How EdCamp Ukraine Connected and Inspired Educators with Event Tech
Founded in 2014 as part of the global EdCamp movement, the EdCamp Ukraine community stands behind one core philosophy: Developing best practices in teaching is crucial to “growing good humans,” which is in fact the end goal of education. The non-profit organization is committed to cultivating and sustaining a community of dedicated educators, and does so by offering them accessible professional development opportunities.
A core component of EdCamp’s annual training program is its “unconference.” The content of this unique event is produced by educational stakeholders for educational stakeholders, and is completely participant driven. In fact, much of the agenda is not defined by attendees until the first day!
Read on for highlights of how EdCamp organizers introduced a mobile event app to streamline the unconference’s content planning process, form lasting connections between attendees, and boost educators’ grasp of information and communications technology (ICT). Or click here for a complete version of EdCamp’s event tech journey.
Streamlining event communications while showing educators the benefits of ICT
The EdCamp Ukraine team quickly realized that its unique event format was the perfect candidate for technological optimization. Leveraging a mobile event app would allow planners to easily add new items to the agenda in real time, then quickly inform participants of the update.
Additionally, the adoption of information and communications technology (ICT) is a crucial facet of Ukrainian educational reform. “There is an ICT gap between teachers and kids,” says Oleksandr Elkin, head of the board of EdCamp Ukraine. “We are always looking for ways to boost teachers’ professional development in computer competence, and I’m a strong believer that you’ll have more success getting people to adopt something if you show them how it can be useful in their everyday lives. We decided an event app would not only bring an ICT aspect to the event, it would also be a very useful connection instrument before, during and after the unconference.”
With a generous donation from the United Nations Population Fund, UNFPA Ukraine, EdCamp secured the budget for an event app. They just needed to find the right event tech provider.
Selecting an event app solution that made personalized connections a breeze
While EdCamp Ukraine organizers researched a number of event app vendors, they ended up choosing the Attendify platform. “We decided to work with Attendify because the platform’s features are much more powerful, and the Support Team is much more organized than the competition,” says Elkin.
The intuitiveness of Attendify’s platform was another big win for EdCamp. With more than 250 sessions, 226 speakers from 20 countries, and 90 event partners at the 2019 event, “we needed a solution where we could easily add new components to our agenda and inform people,” Elkin says. “Attendify has a very well-designed and easy-to-understand content import and export feature. It’s simple to add new agenda items to the schedule and then use the notification feature to let participants know there are new sessions available.”
It turns out that the event team quickly made good use of almost every feature offered within the app. In particular, both planners and attendees were big fans of:
- Interactive maps: Participants were able to easily find keynotes, sessions, partners and more through the personalized maps built into the app.
- Push notifications: EdCampers received more than 37 push notifications on the app’s Activity Stream throughout the event. These informed them of real-time changes and updates to the agenda.
- Content downloads: The valuable content created and shared during the event was not limited to on-site attendees. Any educator could use the app, download documents, videos and other information, and participate before, during and after the event.
- Gamification: Event organizers hosted fun contests within the app to increase its adoption and engagement. They posted results to the leaderboard within the app’s private social network.
Doubling app adoption and tripling attendance are signs of true event health
To call EdCamp Ukraine’s event a success is an understatement. In truth, the growth of their unconference over five years has been staggering. The organization has more than tripled its attendee base, and has branched out from hosting only national participants to welcoming guests from 20 different countries.
Last year the event also went completely digital when event organizers stopped offering a printed schedule in addition to the mobile app. Doing so helped them almost double their app adoption rate, which hit 85 percent. Event attendees initiated close to 150,000 app interactions, posting and liking an average of 172 comments per user.
What’s more, by introducing the app, Elkin and his team were able to show educators how using ICT can have multiplicative effects. “When teachers see that there is a very clear need for this type of software, they start using it,” Elkin says. “[Using an event app] is a very new experience for our group. It’s about the agenda. It’s about navigation. It’s about opportunities. It’s about being in touch with each other. It’s like a warehouse where you store all of your content.”
Perhaps what makes EdCamp Ukraine and Attendify such good partners is that both organizations believe strongly in the importance of personalization: Attendify that event tech should be the catalyst for a personalized attendee experience, and EdCamp Ukraine that students must be supported in a way that matches their personal knowledge and skill sets. “We always say that there is a need for individualization in education,” says Elkin. “The Attendify event tech platform is set up in a way that mirrors how EdCamp is teaching educational best practices. It’s completely personalizable.”