BuzzConf for the eLearning Community

Last Friday, I was fortunate enough to attend  TAFE NSW  Engage 2016. Engage is a yearly event where we look at Innovation in eLearning. And it was particularly interesting this year focused on AR/VR and eLearning. And immediately it made me think “all these people need to go to BuzzConf.”


BuzzConf is not a conference. It’s a festival. It literally takes place in a campground. When I first heard this last year, I thought my friend and co-organiser Ben Dechrai was insane. No one, I thought, wants to go camping with their computer. No one wants to talk tech in the woods.

Oh I was wrong. So wrong.

Ben and Rick
Ben Dechrai and Rick Giner open the first BuzzConf.

There could not be a better venue for this event. Getting the conference out of the hotel lobby was a brilliant move. We gathered around campfires and talked. We listened and danced to music from live bands. We gathered in the camp cabin and played cards. And we talked tech. It was far more fun than the usual drinks and canapes in Meeting Room C. BuzzConf was about community, and fun.

And BuzzConf encouraged families to come along. I thought, again Ben and Rick Giner, the other co-organiser, were nuts. But it was brilliant. The Kids Stream at BuzzConf is strong and well organised. Families were having fun together, with tech! Young people were playing with arduino building weather stations and robots, and they were doing whatever you do in Minecraft. But they were learning. They were learning STEM and loving it.

So why go to BuzzConf if you’re an educator? There’s plenty of Moots, and plenty of other Ed conferences, tailored for the VET, Higher Ed, and Primary Systems. Surely this generic tech conference won’t be especially relevant. Is camping just a gimmick?

Scott and Tesla
Into cars? Last year they had a Tesla at BuzzConf.

Well, I think this is exactly the kind of event you need to attend. And I think it’s the same reason so many TAFE NSW went to and enjoyed Engage. It’s about Innovation. It’s about all the NEW THINGS™.

If you enjoyed the VR vs AR discussion at Engage – you will love BuzzConf. This is exactly the kind of discussion that goes down. If you loved the 3D printing demonstration – you’ll love building giant spiderbots. If you loved the discussion about new ways to use Moodle, Canvas or Google Ed, you’ll love the brilliant ideas people are pushing at BuzzConf. If you said “Yes! We need Maker Spaces at TAFE!” then come to BuzzConf and learn how to set one up, because the whole campground is a Maker Space.

Education is the unofficial theme at BuzzConf. This is where you’re going to meet the people pushing the envelope, and this is where you’ll figure out how to take that back to your classroom.

  • What: BuzzConf, An awesome technology festival – Think Burning Man but with more Giant Robotic Spiders.
  • When: November 25 to 27
  • Where: Ballan, Victoria
  • Why: 
    • Did you not read the part about the giant robotic spiders?
    • Okay in all seriousness, it’ll be the most inspiring tech event you’ll attend this year. You’ll talk about it for months.
    • It’s highly intellectual – last year’s highlight for me was Kathy Reid posing ethical questions about technology implants.
    • It’s also incredibly silly fun – there was a rave, there was a campfire and s’mores, there was a Cards Against Humanity tournament.
  • Will I See You There: I hope so.


Kenneth “Scott” Huntley is a Learning Designer with TAFE NSW (Technical and Further Education, in New South Wales in Australia) and WordPress instructor with The Parramatta College.

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