Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Preparing for SETT

I've started thinking about about this year's SETT and I wondered what its Technorati tag should be, so I went to HitchHikr to see what the suggested tag was. I was surprised to discover that SETT wasn't listed there although the ScotEduBlogs TeachMeet was. So a meeting of twenty-odd bloggers (or is that twenty odd-bloggers?), with a programme that is being made up as we go along on a wiki, have got themselves an entry and agreed a tag, but nobody has thought to add SETT which last year had over 5600 attendees and has been organised for months! I think that says something about bloggers... but I'm not sure what! Suggestions on a postcard will be gratefully received. :-)

The 'Armadillo'
The 'Armadillo',
originally uploaded by krmuir
Anyway, I have now added SETT to HitchHikr (with a little help from David Warlick because I made a bit of a mess of the tags.) My first suggestion for a tag was , which seems sensible enough. However I was recently given a row by an LTScotland person for calling it a technology conference - I was told in no uncertain terms that it isn't a technology conference, it is "The Scottish Learning Festival"! Silly me. (What do the two "T"s in SETT stand for again?) I therefore wanted to get the Learning Festival bit in a tag as well. I thought "ScottishLearningFestival06" was a bit of a mouthful, so suggested instead. In retrospect I'm not sure that was wise. It looks like a compromise - too short for Richard and too long for Dick. What do you think?

I've been wondering if SETT will have free wi-fi access this year. I wrote a post about eLive (Coming to you live...) where I raved about the free wi-fi access they provided and how much it added to the experience. I contacted one of the SETT organisers shortly after eLive and he said there would not be wi-fi because it would be too expensive to provide. I must admit to being surprised. If a much smaller conference like eLive can get sponsorship to provide free wi-fi, surely SETT could find someone to do the same for them? There was a suggestion that the problem might be that the SECC want to charge a huge amount for providing wi-fi. If that's true then shame on the SECC - are they not making enough money from SETT as it is? At the risk of being called a cynic again, I feel that had there been a will, a way would have been found.

Perhaps I'm worrying unduly - they may have managed to sort something out for this year. An encouraging sign is the number of active bloggers that are now working for LTScotland/SSDN. (I wont name names. You know who you are!) Perhaps they will be able to push from within for free wi-fi at SETT for next year if not for this.

What do you think? Would on its own do as a tag? Any thoughts on free wi-fi access during the Learning Festival? What are you looking forward to at SETT (...apart from the TeachMeet obviously!)?

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ab said...

Gutted to hear that there may not be free access - especially after eLive having it. What a difference it makes - you almost take it for granted, that when you go to an event that you will be able to get online.

If there is to be no central sponsor, do we start lobbying the vendors on display in the main hall, see who will be using wifi on their stands and set up a hotspot map?

BETT south of the border didn't have wifi either, but it did have a large cybercafe area.

Personally, I like SETT06 - after all, that is how it is still being advertised this year - if the name changes next year, then have a new tag?

David said...

A hotspot map would be a great idea. However, rather than jump the gun, I wonder if anyone can give us the current official position on free wi-fi?

Ewan McIntosh said...

SETT06 is the best tag to use - nice and short and associatable with the event.

I think a hotspot would be great. I am really disappointed that no-one in the SETT team at LTS has come through with wifi, at least in the main auditorium where the SSDN Mentor thing will be and the keynotes will take place. But I do also know how much wifi costs on that scale and how tricky it is to set up something robust. for 2000+ potential users (even 50 users is hard enough as wifi points clash).

I'll have words, but probably to no effect. I'm still looking for wifi sponsors for TeachMeet.

David Warlick said...

Ya'll post lots of pictures. I will definately be following this one.

john said...

Hi David,
twenty odd-bloggers making it up as they go along on a wiki, sounds the place to be!

It was possible last year at SETT to just sit down at random machines and blog, but it is not ideal.

If SETT combined the previous years internet cafe with somewhere to plug a laptop in it would be an improvement.

David said...

As I said, if there was a will...

How many people were at NECC? More than will attend SETT would be my guess. They managed to provide free wi-fi and, according to Technorati, that conference generated over 400 blog posts with the tag necc06. I'm not saying it would be easy or cheap... but it's not impossible.

Ewan McIntosh said...

It is easy and it's not cheap. Wifi has been considered but deemed too expensive to open up for all, given the tight budgets SETT organisers have to work to. Needless to say, next year's SETT and the Xchange conference will have wifi - they have to, given LTS' renewed and vigourous interest in new tech.

David said...

Yes, I was told that the SECC were looking for £20 per head per day. Now, to me that sounds like a "What the market will bear" price. When I was in Germany, the hotel charged €4.50 for half an hours access to the Internet. However, just down the road I could get an hour for two euros in an Internet cafe.

Does the SECC have to charge £20 a day per head to make money or is that just what they can get away with charging businesses that us the SECC? I suspect the later.

Could the SECC have been told not to be so silly and to come back with a more sensible flat rate fee? How much money do the SECC already make out of SETT? It's not just the hiring of the space fees but the catering and other stuff must bring in a wee fortune. How much would it really cost them to provide wi-fi compared to the amount they are raking in elsewhere? How much money did they make from wi-fi access last year? Not a lot is my guess. I suspect they could provide wi-fi at a tiny fraction of £20 per head and still make significantly more money from it than they did last year... but that's just my guess I've been wrong before. :-)