CESI members were delighted to be able to attend the “techie Mecca” of the year. That of course was, the Web Summit which lasted 3 days from November 3rd to 5th. An estimated 40,000 plus people attended a variety of events like Panels, Pitches and lively night-life gatherings each evening.
The announcement that the Summit was leaving Dublin and going to be in Lisbon for 2016 put a slight damper on things from an Irish perspective. Other things that caused slight controversy were people complaining of patchy Wi-Fi, expensive food and a late invitation for the Taoiseach. A number of well-known enthusiasts from tech and screen voiced disappointment at the loss of the Web Summit to Lisbon as well.
However, there were lots to see and do at this extraordinary event. From its humble beginnings of just 400 people that attended the first Web Summit in Dublin in 2010 to this year’s event which saw something like 30,000 delegates from 134 countries coming to the main event. Then a further 12,000 are estimated to have attended the free public events in the evenings.
Around 1,000 speakers presented, including founders of and representatives from global companies including Instagram, Tinder, Pixar, Stripe and Ford.
For Start-ups there were over 1,000 investors and 1,000 or more people from the media all looking to see what is going to be the next big techie thing.
The Web Summit is very large and was spread over the grounds of the RDS. So you would have to plan your day or days to get to all you wanted to see and hear. I downloaded the Web Summit app which was essential and without it I would be over whelmed. The Web Summit was divided into 21 mini summits really which covered a variety of topics. See the table below and click on the links to give you a flavour of what went on in each. There were nine stages hosting events throughout each day, covering the latest issues affecting technology, sport, the media, enterprise and society and much more.
|The 21 Summits: Click on the link to read more about each one.
Some of the main speakers were Dell founder Michael Dell, Instagram founder Mike Krieger and President of Pixar & Disney animation Ed Catmull to mention a few. Also attended were Stripe founder – Limerick man John Collison and Stewart Butterfield Co-founder and CEO Slack.
Ford executive chairman Bill Ford spoke of the Web Summit being one of the world’s leading conferences for technology and ideas.
The Ford Motor Company invited developers to take part in a 24-hour challenge to design apps for SYNC, Ford’s voice activated, in-car connectivity system. The SYNC AppLink Developer Challenge Dublin was organised with Web Summit and give programmers a chance at €75,000 prize money and the opportunity to develop new apps with Ford.
To see the full list of speakers click here.
Interesting Stands and Booths
There was a Coderdojo Booth located in the main hall. This was a credit to all where coders of today and tomorrow showcased the projects that they’ve made at Coderdojo for the event. It was a great chance for coders to showcase projects with their Mentors and or guardians in attendance. See more at: https://coderdojo.com/news/2014/09/10/showcase-your-project-at-the-web-summit/#sthash.ZEJuAnU3.dpuf
The Web Summit for Schools
The Web Summit for Schools event took place on the evening of Tuesday the 3rd November from 7:30pm – 9pm. This summit for schools gave students the chance to experience this special event and help those with aspirations to become more involved in technology to speak to and learn from the brightest people in the tech world.
The students and their guardians who attended, for free, got to hear talks from some of the world’s leading entrepreneurs, engineers, executives, investors and media. All the speakers were women, as this event was also about inspiring Ireland’s next generation of female leaders and innovators as well.
The Web Summit also gave a platform to St Audoen’s N.S. Cook Street, Dublin for the project which they worked on called the Bullybug which was unveiled at the event. See reports on the school website: Well done to all involved. http://staudoens.ie/bullybug-unveiling-at-the-web-summit-2015/
Other Interesting Booths
As indicated earlier that was so much to see you could not include all in such an article however some stands did stand out for me. These are some excellent Irish and international ones.
Tip tap tap
This interesting stand which could have an impact on schools using technology is: Tip tap tap An Irish company which has developed an interactive table for the junior primary classroom. I have seen this in action in a Digital School of Distinction recently. They are in the development phase and hope to roll out product in the very near future.
Another Irish start-up is Webkids. This product enables self-paced learning for children in an environment suited to their individual learning needs. It hopes to help children develop problem solving skills, enrich cognitive skills and promote internet awareness on an educational level boosting their self confidence and self-esteem.
This is in the early stages of development but it could be an invaluable resource to many teachers who work hard to accommodate inclusion in the classroom.
Other interesting booths were at the Videopath. A program which makes interactive video easy and could have lots of potential for today’s classroom.
Another one that caught my eye was Eyeread. This is revolutionizing how children learn to read with the world’s first affordable literacy accelerator that uses Artificial Intelligence on eBooks.
So to conclude, as far as I am concerned it is a pity that Web Summit will not happen in Dublin next year. It will mean I and many, many more will not be able to attend such an event due to cost. Our students will not get a chance to see and participate in such an event also. However, Web Summit is an Irish company and I would like to wish them the best of luck and we look forward to having the event back in Ireland again sometime soon. As an educationalist I would have wished to hear more speakers on education topics. However, Web Summit is also evolving and I look forward to reading and following events next year.