A users guide to Drumbeat Festival

October 29, 2010 Comments Off on A users guide to Drumbeat Festival

I just wrote up a users guide to Drumbeat Festival to be e-mailed to everyone attending. It’s full of tips on how to get the most out of Barcelona (and revolutionize education along the way). I’m posting here on my blog as well for anyone who is interested.

1. Top tip: pick something new to do, and do it!

The ethic of Drumbeat is: learn something by building something. As you look at the schedule, watch for places where you could a) lend your skills, b) learn something new and b) have fun. If you’re a web developer, help develop a web dev course. If you’re a teacher, learn how to bind a text book. If you’re an open video nerd, learn how to translate your videos on the web.

As we finalize the schedule, we’ll tag sessions as ‘learn’, ‘build’ or ‘play’ so it’ll be easy to find learning opportunities like these. ‘Build’ and ‘play’ sessions will be the best places to look. Also, we’re going to have a ‘skills needed’ board in the main coffee area.

2. Getting oriented: roadmap sessions, schedule grids, tweets.

My bet is that this event is going to be awesome — but also overwhelming. To keep oriented:

  • Come to the cocktail party Wednesday night and the plenary on Thursday morning. Both are designed to give you a fun but useful overview of the activities that will happen at the Festival. The idea: we give you a tasting menu of ideas, you keep a list of the people, projects and sessions you want to follow up with.
  • Check the schedule grids,constantly. We will have a huge schedule grid on the wall in the main venue. This will include all pre-planned sessions, plus slots for BarCamp style sessions proposed by you. There will also be monitors with the schedule for pre-planned sessions. Things are likely to change quite a bit throughout, so keep checking the schedules.
  • We’ll also hope to have a status.net + twitter powered system that provides a real time heat map of what’s going on. This will give you a place to watch for schedule changes, calls for help and spontaneous thingamajigs. More info as it comes together.

3. Getting around: tents, terraces and crypts

The Festival venue promises to be awesome — two art galleries and public square. You can see the general layout here:

…. and the street view / satellite view.

About half the Festival will be be in the FAD and MACBA galleries, including beautiful hall with arched ceilings and a subterranean crypt where you can organize barcamp-style sessions. The rest of the Festival takes place in tents and buses out in the Plaça dels Angels and on the FAD terrace. Fingers crossed for sunny days.

4. Work hard, stroll around, play hard.

On organizing you time: imagine a mix of working hard in a lab or classroom, strolling around a fair ground to see what people are doing and making, and then going to the playful after party.

Talking to people who are coming, I know everyone will mash these elements up differently. Some people are planning to spend the whole two days hacking on an educational video software prototype (and roping others in to help). Others are planning to just bumble bee around, looking at what everyone is working on. And others are there to make some noise and show how fun learning tech can be.

It’ll be up to you to decide how you mix these things up. If you don’t know what do do next, ask us for help (we’re wearing staff T-shirts). Or, better: take a break, walk in Barcelona, enjoy the cafes on the square.

5. Final tip: watch these key web pages

Info about the Drumbeat Festival will be updated right until the very last moment (and then throughout). Watch these web pages:

Festival page – will include social media updates starting Tuesday
Session schedule and list of sessions in detail

Also, watch the #drumbeat tag in twitter and identi.ca. There is already a huge amount of stuff going on there.

For those of you coming to Barcelona: hope this helps. Lemme know below if you have questions. For others, hope this gives you a sense of the action — please follow along in the twittersphere.

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