This weekend I attended my first BarCamp. I went along as one of the Girl Geeks in Residence. It was hosted by BBC North in their new Manchester home at Salford Quays. I find it hard to understand how this modern construction by such a tranquil waterfront has come to being labelled the ugliest new building in Britain. I am sure there are far worst examples out there.
For those who maybe unfamiliar with this event, BarCamp is a gathering of enthusiastic people who wish to share their knowledge in technology or some other topic of interest. The speakers running sessions at the conference are attendee themselves. The event is very much about exchanging ideas and active participation.
The venue at the BBC was split into various spaces and a Grid system on the wall was used to organise the session slots. There was definitely plenty of choice.
Here are a few sessions that I particularly enjoyed:
Alan O’Donohoe (@teknoteacher), the Head of Computing & IT at Our Lady’s High School in Preston, spoke about the importance of teaching programming and not PowerPoint in schools. He introduced us to his BBC Codelab concept, which involves providing every child in the UK with a computer and the resources to teach them to program. By doing this it will give them an opportunity to see how much fun it can be and hopefully enable them to develop the skills to code as if it were second nature.
In The Evil Overlords Guide to Security, Glyn Wintle (@glynwintle) and Sheila Thomson (@sheilaellen) drew parallels from Peter’s Evil Overlord Top 100 and provided examples on how we could improve the protection of our online activities. It was very entertaining and informative. If they were to present this again at future events it would definitely be worthwhile seeing.
Glyn also went onto sharing his knowledge of password security and the amusing trends behind how people create that all important string of secret characters. Apparently among the most common words used include: ‘password’, ‘princess’ and ‘iloveyou’. I can’t say that the first example came to me as a surprise.
Alongside these excellent talks, I also met some like-minded people. It was also great to see some of my old colleague from theEword taking advantage of local events in the area. I would definitely like to go to more BarCamps in future.