The concept of an unconference is still relatively new in India. This space for peer-to-peer learning is completely participant-driven and has taken the shape of ad-hoc gatherings around the world to facilitate knowledge sharing. BloggerCon, FooCamp and BarCamp are examples of an unconference where people volunteer, contribute and attend. It removes the need for a central authority and brings dynamism to the way an event is conducted.
On December 7, BarCamp Kerala, conducted at Technopark in Thiruvananthapuram, hosted over 100 technology enthusiasts for a full day of networking, knowledge-building and fun. This year, instead of random session draws that were held earlier, they held voting for attendees to pick the sessions they wanted. The best part of such an event is that it is interest-driven and free. Also, participants can leave one session to attend another in between with no restrictions, as the schedule is flexible too.
BarCamp was first held in Kerala in November 2007 and has gained momentum since to become the State’s preferred digital event. It brings together representatives from top companies in mobile and web development, entrepreneurial and software industries, bloggers, programmers, academicians and students.
The event was sponsored by Young Indians, an integral part of Confederation of Indian Industry and engages with young progressive Indians in the age group 21-40, and Thoughtline Technologies, a software development company. One of the volunteers at the event, entrepreneur Saran Sivaranjan, gives us the lowdown on the event. “BarCamp attendees are encouraged to get involved through volunteering, presenting an insightful session or inspiring and leading community learning through active discussion and networking.This time the core organisers were a bunch of students, entrepreneurs, techies and bloggers, which included Usama Shihabudeen, Jyotis Joy, Kenney Jacob and Bajpan Ghosh. The crowdsourced event gave me an opportunity to conduct a session myself on ‘Pseudo Science and Pseudo Vedas: A comparison on the fundamentals of Western science and Eastern mysticism’.”
Other sessions were on topics as varied as Neuromarketing, Hacking, Best Coding Practices, and Tactics on dealing with snobbery, KSRTC Blogging, ‘broken’ education system, the importance of programming communities like KeralaJS and KeralaRuby and the transition of a lawyer to programmer. During events like this, some students even get job offers. For more insights into the sessions, visit www.barcampkerala.org.