If you want to get a sense of exciting possibilities for the future, there may be no better place than Honolulu’s Unconferenz.

I don’t usually like giving up my Saturdays, but this weekend’s event at Kapiolani Community College was well worth the time. Watch the video by Ryan Ozawa below and I think you’ll see what I mean.

A few takeaways for me:

  • How quickly things are changing. That may be obvious, but it becomes even more evident when you’re at a meeting like this. One lesson for educators: Focus on fundamentals, because the tool of the day will quickly become outmoded. People need a solid foundation and then they can learn anything.
  • How much interest there is on Oahu in helping the public become more engaged in the community through political activism and participation. People wanted to talk with Civil Beat about how to serve possible voters using new tools.
  • How independent and playful some people in Honolulu are, willing to learn on their own and take chances. They have my respect and admiration.

I came away energized by the group, encouraged that creative uses of technology are being explored across so many fields here. I saw people I already knew, but I also met many new people.

One of the cool things about an Unconferenz is that the participants decide the agenda by suggesting and voting on topics for discussion. There are no leaders for the session, which are group conversations. And, believe it or not, in most cases that really works out. Or it sure seemed to this weekend.

I attended workshops on start-ups, gadgets, internet activism and the Hawaii Innovation Alliance. But perhaps the best part of the day was talking to folks outside the sessions and at lunch about various possibilities going forward.

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