your everyday conference. Until the day, we do not know the details of what is going to be covered.

The programme is co-created by participants at the beginning of the event. Everyone attending can run a session.

These can take a myriad of formats: presentations, case studies, interactive workshops or even inviting others to respond to your particular challenge or problem.

While there is not a pre-determined agenda, there is a structure and a theme. At the EYC unConference, on Saturday 22 February at Massey University’s Wellington campus, we’re splitting the day into five sessions, each 50 minutes long. There’s difference spaces available for each session.

Our theme is: finding and using the best of what the web has to offer for people working to make the world a better place.

It’s a crazily broad topic which could touch on everything from resizing images, creating mobile apps, database selection through to high level social media engagement strategy.

Ahead of the event, people registering will have chances to share ideas of the specific topics they want to cover.

Ideas are already bubbling away. One of our co-organisers wants to run a speed geeking session: he envisages people rotating around 3-4 rapid fire presentations on essential web tools and skills. As we’ve access to a theatrette at Massey University, we could open the doors for people to share a favourite #nptech video.

Feeling a little uncertain about participating? Here are some ideas from Scott Berkun in 2006 about “How to run a great unconference session”.

Presented with a blank agenda, along with gentle encouragement, people don’t actually run a mile. They dive in. I’m sure it’ll be the same again next month. Come along.

Register now!!!

Engage Your Community (EYC) unconference, Saturday 22 February 2014

Details at: http://eyc-unconference.wikispaces.com/
Registration just $30 per person: http://engage-your-community-unconference.lilregie.com/

Organised by Wellington ICT in partnership with NetSquared Wellington and Massey University.

Post NetSquared Downunder ‘virtual’ camp wrap-up

Jon from Loomio.org onstage in WellingtonWhen Evan from Adelaide’s voice distorted, warbled and crackled, I thought the show was over. Would our brave experiment bringing together four speakers in from four cities one hour come to an early end?

These sonic hijinks caused the only anxious moment in our NetSquared Downunder virtual camp held last Thursday.

We used free Google technology and standard webcams to successfully share innovative web projects between the four live and online. People watched from venues in Adelaide, Auckland, Melbourne and our very own wee capital city. And beyond in the wider world.

Over the previous four months the event’s four organisers played our way into being relaxed with Google’s online meeting place/ service/ tool. Google+ Hangout is user friendly and robust.

We also depended on uber fast broadband actually working on the night – something only reliably available in big cities for now. Even when one of the venues lost its wifi connection, thus the aforementioned warbling, the broadcast was able to continue using a tethered cellphone to stream in the internet.

It was the sharing the substance of the four projects that made the whole event worth it. People stayed behind talking about each of the four projects showcased.

It’s been really enjoyable virtually working alongside three talented and energetic organisers generously giving their time to make the event happen. I tip my hat to my co-organisers Richenda Vermeulen in Melbourne, Lindsey Talerico-Hedren in Auckland and Ben Teoh in Adelaide.

There’re rumours of more sharing using a similar approach within the regional NetSquared network and beyond. I’m definitely keen to use free tools and my freshly tested knowhow to contribute.

Read some more about NetSquared Downunder ‘virtual’ camp

  1. Photos from the NetSquared Wellington event, 29 November 2012 – thanks Stephen and Mihn
  2. A write up about the topics and tech by Ben Teoh
  3. NetSquared Wellington meetup group – open to anyone interested in using the web to make the world a better place
  4. The live broadcast via YouTube was started early, jump to 58:54 to get to the heart of things.

Photo credit: Aggregatormag

EYC unConference – waiting is over

Partially fill agenda maxtrix from the EYC  unConferenceWaiting for the first guests to arrive at a party is always agonising. Nervous glances at the clock as nibbles sit untouched. Glasses empty. Silence. Will anyone come?

At the EYC unConference, held on a glorious spring Saturday, the worry wasn’t so much would people come. But would participants dive into the process of setting the agenda for the day together. Or would people be stand-offish, shuffle awkwardly, avoid eye contact.

I didn’t have to worry. The empty agenda board was almost filled by 10.15 am, with five minutes to go until the first session. The first nine slots were taken, dismissing the rumour that kiwis can be shy about sitting in the first row.

The recipe worked: throw people together, with some priming, then turn it over to the participants. During the day I picked up on several comments about how people were effectively self-moderating the sessions. People were genuinely able to raise questions, queries and concerns.

When we held a casual wrap-up session at 3.50pm, energy levels were still high. The conversation flowed, and there was lots of good natured banter.

EYC unConference Wordle - a jumble of words from the closing session Our impromptu Wordle – co-created during the closing session to reflect what people had got out of the day – really demonstrated in my mind the good match between community, voluntary people and the unConference format. We’d achieved both a lot of sharing and participation.

It was obvious during the day that people also rose to our scene setting speaker Alexandra Lutyens’ challenge to have fun. Don’t take yourself too seriously she urged.

As the day closed, although weary from facilitating (and being a horn honking shepherd) I was already talking about organising a future event and more networking. Whatever the pre-event nerves, I’ve no qualms about being involved in another unConference.

EYC unConference: growing before our eyes

There’s something really addictive about being involved in an event that grows before your eyes. As the organiser for the Engage your community (EYC) unConference I can’t help myself from looking at the list of potential topics to see if anyone has added anything new.

Today a new topic suggestion arrived on the wiki: a question about whether Google Apps will help a residents association consolidate its large list of online tools. Amongst the other topics suggested, some of them are equally as big.

We’re envisaging that whoever turns up on the day will shine some light on the topics people are suggesting.

The format is classic barcamp (which I first wrote excitedly about in May 2007, see “Fogged in after the Govis 2007 conference”): everyone attending generates the programme on the day, filling available sessions with topics that are important to them.

However, we’ve changed the name. We don’t think barcamp (or it’s siblings cloudcamp, wordcamp, etc) means anything amongst the volunteer webmasters and others working in community and voluntary organisations using the web we’re aiming to attract.

As well as half a dozen topics, 25 have people signed up. We’ve got room for 100 more so feel free to register now.

As I’ve subscribed to get updates in my RSS reader from the unConference wikispace, I’ll be the first to know if a new topics is listed. Time to go now to feed my addiction.

EYC unConference details: Saturday 21 August 2010, Wellington Whanganui-a-tara. Hosted by Wellinton ICT, charitable trust.

Talking about Google – Barcamp notes

To say that I use Google everyday is an understatement. As soon as I start my web browser Wellington’s weather flashes up on the screen as part of my iGoogle start page. When I actually start desk writing or researching when I’m at my desk I tend to search random topics at least once every hour.

Of course, I use much more than search. There is Analytics for monitoring traffic on my blog, Docs for working on or sharing documents with others and Alerts in my inbox on a couple of topics I closely follow. Looking at my Google Account page I notice the list of Google products I’ve used at least one now stretches to 20.

Concerns about privacy and the market power of the behemoth seldom register. This changed when I attended the NZ Google Barcamp on 25 March. This free-spirited unconference followed the standard Barcamp approach with the program designed by participants on the day.

The degree to which privacy is being compromised and the near monopoly behaviour of Google received a lot of air time. It was all rather inconclusive, with views ranging from paranoid to pragmatic. People mulled on the extent to which Google is driving new notions of public/ private, or whether it just reflects the prevailing ethos on the Internet.

A session on Google Analytics pointed to one of the drawbacks of barcamps. The person who initiated the session, and may well have known something about the statistics programme, didn’t come along. Nor was there with anyone particular expertise in the room. Round we went with our own small slices of knowledge about how to make sense of the powerful webstats application. The session definitely confirmed we were all in the same boat, knowing enough to get in trouble.

At 3.00pm, live from Australia, two Google staff politely rebuffed questions about secret information they knew about but couldn’t share, and shed light on the vast array of products offered. The contradictions in the vast, sprawling company were obvious after they talked about software development processes. Take the Google Wave, which attracted such attention last year, now seems to be on the backburner: it was described as an application looking for a solution. With 20,000 software engineers it’s no wonder Google’s arms are reaching in every direction.

After a day of Googling the sponsors shouted participants a round at the nearest bar – very generous considering the event was free. I didn’t get anything particularly practical out of the event, but I did enjoy the conversation. For now my Google habits probably won’t change, but I’m much more wary of an entity which I can let track my every mouse click (and that of hundreds of millions of other people).

PS Fortunately, earlier in the week I learned one very useful new thing about Google. Speaking at the first e-rider learning lunch in 2010 Alan Royal, from SeniorNet Wellington, told us about a relatively recent extension of Google Docs service: you can now store and share any document. Not just text documents and spreadsheets, but also pdfs, jpgs, ods, etc. If you want more than the 1GB of free storage, you can purchase additional at the rate of $5 USD per year for 20 GB.