66 posts categorized "TeachMeet"

February 04, 2009

TeachMeet going (more) global

TeachMeetNL TeachMeet grew from a meeting of minds around some French food in Edinburgh, during the Spring of 2005. It was the first educational unconference that knew it was one, and continues to achieve as much or more than many 'cons' and 'uncons' that have since followed, relying on a simple set of unbudgeable rules to maintain a high bar of for-teachers-by-teachers structured and unstructured learning, with plenty of fun guaranteed.

I got a lovely email today from our colleagues in Holland, who had attended my first English TeachMeet at BETT in 2008 and wanted to hold one of their own. A year later they have done:

Just wanted to chime in to say thank you for inspiring me into TeachMeets. We held our first Dutch one last week and it was an absolute success. Fully booked room ('bout 65 attending) enough sponsors for free drinks and some great prizes for the raffle. Participants and sponsors were all thrilled by the concept and how it worked out on the evening itself.

I got conference organizers asking me to organise TeachMeets alongside their events. It looks like Holland (well, the whole world really) is ready for creative and informal ways to meet and learn.

I love it when a good plan comes together. Check out some nice pics, and encourage them to do away with the rows the next time ;-)

December 17, 2008

TeachMeet09 at BETT - Free-dom!

When I helped start the educators' unconference, TeachMeet, back in 2005 it was to copy the mantra of my old school magazine (for pupils, by pupils) for a group of people who had often felt disenfranchised by the technocratic, bureaucratic jargon of Central Office HQ: it's for teachers, by teachers. Thus, it would be free (as in beer) and free (as in speech).

I was concerned when I saw earlier this week that the company behind BETT, the big January trade show in London, were charging nearly £14 a head for those who happened to find out about TeachMeet09 through their site, especially since the wiki, where all the discussion, sponsorship and action happens, is easy to use and, importantly, free.

Well, a quick email to the trade exhibition organisers this morning with the highest levels of diplomacy in evidence ("I'm sure this is merely an administrative error, but really...") has led to the removal of the charge and a refund to all those who have paid it already. It would be nice to hear from some of those folk here to be reassured that this has indeed happened.

With new commitments I'll not be able to join in the love, larks and music of January's "learning experience" but wish all those helping to bring the event together the very best. Enjoy creating some further, much-needed change in the way our kids learn.

September 07, 2008

TeachMeet08 Credit Crunch Edition: Homeless

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!

Photo: Homeless

September 02, 2008

TeachMeet08 at the Scottish Learning Festival

TeachMeet08 SLF2008
Originally uploaded by Edublogger

Things have started to move on the TeachMeet08 site, and you're invited to add your name to the list of attendees for an evening of sharing some of the coolest and most exciting ideas for learning from this past year on September 24th.

I'm not able to take quite as much of a role this year in shaping the sponsorship, although I've put some feelers out for a potential venue. LTS have offered some degree of support already in that respect if one of our current short leat of potential places can't work out.

However, if you can help in any way  - beer money, £x towards any costs or a particular expense in particular, cool stuff - then please add your name, organisation and contribution to the wiki.

There are lots of reasons for getting involved in this kind of way, none more appealing than the fact the event has, for the last three years, taken on "must attend" status amongst many of the most innovative teachers in the country, particularly those making use of new media and gaming in the classroom. The potential for some blog link love and good word of mouth about your stuff is great. Here's hoping you can help!

July 29, 2008

1501st post on edu.blogs.com - it's a winner!

Visualiser Having spent far too long enjoying the superb suggestions for using a visualiser I'm ready to announce who's going to be offered the chance to pick up their very own - for free - from a dodgy pickup on the Redbridge platform of London's Central line. As a double celebration this is my 1501st post on edu.blogs.com. Hurrah! Thanks to you all for following me this long on my learning journey.

I won one of these devices, shown off with a certain degree of style by John Davitt in his recent BLC08 keynote, at the North East London TeachMeet, courtesy of the Visualiser Forum. The suggestions for its use included a lot from the world of science demonstrations, showing how to exploit Nintendo DSes and cutting down on photocopied texts. However, the example that, for me, shows a longer-term sustainability, with the student and not the teacher as the main user of the device, is Jaye Richards' short but sweet idea:

I saw these being used in Finland where there was one in every classroom in the schools I visited. I think though, that I would use it for pupils to do regular show and tell/ mini teaching sessions where they came up and demonstrated something or described a concept using their own objects or designs. I think this is a great way of encouraging real literacy and raising the confidence and self-esteem of our pupils. This approach also encourages deep learning and helps the pupils to take on the responsibility for their own lerning, and that of others. It takes peer-assisted learning to a new dimension.

I like the hook into Finland's exemplary practice, which I've been harping on about on this blog for some time, and I like the fact we're looking at peer assessment and student-centred show and tell, an underestimated skill and one that underpins TeachMeets.

So, Jaye, if you can get yourself and a visualiser from London back home, it's yours! Thanks to Anthony at Redbridge who has been keeping it locked up for me all this time. Indeed, he is the person with whom to coordinate your reunion with the kit.

June 24, 2008

McKerouac - A Month Stateside

It takes about two days, really, to get door-to-door from Edinburgh to anywhere in the States, so one might as well make as much of an invitation Stateside as one can.

Thanks to an initial generous invite to keynote Alan November's Boston-based Building Learning Communities (now sold out and with a long waiting list) later in July, and a tentative word-of-mouth twit/blog/email digital breadcrumb trail, I've been able to set up a month of events, conferences and research in the USA, with the total cost the Scottish taxpayer amounting to no more than about four nights in a hotel. A fair return on investment, I hope, from the following activities:

Greenville_sc June 25th: Greenville, South Carolina
Contact me: Drury Inn Suites
I'll be keynoting the Upstate Technology Conference on some of the Participation Culture work I've been doing, and providing a few workshops on gaming, pro podcasting and exploiting digital images for learning. I'm really looking forward to meeting an increasing number of SC educators who have come out of the Twitter woodwork and blogosphere these past few months to virtually greet me. I'll also be thrilled to kick off one of about three rencontres this month with David Jakes, who I've not yet had the pleasure of hearing doing his thing.

San_antonio_riverwalk June 27th: Arrival in San Antonio, Texas
June 28th: EdubloggerCon, San Antonio, Texas

Contact me: Hilton Palacio del Rio
Two things. First of all, I'm wondering with my 'spare' night in San Antonio whether Mr McLeod is anywhere nearby - or would like to be - for a reenactment of our Malt and Hops sesh last February. Secondly, I'm hoping to share some impromptu thoughts and, above all, I want to really get to the bottom of where US education is at in 2008. With every blog post from the States, I have to say, the virtual heads hang a little lower, a little more frustrated with a perceived lack of interest, progress or time and money to do things right. This is not the case in some other countries I've been fortunate to visit recently, including India, Slovenia, New Zealand or Holland; I'd love to understand why the States seem to be at a crunch point, see whether, in fact, they are, and, importantly, what might be done to reverse that. This group of educators is probably the best placed to look reflectively on a touchy issue. Hopefully some of them won't mind giving their rundown to camera.

June 29th-July 2nd: NECC, San Antonio, Texas
Contact me: San Antonio Marriott Riverwalk
I've ended up swinging a mini panel gig at this, thanks to the generosity of Uncles Will and Jakes. It's on the potential of video streaming for learning, for professional development, for, I dare say, entertainment.
For this week I'll be blogging primarily over at Connected Live, and hopefully updating with some video. LTS colleague Andy Pendry, currently working as the Technology Adviser for Glow, Scotland's national intranet, somehow managed to wangle a ticket and will be there, too, along with some BBC Scotland colleagues. I'll attempt to record a few wags of chin with them.

Burbank July 3rd-6th: Burbank, California
Contact me: Safari Inn, Burbank
The foothills of LA will be my home for a few nights as I finish off an eight-part video podcast production for learners of Spanish back in Europe. It's going to be launched on the MFLE later this summer, providing something a bit more attractive to an audience of teens back home, showing what Mexicana teens in the San Fernando Valley get up to, the strains they have with the older generations and the pressures they face in their day-to-day life in this huge City of Angels.
The (young) production company, Alas Media, is one that was a twinkle in our eye last summer as I canoed with Marco Torres' proteges Rosa and Miguel, trying to convince them that starting their own company would be a lot more exciting at their age than following the more traditional routes university was leading them down. Hopefully, what's turned out this past year has confirmed that for them. I'm just looking forward to spending July 4th eating Mexican, if I can find a home that'll take me in :-)

New_york July 6th-July 10th: New York City, New York
Mrs Edublogger and Mc Mini will be joining me in New York for some (required) holiday vacation. Any ideas what we should see and do? So much to choose from, and we don't want to shatter ourselves. In fact, is it possible just to chill in the Big Apple?

Boston July 10th-July 22nd: Boston, Mass.
Contact me (from July 14): Newton Marriott
Heading back up to Boston for more hols, with a few days near Harvard Yard before taking the T-line to Newton for the Building Learning Communities conference that kicked this itinerary off in the first place.
I'll be running a pre-conference workshop which still has a few places left if you're quick: come and enjoy taking some time in what gaming culture can bring to learning in the classroom and at home.

Come the opening day of the conference proper, I'll be a tad nervy as I deliver my keynote, It's Not All Native Wit, trying to get to the bottom of what makes some education systems 'good' and others less good. The title comes from the slight annoyance I've had over the years when demo-ing ideas for the classroom: "It's alright for him, he's young/a guy/a geek/got more time than I do/hasn't got kids of his own/can't sleep at all (delete as applicable)". For me, it's nothing to do with possessing some kind of pedagogical super powers or working a longer day than anyone else. I haven't and I don't. This talk will hopefully get to the bottom of what can make teachers even more remarkable beings than they currently are. I don't know what the reaction will be to a talk based on an annoyance, but this, after all, is where most innovation comes from: a problem or challenge that needs a quick, cheap long-lasting solution. I'm hoping this won't be any different. I'll let you know in a month...

Other sessions include more digital image work, a keynote follow-up and an appraisal of the trials and tribulations of this past year, trying to get more Local Authorities to follow East Lothian's example, and empower their staff (or make the staff feel empowered) to get online and share.

If you're around in any of these locations over the next month, do get in touch. I can't guarantee to be able to have a beer with everyone, though I don't mind trying. Above all, if you have places I need to eat, local foods and drinks I need to sample, or locations I have to visit, leave them in the comments here.

Pics: Greenville hills  |  San Antonio Riverwalk  |  Burbank LA  |  New York  |  Boston

June 08, 2008

Unleashing The Tribe: small passionate communities

This is the 25-minute keynote, Unleashing The Tribe, which I delivered at the Tipperary Institute in May this year, a shorter version of the 90 minute marathon I was invited to give at Redbridge Council the same week. It's a "here's where we are now" on what makes communities tick online, on mobile, in face-to-face settings, and why understanding this is so important for learning, borrowing unashamedly from Clay Shirky, danah boyd, a plethora of the hundred or so research reports that have crossed my browser this past 12 months and all the conversations I've had, blog posts written. Not bad for less than half-an-hour of audio and slides.

May 28, 2008

Never want to miss a TeachMeet near you?

Alarm Susan describes her frustration at missing multiple TeachMeets in her home, in her place of work and in her home country. She wonders: "Is there one place where I can sign up for future 'local' London TeachMeets?'

The answer: yes. Head onto the TeachMeet wiki, click the link on the homepage for the mailing list (or head straight to the Google Group) and put in your email address. You won't get spammed, and every time there's a TeachMeet, you'll be amongst the first to know. It'll also give people a chance to discuss with each other before, during and after events, if they're not already blogging or podcasting about it.

Pic: Alarm

How would you use my visualiser...?

Visualiser ...And the best suggestion on how to use it over the next week will get one. On my continuing posts from last week's adventures, I must let you know about something I won.

I never win anything, so I was quite excited to win one of the new generation of visualisers at the TeachMeetcharity raffle, courtesy of the Visualiser Forum, represented by Dave Smith. You know, the ones you see in lecture halls and being used by Edward de Bono during his talks.

Basically, though, it's sitting in London, waiting for a home with someone who would use it far more frequently and far better than I would. I want to give it away. To know who would use it best, I'd like to open up the opportunity to my blog reading colleagues in the UK (simply for ease of getting hold of the thing) to write a quick comment on this post telling me how on earth you would put this visualiser to use in your context. Feel free to email the blog post address to colleagues and put in a group effort, on several different comments. The best one - for me - wins.

If you want some ideas you might want to check out the new Visualiser Forum blog, a community blog pulling together ideas from kinds of disciplines and levels. Currently, the large pristine box is sitting in an office just off London's Central Line and, ideally, you would be able to pick it up from there. In the meantime, tell me what you would do with this.

Pic: Lectern

May 27, 2008

TeachMeet08 North East London - it just gets better

Teachmeet08_2 I think there's something to be said for introducing the TeachMeet idea to so many new faces in one go, in a place you don't know too well. You don't have any preconceptions (good or bad) about how people will react. In the end, it's always a positive buzz.

I had the great pleasure of hosting last week's TeachMeet North East London in Redbridge, having spent the day working with teachers and ICT Coordinators in the area. Over 100 people took time out of their personal calendars, on a school night, to hear and participate in stories of how technology is creating a difference in learning. Before we get on to the "two stars" here are my wishes:

Technical challenges beset us all at some stage, so in future TeachMeets the rule of No PowerPoints will stand, of course, but be coupled with "anything you want to show must be online and linked to from the TeachMeet wiki page". It also means we can all see the resources people have in advance. In any case, it's the way you tell 'em as much as the site/service/cool thing you're telling us about.

I think we also need to find a way to make the new feature of TeachMeets, the roundtables (thanks Jacky), more accessible to those coming in on the www. More cameras, more ways out, more volunteers to work the cams and more Flashmeeting or UStream spaces for people to choose what they see. I think we should look, too, at harnessing the existing community of UStream to bring in new TeachMeeters.

On with my highlights:

2Simple in Africa
Everywhere I go these days seems to feature the white fleece clad staff of this software company, run by a teacher who, it seems, undertakes more than his fair share of feel-good philanthropy.

There are 12.3m learners in RSA, 26, 292 schools, so a huge business potential for 2Simple. Using their software, students managed to come up with flash-like animations talking about how to keep healthy, about relationships with those who have HIV. 60-70 children a class, with "uneducated educators" (parents helping as teachers). Where there were computers there were no permissions to use them effectively.

Huge challenges, which the 2Simple helped students and teachers partly overcome throughthe Khanya project. By the start of 2012 every educator will be empowered to use appropriate and available technology to deliver curriculum to every learner. The project started in Feb, aiming to show how students' creative writing improves. The aim, to tip the balance between literate, and illiterate, numerate and innumerate.

Richard Millwood went all the way to New Zealand to find out what Delight in learning might look at. He's got a quicktime video and PDF to share on his blog.

Robosapiens Nic Hughes showed us the Robosapiens, a robot that is playable by good old remote control or programmable through a PC and infrared station. It would make another wonderful introduction to basic programming with a kinesthetic edge.

Daniel Needlestone's been working at creating meaningful language lessons - in Chinese with Chinese people.

Sarah Hackett really does teach folk fiddle through Moodle, though the business model might still be in the range of free pints at the pub.

Peter Sadler showed how Honeycomb has come along, is coming of age, indeed, as more schools see the potential of learning from social networking's participative culture.

John d'Abbro's research turning into real classroom creativity is worth a look.

Edith Whitehead revealed her trade secrets, namely what the kids do to access the stuff they want online - a packed roundtable talk with much laughter and raised eyebrows.

Drew Buddie revealed the secretive sport of rockstacking, and somehow related it to the kind of perseverance and resilience he's helping cultivate in his students through online projects.

Finally, Andy Black continually amazes people with his style and tendency to crazy things with expensive mobile gadgets. Tess managed to photograph his latest dunking of a smartphone in a bucket of water. It survived, of course. He's also a great Underground buddy.

There are tons more links on the event wiki. See you in Glasgow in September? If we ever find a home for the event...

About Ewan

Ewan McIntosh is the founder of NoTosh, the no-nonsense company that makes accessible the creative process required to innovate: to find meaningful problems and solve them.

Ewan wrote How To Come Up With Great Ideas and Actually Make Them Happen, a manual that does what is says for education leaders, innovators and people who want to be both.

What does Ewan do?

Module Masterclass

School leaders and innovators struggle to make the most of educators' and students' potential. My team at NoTosh cut the time and cost of making significant change in physical spaces, digital and curricular innovation programmes. We work long term to help make that change last, even as educators come and go.

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