Last Thursday I attended Teachmeet Blackpool at Hawes Side primary school. Teachers, Jim Maloney of Hawes Side and Tom Sale of Mereside were the movers and shakers and managed to get a great attendance from local primary schools. As usual it was good to renew acquaintances with colleagues such as Peter Rafferty from Green Park, Simon Haughton from Parkfield and Dughall McCormick from Huddersfield.
The highlights for me were, in no particular order:
- Peter Richardson talking about his MOLE project (please contribute);
- Simon Haughton demonstrating Shape Collage and talking about 2 Create a Super Story;
- Peter Rafferty showcasing his work with Photopeach;
- The inimitable John Davitt rounding things up in his own humorous style and playing with his Learning Event Generator (which I have since downloaded for my iPhone – search for “The RAG” in the App Store)
The Blackpool Teachmeet was quite distinct from other Teachmeets I have attended in that the audience were predominantly local teachers. This presented some problems which organisers of future “local” Teachmeets could think about.
- The local teachers tended to sit with their friends and not mix too much with the Teachmeet “regulars.”
- The presenters were almost exclusively Teachmeet regulars (i.e had attended at least 1 before).
Clearly many of the local teachers weren’t sure quite what to expect and treated it much like any other Inset. I think it would be useful to consider some “warm-up” activities and some networking activities to increase audience participation. This might add an unwelcome element of formality which Teachmeet has so successfully fought against, but it might be better than having an event where it could appear that a clique of geeks were doing the presenting. With such an audience it’s also worth considering how you might encourage questioning and feedback – most weren’t on Twitter.
It was, nevertheless, a great event and totally devoid of commercial sponsorship. It seems to me that with Teachmeet Bett becoming so successful and organisations like Naace jumping on the Teachmeet bandwagon it’s local events where Teachmeet has the greatest chance of actually reaching out to ordinary teachers and we need to find ways of making them comfortable within the Teachmeet format.