The UnConference 2012 – awesomeness review

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In 14 of November in Thessaloniki took place the first UnConference.

The UnConference was the highlight of a three day festival around Thessaloniki’s public children libraries. The hole festival organized by the non profit company FutureLibrary.gr which intends to change the idea of children libraries by making over almost every children library in Greece.

The UnConference had four awesome keynotes by FutureLibrary.gr, Library 10, Google and Mozilla. The audience came from all over the country and we estimate that they were 250-300 people out there. They where related to children libraries and public libraries in general.

From the FutureLibrary.gr, the man who inspired the renovation of the children libraries presented his vision and the results. The 4 renovated libraries are amazing introducing an innovative type of library equipped with bleeding edge technology such as computers, interactive screens, smart furniture and much more.

Kari Lämsä from Library 10″ introduced us his idea on how a library should be. Collaboration spaces, adjective tables and chairs special meeting rooms and music breaks in the noon were some highlights of his talks.

Simon Morisson and Dionisis Kolotsas from Google, presented us a new project on digitizing books, posters, paintings and creating a web museum free to explore, search and interact.

Chloe on stage

Last but not least, Chloe Varelidi from Mozilla Project presented the Webamaker project and some great tools such as Popcorn, Thimble and X-Ray goggles. She explained how important is the webmaker project especially for children which teach them how to hack the web! In addition she presented some live demos of Thimble and X-Ray Goggles and as a result the – after sessions – workshop was crowed!

After the keynotes each project had it’s own workshop where the attendances had the opportunity to hands on, discuss and brainstorm.

Along with Chloe we run a workshop titled: “Build your own website with an easy way”. After a warming up thumb war game the workshop was on! Due to the internet lack we could run a proper hands on – workshop – thimble but we challenged people to hack on paper. The attendances spitted in 7 teams where they had to come up with at least 3 ideas of sites for children. Then they had to choose at least 2 of them and designed them on paper.

In the end every team had to present their ideas and challenge themselves by implementing them in Thimble.

Chloe’s webmaker workshop

The workshop was successful due the fact that the number of attendances was high, people enjoyed and in the end I saw a lot of enthusiast and “ready to hack the web” faces.

After the workshops in the main room there were some lighting talks regarding some cool projects such as library on grass, children sleepover in libraries and a lot experience from Future Library’s volunteers.

Themis on stage presenting collaboration

Another lighting talk was about Mozilla Hive in Athens by Konstantina and Themis which is going to boot during the spring of 2013. Their approach to the audience regarding collaboration was pretty awesome. They distributed colored papers to everyone and provide them instructions on how to create a really solid construction by joining the papers together.

Bottom line, it was a successful event for the organizers, the people who traveled across the country and especially for Mozilla foundation and webmakers!

At last Dimitris Protopsaltou presented FutureLibrary.gr’s plans for the 2013 and how they are going to renovate almost every(!) public children library in Greece.

We want to thank the FutureLibrary.gr, especially Dimitris Protopsaltou and Despina Mitropoulou for the organization and the volunteers who made it happen!

You can check my photos from the event at the Picasa web album here.

Organization committee and volunteers

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