Monday, November 17, 2014

A Twist on #edcamp


edcamp apple used with permission
I've been lucky to be a part of a pretty dynamic Voxer channel of edcamp organizers for the last several months. We've spent a good chunk of time talking about a lot of different things: sponsorship of edcamps, how to run a slam at the end of edcamp better, how to get a more varied group of people at edcamp - the conversations have been pretty wide-ranging.

I was excited to get to steal a couple of ideas from this amazing group of folks and integrate them into our most recent edcampSFBay, which was held in August. We tweaked the slam at the end and made some changes to how we ran the raffle. Both seemed to run better with the tweaks - progress!

We've also spent a lot of time on this Voxer channel talking about what edcamp 2.0 looks like. What is the next iteration of edcamp? The conversation circles back to this every so often, and some really intriguing ideas have been shared.

For me, the magic of edcamp is the people. It's the conversations. It's getting to see old friends. But edcamps can be a lot of work - ask any organizer and they'll tell you. But here's the thing about the "edcamps are a lot of work": it's work I do as an organizer gladly. Happily. This holds true for every other edcamp organizer out there.

So what is all that work? A site to hold the edcamp is one major hurdle. Once you've got that, the ball starts rolling. But there are other areas that take some doing. Sponsorships. Name tags. Organizing food and drink. Setting up areas to display swag. Making the slide decks for the day.

Know what doesn't take a lot of work? Building the session board.
This is the easy part! (Photo is mine)


So wait. What if you've got a place that has hosted and wants to continue to host edcamps? (Thanks Notre Dame of Belmont!) What if you ran an edcamp without sponsors. Without food and drink. Without swag. Without all the things that take a ton of work. Just sessions.

What if this edcamp was from 8-12? Build the session board. Three hour-long sessions. Everyone goes home at noon with the whole afternoon to do work or be with their family.

All of the excellent conversations that is edcamp. None of the hassles that can be timesucks for organizers.

Well, we're going to figure that out. edcampSFBay is going to run two express edcamps this spring in Belmont. Keep an eye out for tweets about it. Come join us! It'll be a blast. And way easier for us organizers :)

Note: I make no claim at being the person to come up with this idea. This bubbled out of a dynamic group of edcamp organizers chatting on Voxer. I also am sure that other edcamps have done half day events with no sponsors. I'm sure this isn't an original idea.

But I'm also sure that these express edcamps will rock. And they'll be way less work for the  organizers - which means more edcamp for everyone!