As I have been evaluating the process and outcomes of producing the Festival, I spent some time studying one of the earliest vision statements to see how the reality of Barcelona compares to our first conceptual work on the Drumbeat wiki.
It’s important to remember that the purpose and strategic guidelines of the entire Drumbeat initiative were still emerging while Festival planning began. In many ways, the two happened in dialogue with each other, and it seems that the Drumbeat initiative has emerged from the Festival with a stronger, better-defined identity.
We didn’t tell the Drumbeat story in Barcelona. We wrote it.
Let me show you what I mean. Comparing our objectives with our outcomes, I pulled out some language from our original goals and looked to see how it evolved into the language we use now to explain the purpose and objectives of the Festival.
Finally, I analyzed how well we met these evolving goals, what it means for Drumbeat and our innovation efforts in education and learning.
1) Convene & connect leaders making radical disruption in learning and web technology became…
The Drumbeat protocol -
passionate people + creative hackers = tangible progress for the open web.
2) Energize & inspire + develop partnerships, collaboration and community became…
Add rocket fuel to projects within & beyond Drumbeat.
3) Grow and strengthen Drumbeat as a hub of open web innovation became…
Build Drumbeat through buzz & new relationships with big players outside the open web world
Based on these evolving objectives, how did we do?
The Drumbeat protocol
The Drumbeat Festival definitely succeeded in providing a platform for playful, productive collaboration between webheads and the open learning community. Thousands of new channels of communication opened up between people who create learner-centered education opportunities on the web and people who believe in an open, user-centric web, evidenced by the project outcomes (see below).
There was also a very powerful sense of historic moment and community that is difficult to express to anyone who wasn’t there. One participant has said that she “found her people” at the Festival, and this sense of new, strong connection has come up over and over.
Rocket Fuel for Projects
Where to start?
- OpenAttribute: the world’s simplest attribution tool for Creative Commons content
- Feedbacker: a barometer for measuring classroom attention and enagement
- Minority Voices in the Cloud: tools to help marginalized communities be heard
- Hackasaurus: tools for teaching web literacy
are now part of the Drumbeat galaxy, and you can get involved at our new learningfreedomandtheweb.org site now.
There has been considerable progress with other projects that came to Barcelona. We’re still learning about many of them. In one case, the concept of having a shared (or “federated”) system for sharing digital badges that show what you have learned online now has a working prototype. Move Commons, an effort to create labeling badges that can represent organizations’ values simply, used the Festival to test and promote their current thinking, and shared and learned with the badge lab crew.
And, as I spent a month living and working with the local organizing team, I am especially proud to report that Drumbeat Festival added enormous energy to a number of efforts in Barcelona. We’re expecting some posts in English reporting on the local outcomes, and I’ll update this article when those come in.
The Festival energy and commitment continue to flow. Learning, Freedom and the Web is transitioning from event to a whole new area of ongoing activity supported by Mozilla Drumbeat.
We are still working on capturing a snapshot of all of the project outcomes of the Festival, and we need your help. If you are working on a project post-Festival please tweet or update with both the #drumbeat and #spark hash tags. Add your post-Festival projects. Join our Monday calls to learn how you can help produce the Learning, Freedom and the Web book with DIY U author Anya Kamentez.
This continuing process translates into both more learning innovation and more people belonging to the Drumbeat community…
Without a doubt, we met this objective. Check out this list of 13 pieces in the traditional and online press that came out of the Festival.
Due to the pressures of their work, most journalists covering traditional conferences lift some information from the press materials, swing through long enough to grab a quote from a keynote and then scurry back to HQ to meet their deadline. Not at the Learning, Freedom and the Web. You might not have noticed, but the journalists who came, stayed. For a long time. In other words, we were fascinating, and that’s a very special asset to recognize.
The social media buzz we created is almost impossible to quantify, largely because it just hasn’t stopped buzzing. Check out a collection of blog posts here and our social media dashboard here.
Regarding new relationships for Mozilla and Drumbeat, we scored a clear win in joining with the MacArthur Foundation. We’re very grateful in the faith they placed in us from the beginning – in the “why are we doing this again?” days – and for their close participation and support through every step of the process. We built a relationship that will last for years, as Mozilla and MacArthur work together to chart a path to an even more open learning environment on the web.
If we had started earlier and had the Drumbeat Festival formula already in our back pockets, I know we could have brought in even more change makers from large institutions in philanthropy and education.
We can do this next time, and that will translate into more sponsors and resources. How we use those resources is up for discussion. Maybe we can have three full days instead of two. Maybe we can provide more scholarships. Maybe we beef up our staffing and provide more paid positions on the team. Maybe we’ll buy lunch next year
Also, our press team, including Mozilla staff and the local press leads, did a superb job. Still, I think that we deserved more press. Again, a longer lead time and the brighter clarity of purpose we have attained will go a long way to addressing this issue.
What’s more? What’s next?
We can, and will, do it again. And now we can do it anywhere in the world. And we can open it up to new communities – science, art, media, you name it. We can also improve it, and I encourage your questions and suggestions in the comment section here.
In addition to every tool and curriculum you prototyped in Barcelona, we also prototyped and perfected the Drumbeat Festival formula itself.
Before I wrap up, I should give one more, huge thank you and congratulations to every single person who was a part of the first Festival. Behind the scenes, that meant more than 100 people involved in preparation (organizers, partners, space coordinators, designers, caterers, people who build actual tents for a living). Still the real magic happened when 430 participants descended on Placa dels Angels, bringing every ounce of their brains, hearts, will power and good intentions with them. I’ve been an organizer for a decade now, and some times I am very cynical about the state of the world and peoples’ capacity for sharing and coordination. My faith and hope for the future have truly been renewed. Thank you.
I’ll be putting out at least two more posts as part of my Festival evaluation. We’re almost finished processing the input from the participant survey and other feedback sources. Once that’s done you can expect a piece on “Drumbeat Festival by the Numbers” (for people who like metrics) and a final reflection on the organizing process itself, including the best practices we established and areas that require further development.