Squeakfest a roaring success
19 August, 2009
The US Squeakfest finished last week, following on from the previous Brazilian event, and it was a great success. Perhaps the best way to give a flavour of the excitement of the events and the enthusiasm of the attendees is to quote Timothy Falconer’s report:
As I write this, I’m flying home from Squeakfest USA. Sitting here, staring at my laptop, I’m completely unable to find appropriate words to describe the magic and friendship of the last few weeks. So many passionate talks, so many stirring examples, so many last minute details and surprises.
I’m tired. That much is clear. Blame it on three conferences in four weeks and roughly fifteen thousand miles of travel in between. Were it not for my many Squeaker traveling companions, I’d have curled up to hibernate long ago. Truly the best part of the last month has been the company I’ve kept: Rita, Yoshiki, Marta, Kim, Scott, Alex, Bert, Ted, Bill, Randy, both Kathleens, Avigail, and Milan. Sharing the adventure with people of such talent and humor has truly been an embarrassment of riches.
As for the presentations, workshops, and hallway talks, there’s just too much to say. With dozens of sessions between the two Squeakfests, my mind’s a blur with memories of enthusiasm and insight, along with strengthened motivation to support and expand our vibrant Etoys community.
Rather than summarize my recollections, I’ll instead point you to the video on the Squeakland website http://squeakland.org/resources/audioVisual/#cat865 (scroll down to Squeakfest Brasil and Squeakfest USA).
We managed to capture nearly all of Squeakfest USA on our live webcast feed, though we lost the first half of the presentation from South Korea. Also, the final roundtable wasn’t posted at the request of one of the participants. My apologies for the audio problems on the first morning. If you start at the beginning, know that the sound does get better. Also, if the video screen is at times too hard to read, the blame rests with the web stream, which reduced quality to improve bandwidth. We will be posting better video from both events in the future, particularly of the children’s workshop, so stay tuned.I’d like to give a special thanks to Rita Freudenberg, our education director, who earned the “most traveled” award for her trips from Germany to both Brazil and Los Angeles. When you total her air distance, she flew more than 40,000 kilometers (25,000 miles), which means she effectively circled the globe for Squeakland in the last month. Her insight, passion, and hard work in the last eight months were instrumental in both Squeakfests. As with her husband Bert, her continuing efforts on behalf of the Etoys community are unparalleled. Also a big thanks to Marta, Bruno, Kim, and Kathryn for tending to the many details of both conferences. Your hard work really showed. Most of all, I’d like to thank everyone at Viewpoints Research Institute for their time and talent in the last year. Your guidance has greatly helped Squeakland Foundation as we take and carry the Etoys torch into the future.