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It’s been a very busy two weeks since Event Camp Twin Cities, thus the lateness on my report about this wonderful experience. Recently I blogged about “thinking differently” and indeed, that seems to be a recurring theme in my head. That thought led me to experience Event Camp Twin Cities as a pod audience member in Philadelphia. 

 

I had attended the first Event Camp in New York City and was blown away by the concept of live streaming a meeting to extend the audience reach. Additionally I was blown away by the innovative learning techniques used. There was very little straight lecture by a talking head. Participants were engaged. This actually brought me back to memories of my days as a teacher.

 

Fast forward about 18 months or so, and the second Event Camp Twin Cities held in Minneapolis. Just as the first one, this had many experimental elements to it. Some of those experiments were the learning techniques and some in the attempt at interactivity with the Pods in Philadelphia, Silicon Valley and Amsterdam.

 

Some of the ideas that worked were 1- each pod had to create a short video and upload to You tube. Each created what they thought was interesting, innovative or fun. Whichever video received the most Likes by the time the Event Camp Europe was held would be declared the winner 2- we were given 3 scenarios of a request for an event. Each Pod again, created a video with a response. 3- Virtual and Pod attendees tweeted throughout the day, using the hash tag #ectc11. 4- Emilie Barta Virtual Concierge Host did a terrific job interviewing speakers, chatting about what had happened or would happen. This was a very good way to keep the virtual audience interested and engaged. 5- Petcha Kucha sessions, spearheaded by Adrian Segar were successful. 6- the production people did a fantastic job. Lighting and sound were excellent. 6- the live stream was stable and that is critical.

 

Some ideas that didn’t work 1- The Pods could not be heard. Minneapolis wanted to talk with each Pod, but the Pods could not talk to Minneapolis. That glitch needs to be fixed as it impeded some of the session ideas. 2- There needed to be a way for virtual and Pod attendees (who are actually virtual to a degree) to text questions and/or feedback. This wasn’t available. 3- The Tweets didn’t seem to be monitored or at least there was no reaction to them.  4- When the face-to-face group had a task to complete and the Pods and Virtual attendees were to complete one, we weren’t always sure what we were to do and when. Example, when were we to make our videos?

Pod Leaders and all virtual attendees needed advance directions on

various procedures and expectations. When we didn’t know what we were to do, we became disinterested and disengaged. Our Pod was a super bright group thus I feel pre event direction would have helped us tremendously. 5- there should have been pre-event direction on the technical logistics as well.

 

Remember, Event Camps are experimental in nature and afford tremendous learning to the creators of the Camps, those involved in producing it and the attendees, whether face-to-face or virtual.

They tried new un-tested ideas. Some worked, some didn’t.

 

But in total, we had a wonderful experience, made some great friends in the Pod, virtually saw some others that we did know and learned a lot. Truthfully much of the learning came from the things that didn’t work so well. Thank you to co-organizers, Sam Smith and Ray Hansen.

 

“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly” – Robert F. Kennedy

 

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