Educamp Fantastic

September 18, 2007

I went to Educamp this weekend and was hyper-stimulated by all of the great ideas and different people speaking on education.

Education is a sore spot for me because of how depressed I was while at school. School was mainly a place I was waiting to get out of. Though it was a rarity, I had the best time at school in sixth grade, when I was working so much on computers and AV stuff that I didn’t attend much class. Highschool was a long wait for college. And college was a real let down.

I’ve spent a lot of time figuring out a design for school that would iron out these problems. I presented this design at Educamp and you can see Chris Messina’s notes on my presentation here.

At Educamp, we all recognized the inherent oppression, coercion, and ironic mind-numbingness of school. Each of us brought a technique, a back-door, a loop-around, a design, an anecdote, a suggestion, or a word of encouragement. It was a fantastic event. I hope to attend more like it.

Last nights Inspirathon was great. For those of you tuning in without pretext. Inspirathon is a “A Movie Night For Thinkers.” We show some thought provoking/alternative method/human achievement videos and discuss them. The following are my thoughts on the last one.

Good things:

  • We topped out at the right amount of people.
  • Everyone was very friendly and nice.
  • We watched some very interesting videos.

Things I would change:

  • We have to set up a buzzer system for people to hit. This way we have a symbolic mechanism for killing unstimulating videos.
  • We have put an upper limit on video duration. Thirty minutes max.
  • We have to introduce videos and ask why people have chosen them. Some videos needed lots of pretext.
  • We can’t show videos that are thematically similar in a row.
  • We have to discuss after each video. And a long discussion. Not necessarily to reach a conclusion, but to integrate the video into our minds, and to discover related avenues that come to mind while speaking.
  • We might want to pole people about what they want to see at Inspirathon.
  • There should be half as many videos as we watched this last time.
  • The event should start at 5.30 pm on a Saturday, with a BBQ and an earlier ending. I just don’t drink caffeine, sorry.

If anyone has comments to improve Inspirathon, or tips from running their own movie/clip nights, please comment!

So hopefully I will soon be hosting an Inspirathon event. An Inspirathon is an inspirational movie night, where we all get together and watch concept-challenging videos and then discuss in a salon/casual atmosphere. Jeff Lindsay invented and hosted the first Inspirathon.

It will probably be at my house (Bay Area, SJ, CA, USA), and we’ll have a host of videos, like this video and this video. Though we don’t intend on making this a giant event (it has to fit in my house), you are welcome to inquire and see about capacity. Probably best to join the mailing list and see how things are going.

The point is to meet great people, talk about great things, and have fun.