I mentioned in my “About me” page an event called Barcamp Blackpool, which I attended in October 2009. Barcamp is what is known as an “unconference”. The primary theme is technology but you get a range of people attending the events from far and wide.
I went to Blackpool as a first time attendee of Barcamp and was impressed by the format of the sessions. As an unconference there are no scheduled speakers until the day, when the attendees put themselves forward to fill the time slots, which are approx. 30 minutes each.
Having recently got involved in IT through my HND, I thought it was definitely the type of event I should go to more of, however it looked from the early sessions appearing that you had to be quite technically experienced to understand the majority of them, seeing this, I agreed (with a friend @oliciv) that if he did a presentation, then I would too.
Not being very experienced in anything too technical, I decided to do my presentation on BSL and called it “An introduction to BSL”. It seemed to be the only session on the board that did not totally revolved around some aspect of technology, yet it was possibly one of the best attended sessions of the day (if I do say so myself!).
Now obviously half an hour is not a very long time to talk about BSL in any detail, so I decided the best thing to do would be a bit of audience participation!
During the session we covered;
The alphabet – went through the alphabet and got the audience to repeat along with me.
How to introduce yourself – How to tell someone your name and job (assuming you work with computers!)
How to compliment someone – Pretty, handsome, clever, deviated somewhat into ugly having explained that thumbs referred to good and little fingers to bad.
How to swear – I fully expected this to be the only part of the talk that people remember, and I believe the signs I showed are regional to the North West, but still good fun!
I also explained that deaf audiences don’t clap, but instead raise and wave their hands as it is more visually effective, which was then recycled by the audience throughout the day.
I really enjoyed the session and it’s the first time I’ve ever talked to an audience about anything, so it was extremely nerve wracking but fun. The session also had some really good feedback and I hope people enjoyed it. I’ve been asked if I’m planning on doing it again at the upcoming Barcamp Manchester 2 but as of yet I am undecided. Will have a look at the board on the day and decide.
Thanks to Laurence for the pictures.