What is an Unconference?

An unconference is an open, participant-driven conference. The content is proposed and provided by the participants, and is often determined on the day of the event. This style of learning is not new. It stems from the model of barcamps, which were originally focused on software, web applications, and open source technology. Unconferences rely heavily on the passions and interests of the participants. Because of this, unconferences have become an extremely popular form of professional development.    

Traditional ConferencesUnconferences
Presenters are seen as givers of knowledge, similar to the traditional model of teaching.Anyone can present. There is choice and community, similar to more progressive teaching models.
Meticulously planned. The itinerary is complete and published in advance.Spontaneity is planned for. There is room to adjust to what attendees want or need.
Presenters are honored above those who attend.Anyone can potentially present, so there is more equality.
Generally, there is a cost to attend.Unconferences are usually free.
Focus is on the sessions; networking is an added benefit.Networking is one of the most important components and is purposefully planned for
From What is an Unconference, by Jason Bedell