The main discovery was the Eventbrite website. It is a fantastic resource, allowing delegates to automatically sign up and I would recommend it to anyone running an event where they want automatic replies and automatic collection of information to help with sign-in.
The day started with the lecture by Aude Alapini- Odunlade, Exeter University. We invited her because Allison and I from the committee had seen her talk before and were REALLY impressed, the description is here: http://geordiescience.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/iop-stimulating-physics-south-west.html Aude left a small selection of resources, all of them were snapped up quickly.
Then the delegates went into the first set of workshops. I stayed on the desk, ready to help anyone who arrived late.
As I walked around the workshops there was a great atmosphere as the people who had given up their time and money to get some CPD engaged fully with the workshops.
At break there were opportunities for networking and I witnessed a delegate make useful connections to the IoP and get some ideas of where to go for support for A-level physics. This made the morning for me as I believe that connecting people should be a main aim of the ASE.
The delegates went into their second set of workshops and back to learning.
Of the 100 people who signed up 31 didn't show up, which was dissapointing. I think that I will try to find out if the IoP have the same sorts of issues with their South West Physics conference, and again with the Chem Labs conference. I know that people get ill, but 30% seems quite high, especially when the conference was fully booked. I didn't want to risk adding more people as if they had all turned up then we would have had too many for the space to watch the key note.
Whether charging would make a difference is another question. I personally don't want to charge members, when we are able to cover the cost of the conference from the money we get from non-members. (Costs are tea and coffee and the travel expenses of the key note speaker).
Lastly we went to the planetarium for a very quick ABM, at which I was elected to chair-elect! Sarah has done it for 6 years so far, I don't see why she doesn't want to do it for a 7th. Then we watched the planetarium show aimed at key stage 3/key stage 4. I did learn something, as I didn't realise that black dwarf stars were purely theoretical and that the universe wasn't actually old enough to have produced any yet. I just read my Physics for You text book and accepted what it said.
We haven't yet had time to analyse the opinions of the delegates. I really hope that they liked it as it is quite an effort to put on.
We did have a few people decide to join the ASE that day, and I hope that is because the committee put on a good show for the association. The issue now is to provide those new members with the same support and community that was available on Saturday throughout their membership of the ASE.
Roll on 2013.
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