Tag Archives: Wellington ICT

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.

Less than a week to go….

Engage your community organising team hard at workNext Thursday at least 125 people will be gathering to learn and talk about using the web for their not for profit organisation. The Engage Your Community conference is being held at Massey University in Wellington on 4 September.

The organising team (pictured above) met on Thursday for a final wrap up. Despite the last minute loss of Russell Brown as a speaker, the programme is complete and we’re all geared up for the event.

The main point of the day is to get people using some online tools in computer labs. Everything from running surveys to digital storytelling will be covered.

The Wellington e-rider IT service will be having a simple stand: anyone can come along and ask our roving IT professional Lindsay Hunter about networking, software installations, buying new computers or anything else.

I’ve ordered a $225 second-hand Dell computer from CoinNet on it so that we can do a show and tell if necessary. It comes loaded with Windows XP, but I’ll be loading the open source operating system Ubuntu as soon as I can.

I never intended to have a Windows PC in my possession, but the Dell will be invaluable for late night testing of websites on different browsers. That’s if I can work out how to run both Internet Explorer 6.0 and 7.0 simultaneously – tips welcome.

Registrations for the conference are still open – and possibly still at the early bird rate. Get in touch with Mike Brown, details on the website.

We’re up and rolling!

Monday night marked a significant milestone for the Wellington e-rider IT service. After all the planning, discussion, highs and lows, we held a big celebration.

As the banner and invite said, “We’re up and rolling”.

About 50 odd people turned up to help us celebrate at Internet NZ’s boardroom. There was a great buzz, and we kept formalities to a very respectable 27 minutes.

I can’t do justice to the speechifying, nor can I point you to the contribution by Ruth Dyson, Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector, because it’s not online yet.

Instead, take a look at the slideshow created by Nathan Donaldson from Boost New Media and a member of the project steering group. (NB The slideshow is slow to load and I’m just experimenting using the flickr plugin.) Or check out the unadulterated press release on Scoop (“E-Rider Delivers ICT Support“) or WCN (“Who is that masked man?”).

Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

Photos also online as an eRider launch photoset on flickr.

Lindsay, the project’s first roving IT professional, is being kept very busy. The number of organisations signing up is growing and our systems to support this are in place. We’ve got another eight months for the pilot project to run, when our seed funding dries up. I forsee lots of debates coming up about how we simultaneously meet demand and survive financially.

Before I forget, the celebration also marked the formal change in name for the Wellington Region 2020 Communications Trust: we’re now known as Wellington ICT.

Official thank you notes are on the way, but on my quick roll call I’d like to say thanks heaps to: Red Vespa, our extraordinary event organiser Sandra McDonald, Red Pebble, InternetNZ, all the Steering Group members, Director Mike, Tim, Erin, Sue (@ Minimum Graphics), Simon for loaning the Brompton, Glenn at the ColourGuy, fellow Trustees, and Trust chair Erina for her unfailing commitment and drive.