TeachMeet08 Credit Crunch Edition: Homeless
It's 10pm. I can't sleep. In just over two weeks' time we're supposed to be having a gathering of Scotland's most innovative educators who care to show up for the ninth TeachMeet, at Learning and Scotland's Scottish Learning Festival. Fifty clever people have already said they'll turn up, speeding across the M8 and A9 to get there. The topics are fascinating. But we have no home, no wifi, no beer.
Traditionally, I've had enough time 'donated' by LTS to go find all of the above, and generally, thanks to some incredibly generous support from the likes of Softease, Channel 4 and RM, and efforts of those who come along, we've had an amazing evening that has genuinely pushed thinking forward, and changed the face of the well-funded main shows (Scottish Learning Festival and BETT).
This year, though, despite knocking on some new doors, we do not have the venue/wifi/affordable beverage combination that we require. We have had an offer of a space within a hotel a taxi-ride away from the SECC, but hotels have traditionally been more problematic than welcoming: wifi is rarely anything but extortionate and the £8 "corking charges" are tragically predictable. Frankly, if we don't have the required combo by close of business Friday I doubt the future of TeachMeet08 at the Scottish Learning Festival. It may just be Meet08, down at the local pub on Clydeside.
It's time to see whether the TeachMeet that invariably has been described as the "best CPD ever" by Mr Bray, and "what professional development is all about" by Mr Heppell, can survive on crowdsourcing alone.
This is a last-ditch attempt to gain the ears of those whose livelihood it is to support professional development of teachers (and not the ears of those who job it isn't, but who have previously so generously given): show your £s, and help not only provide a venue but the environment that makes TeachMeet different from every other stilted CPD event out there. It sounds crude, but it sounds necessary to me, too. We do not need a hotel room; we need somewhere inspirational, funky, cool. TeachMeet shouldn't have to beg; given its rep and what happens when the venue is right, it should have a venue to match its 50+ teacher speakers.
And, in the meantime, if the TeachMeet community have some ideas of more informal inspiring venues that could still work for helping people share their innovations, get them on the wiki pronto!