Evaluation of Drumbeat learning, freedom and the web

As I had to run to catch a flight after the Learning, freedom and the web festival, I didn't get a chance to hand in my evaluation form, so thought I'd post it here... (I will be posting later with my own summary of the festival too). I just hope I'm not too late to go in the draw to receive a flipcam...


​1) If you could say one thing about this event, what would it be?

One sentence perhaps?

Three days of passionate conversations with people who are excited to be exploring new sustainable models of education and learning-by-doing, forging the latest technologies with old and new ideas.

​2) Why did you decide to attend the festival?

I *love* meeting up with and exchanging ideas with others passionate about learning possibilities for the future. I also had my own project - Learning Goals - to show at the science fair. And my managers at the excellent company that I work for (Canonical) were nice enough to let me take conference leave!

​3) Please rank you overall satisfaction with the festival: 5 - awesome.

​4) What were the top three "Aha" or great learning moments for you at the event?

  1. Understanding that what I think I'm communicating about my project is not what people are understanding.
  2. It's not just Australian web-dev education that has issues - it seems most countries follow the same system (trying to define competencies in stone that really need updating before they are even published).
  3. A session that I apparently missed - HOWTO prototype and iterate for fun and profit (was it part of drumbeat, or earlier meetups? either way, I was glad to learn from some of the stuff in this session after the event).

​5) What three things would you change about how learning (content, skills, socialization, accreditation) works in 2020?

I'd frame this for the people who are helping people learn, something like:

  1. Source content from professionals, but actively develop great social learning *activities* on open wikis - see 'Provide relevant and practical activities to learn by doing'  and 'Do we need teachers of web design?'
  2. Model learning not teaching (something all learners can help each other with)
  3. Gradually hand over control of learning to learners

​6) What activities or follow-up communications would you like to see happen after the festival?

I'm not sure that anything formal is required - perhaps just summarising/outlining and publishing all the activities and communications that are already taking place naturally? (So others can see all the other action that's happening without trying to keep up with all #drumbeat tweets or one hundred blogs etc.)


​7) Was the agenda format ok? I'd say just right (although I'm used to this kind of format from Ubuntu Developer Summit meetings.) The main streams together with impromptu discussions and sessions was great. Starting with the funky science fair was excellent too!

​8) Which session(s) offered you the most benefit? Why?

Hrm, personally I'd have to say the startl sessions with Laurie, Matt, Karien and the other participants with projects. I'm guessing this is because these were the sessions that I put the most into as well (ie. we had to prepare our project pitches), and also got *lots* of useful feedback from (which I summarised with the a comment at Pitching the learning goals project) and created a follow-up 1 minute intro video for the Learning Goals project.

I would have liked to have spent more time discussing/debating badges for assessment, as I'm excited about the possibilities together with other alternatives - such as enabling learners to collect their own evidence and decide themselves when they are ready to demonstrate their evidence (something we were pushing in our web programming course a few years ago). I got to 3 or 4 of the badges sessions and had some great discussions.

I also enjoyed the discussion session with Dale Dougherty and lots of other dinner conversations with different people.

​10) Was the agenda what you expected, given the theme of the Festival? Why or why not?

Yes - I thought the mix of mostly workshop-type sessions but also relevant keynotes in the morning/evening was perfect. The topics for key-notes were great - a mix of exciting new tools for learning (how Arduino boards are being used for lots of fun learning) and reminders about the state of tech-education :)

I didn't feel anything was missing.


  • The venue was appropriate - strongly agree, Barcelona itself, as well as the Raval district - both were great.
  • The food and beverages met my needs - agree. When I got to the food, it was perfect snack food + drinks. But as conversations continued between sessions I hardly ever got there.
  • The pace of the event was comfortable - strongly agree. I was never bored, and the 1.5hr lunch breaks were great... any shorter and it would have felt quite rushed given that we were eating out in the city.
  • The format of the event was effective  - strongly agree. Science fair opening (with music/drinks) was an excellent opportunity to meet lots of people and find out peoples interests etc. Then the combination of short key-notes and the start/end of each day with lots of interactive workshops and informal conversations in between was great.

​13) How might we improve the logistics for future Drumbeat festivals?

I think it would be great to capture at least the sound for each discussion. I spent a lot of time trying to document various sessions that I was at (using the excellent Etherpad pages for each room/slot), but it did mean that I wasn't able to participate quite so much as I would have liked. (Edit: Another option would be for session leaders to make a point of ensuring there are at least 2-3 people documenting on the etherpad page).

Thanks to all the organizers (especially the incredible local organizers, who were up at 4am at least one morning just to ensure that everything happened), to Mozilla for the travel allowance, and my managers for letting me take leave :)

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