Teachmeet Blackpool, where next?

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)

For the record, I talked briefly about some excellent primary school bloggers and a little bit about the use of digital maps in the classroom.

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.

  1. The local teachers tended to sit with their friends and not mix too much with the Teachmeet “regulars.”
  2. 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.

Malcolm the Mole stealing my thunder #tmbpool

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7 Responses to “Teachmeet Blackpool, where next?”

  1. Michael Shepherd January 25, 2010 7:41 pm
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    Interesting points, John. It’s well worth considering how the format might be adapted in the future to meet the needs of both local teachers and teachmeet regulars. It’s been well received and is worth developing for next time.

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  2. Diane January 25, 2010 9:08 pm
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    Would have like to have been there but had another commitment on the same evening.

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  3. Diane January 25, 2010 9:09 pm
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    Sound like another great teachmeet.

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  4. John Sutton January 25, 2010 10:30 pm
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    I agree, Michael. I’m not sure if you’re going to the Teachmeet that is part of the Naace Conference in March, but I imagine that will be quite a different style of event. To my mind, Teachmeet is at its most powerful when it’s not acting as soundboard for a bunch of techno teachers talking to each other (much as we enjoy doing it), but when it’s reaching beyond its normal constituency, such as at Teachmeet Blackpool.

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  5. Jim Maloney January 27, 2010 7:58 am
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    Good points about the TeachMeet John and we were saying the same ourselves. The difficulty we had was that although opportunity was offered to local staff to speak, all I had was a 10 minute pitch to the Head teachers at one of their termly gatherings. With us including non-teachmeet regulars, we were sceptical as to how successful the format would be, although perhaps it’ll just take them longer to digest and apply the ideas that were on offer.

    Tom & I have talked about where to go next, and the authority as a whole has now seen the potential benefits of running similar events in this style. It would be good to get other people’s candid views as well. Thanks for coming to the event and I’ll be seeing you around the next Blackpool one, I’m sure.

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  6. Nicola S February 14, 2010 3:40 pm
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    I like the warm ups idea….I’m quite good at doing those and would be up for it!

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