After having my students from last semester successfully covering the Fototalks 2012 annual conference via social media, I decided to do a similar assignment this semester. This time it was covering Sawa3d , a three day conference focusing on volunteer groups and volunteer work in Kuwait and the Arab World. More than a 100 volunteer groups were part of the event, which welcomed a number of prevalent public figures from the Arab World.
The conference included inspirational speeches from leaders of successful not-for profit organizations, workshops on managing and marketing volunteer groups, and the most fun of all, the volunteer group contest where 15 groups gave creative four-minute presentations about their work. The groups where judged by a judging panel and by the audience who had a chance to vote for their favorite groups, on the spot, using their mobile phones.
I had 18 students semester, so I decided to divide them up into four groups and told them they should work as a media team. Their task was to cover the event from start to end—live— via social media. They had to live tweet throughout the event, post pictures on Instagram and shoot, edit and post mobile videos either on Instagram or YouTube. With every post, they were also required to include the course and the event’s hashtags.
My students were hesitant at first and were not quite sure what they were doing and why they were doing it. After a while, they began figuring out that by live covering the event on social media, they were able to guide the conversation and build traffic toward the event’s hashtag. The outcome was absolutely great and my students even got shout outs from speakers, specifically from Ammar Mohammed, one of the leading social media experts in the Arab World. Ammar thanked my students for their effort and also created a storify pertaining to social media coverage of his speech during the event.
More importantly, the content they presented was, in my opinion, remarkable. I asked each group to curate some of their best work and post it on their blogs: you can check out the outcomes here: Group1, Group 2, Group 3, Group 4. The effort they made, specifically with shooting and editing videos, was more than I asked for and I truly thank them for that.
I am glad I went about and did this assignment again and I was proud of my students for doing such an excellent job.
Thanks to Sawa3d for trusting us and giving us the opportunity to cover the event freely. I hope we made you proud.
See you again in Sawa3d 2014.