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Blawgthink and Open Space

Last week I presented a little session about podcasting at Blawgthink, a conference for legal bloggers. The first day of the conference was fairly traditional, with various strands and presentations for all varieties of skill levels. The second day was entirely in the Open Space format. There were no scheduled sessions, the agenda was created by the people for the people. In this podcast, I have a clip from Michael Herman, an expert who facilitates Open Space workshops around the world. Oh yeah, I also share the trials and tribulations associated with my first business trip. Enjoy the show!

Direct link to the show

Show notes:
Blawgthink 2005: A conference for legal bloggers created by Matt Homann
Open Space: A chaotic, but productive way to facilitate a conference. I dig it.
Michael Herman: An expert is Open Space meetings and kind enough to allow me to broadcast his introduction.

  • Steve,

    Again, great to have you back. I’ve often wondered about having a conferences, where the attendees have access to a wiki long before the conference event, where they write the program in collaboration, basically listing the topics they want to learn about, and people who can teach that, then put their names under them as presenters. A Collaboratively designed conference.

    Great show!

    – dave –

    David F. Warlick
    The Landmark Project
    919-414-1845
    For Teachers: http://landmark-project.com/
    For Clients & the Curious: http://davidwarlick.com/
    Blog • http://2cents.davidwarlick.com/
    Podcast • http://connectlearning.davidwarlick.com/

    (cc) 2005 by David Warlick • Some Rights Reserved • http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/

    David Warlick

    11/22/2005

  • [...] Thanks to a podcast by Steve Dembo, I was inspired to try this out. Since our division and entire province for that matter has undergone a major restructuring and reorganization, there has been major unrest. So the opportunity to try something different seemed possible. [...]

  • The Open Space idea is a very interesting one. I like the idea that it takes into account that no one is the ultimate expert on anything and everyone has something to contribute. I can see how valuable it could be in a small conference with a group of people who all wanted to really learn.

    I wonder about politeness. I could imagine myself being stuck in a conversation that I wasn’t that interested in and feeling impolite about moving and leaving someone in the lurch. I guess that the whole idea is that you should feel free to meet your own needs… but sometimes that is so selfish and shallow. hmmmm…

    Janice Friesen

    8/2/2006

  • [...] had was specifically about conferences since we are indeed attending one. I was reminded Steve of his podcast from about two years ago when he shared his experience with open conferencing. From that podcast I [...]

  • [...] Let’s start off at EduBloggerCon. As I’ve told Steve Hargadon on multiple occasions now, I think he did an amazing job of getting that pre-conference day organized, supported by NECC, and managed. It’s no easy task and he truly put in a Herculean effort. Regardless of my other thoughts on the day, he did a job that few others could do (and nobody else did), and he did it with grace and a smile on his face. That being said, I think there are lessons to be learned from this second year. First of all, I called it a pre-conference day, because I feel that’s what it was. Last year it was closer to an unconference, this year it was more like a precon where the agenda was set very very very very late (as in when people got there). What’s the difference? There were essentially about 12 presentations/workshops/discussions throughout the day, all rigidly timed. It would have been a challenge at best to from a splinter group that people could actually know about and choose to participate in. A few small groups broke off and went off on their own, but that was based on direct conversations. There would have been no way for others to know it was happening or what the subject was so people could choose to participate if it was something they were interested in. Additionally, several of the sessions were just getting rolling when the time allotted for was expiring. That’s really too bad. The unconference format is ideal for actually trying to ACCOMPLISH something. Rather than just discussing policies, we could have been trying to create a collaborative policy. Rather than discussing leadership, we could have been creating a program to help leaders build their own Kool Aid stands. As much of a challenge as it would be in a very large group, I really think that next year it needs to get back to its roots and move closer to the Open Space unconference format. If you want to read more about what a true Open Space looks like, check out and listen to this post. [...]

  • [...] EdCamp?  EdCamp is based on Bar Camp, which in turn is based on Open Space.  I attended my first Open Space event back in 2005 and have been a huge fan of the format ever since.  In fact, we used it at the [...]