The Science Fair & Side Table Sessions
This was a First
None of us had attended a festival like Drumbeat before. We went with a carefully crafted schedule that filled every time slot with a main tent event. For every tent event there was a complimentary side table event scheduled that a member of Future Class was in charge of. Future Class also took the lead on planning the Science Fair table. Like most well planned events, things did not work out quite as we had hoped.
At the Science Fair Future Class debuted the low tech social network. It was meant to map connections people made at the event. We spent the entire night enticing people to place themselves on the canvas via self-designed post it type notes with tidibits of information. It was our first opportunity to meet and observe who had come to this Drumbeat festival. We were all left in awe. We were in a room full of so many fascinating people, and that the fascinating people were playing with our canvas! The empty space of our idea became a cluttered with little squares that represented all the people we were coming in to contact with. Our success at the Science Fair made us excited to take it to the side table as an ongoing activity.
The Downside =(
We could not hear the keynote speech from Joi Ito due to the acoustics of the room where the science fair was held. I am pretty sure that was the only downside to the Science Fair.
We had a full schedule for both days we were there and a beautiful handout created with all the information about what would be going on in the tent. Rather than talk about everything we had planned, I will share the schedule:
The Side Table
I think we learned that there is such a thing as over planning. The side table schedule was a bust. During the first event it was swallowed by everyone who wanted to participate in Anne Balsamo’s session on minority voices in tag clouds. This also made our low-tech social network inaccessible (can you find them, and us in the picture to the left?).
I will take responsibility and acknowledge that my actions, insisting that the table stay inside the tent so our technology wasn’t an easy target for pick pockets (there were a couple of big robberies at the event) might have had something to do with this failure. At the same time, allowing Future Class students the ability to freely participate in the Storming the Academy events added a unique voice. Cathy pointed out on numerous occasions that “our tent was the only tent with actual students”. Had we been outside we literally would not have been part of the tent. We were more engaged as participants by giving our input than we would have been had we stuck with the rigid structured schedule we set up.
Solution and Outcome for a Failed Plan
Anything that needed to be covered by the side table was incorporated into the main tent events. Everyone who was supposed to present and engage an audience had the opportunity to do so. The solution, incorporating the class fullt in to the tent, was a positive thing because it also meant that Future class members who presented also had the main tent activity leaders as part their audience to provide feedback and mentor in real time.
The side table ended up downgraded (or upgraded) to an information post about Future Class and HASTAC.
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