Some rough comments I made on the EdcampNJ feedback form.
What to do differently next time? Ban anyone from putting up a session until 8:30. When I walked in at 8:30–the advertised starting time–the whole board was practically filled up (a trend at most edcamps). Now whoever is reading this is probably a savvy edcampy person. But imagine walking in at the scheduled time and seeing the board filled…what message does that send about spontaneous professional development driven by attendees? Again, if you are reading this you can say there were some spots open and there were still rooms that could be opened…but you have to stop and look at it through the eyes of someone who is not an extroverted edcamp type. Does that board looking filled invite more participation or decrease it?
I wonder too if your request for sessions “section” next to the main board goes up first at 8:30, and from 8:30-8:45 only requests are taken from the request list to the main board, and then people can add to the main board. That would make it a real participant driven conference. Having the board filled by people who have been planning their sessions for weeks before everyone walks in doesn’t exactly lead to what the people want, but what the presenters want to give…both should be present. As I have been going to edcamps, I have been trying to gauge what kind of sessions go up first (would love to see a time lapse of every edcamp board). I wonder if those people who show up early and dominate the board are the extroverted techy types and therefore direct the type information given out at the edcamps…what information is not getting promoted? Is only one personality type being encouraged to present?
I am a huge believer in not just giving people what they want…seriously give me an old fashion lecture on something I know nothing about any day, but at something like this there can be a blend.
The ONLY reason why I am leaving this comment is because out of the 9 (?) edcamps I have attended in 2013 Edcampnj is the rockingist. I think it also has the ability to influence all future edcamps. Edcamps will need to shift and change. As presently constructed they are as much the future of PD as Second Life once was.