Tuesday, 10 August 2010

TeachMeet Blackpool June 16th 2010

Before I go into detail of the event itself, I'd like to thank everyone that turned up - physically or virtually. It was really great to see you all.
Tom and I had such a blast in January that we thought it'd be a good idea to run another TeachMeet. Well, that was the beginning of a whole horde of silly ideas we had. But do you know what? They were the best type of silly ideas. They were silly ideas that worked.
Last Wednesday, just shy of 140 teachers descended on our school. They came both locally, nationally & internationally. In fact, one teacher from Germany was so impressed that he's gone back already plotting his own take on it. I'll admit now, I don't really remember much about the event, which is why it's taken me so long to actually post on it - I've had to read other people's blogs and go, "oh yeah, that was good." or "I presented...really?" This post isn't going to be a generic recap of the event, however. I'll endeavour to keep it short, light and humourous.  We were fortunate enough to have Professor Stephen Heppell open the event. His first words were great, epitomising the whole movement when he said,
 "this is the most fun and the most autonomy you can have in your whole career, so why wouldn't you enjoy it?"
Well put. We did enjoy it as well. There was one major difference in the way that this teachmeet was organised in as much as some schools attended instead of staff meetings. The support from Senior Management afforded all staff the opportunity of finding out about new technologies from the TeachMeet regulars. This is fantastic, in my opinion, as it provides them with an instant fix of technology that they can become enthused about. I've bumped into teachers from other schools over the past few days and they have all said how much they enjoyed it and how they have used things that were presented on.
Power to the Masses.
I'm not implying a revolution in the way CPD is run, but the feedback forms all suggested that they were prepared to stay til 7 or 8 -granted my timekeeping meant that people were still here at 9:30 (if it's any consolation I still blush about that now). Interestingly, most people have asked for it to be run as a shared inset day - which I think could have great potential as a quango busting economic alternative.
One, slightly, errm, jaundiced teacher was happy that she had someone else finding things for her. I smiled as I knew secretly that she had really enjoyed herself and has subsequently used poissonrouge and storybird in her class - to great effect!
The goal that Tom & I had was to open up the TeachMeet model to everyone. Especially as so many teachers were unaware of it. I'm pleased to say we managed to do that and I think we did it pretty well.
When we totted up the numbers, we saw that over 80% of attendees were either teachers, or working in schools (heads/deputies etc). Compared with other large scale TMs, this is by far the best attended by classroom practitioners and I couldn't be happier.
Of course, this event would never have been as successful as it was without the support of lots of different organisations and businesses. It also wouldn't have been a success without people giving up their time to help. Leon Cych, our director behind the lens, spent not only 9 hrs in school on the Weds itself, but also edited and uploaded and tweaked into the wee hrs after that - and still now! Chris Ratcliffe provided some truely brilliant goody bags (blackpool rock & the 'eye pad' notwithstanding) and Andrea Carr's generosity (£250 worth of e-books per person) was heartwarming. Others also supported with similar aplomb. Chris from BrainPopUk came up from Oxford to support us, and gave away a full year's subscription worth over £750. The plus side of this? All this went to teachers. They can use it in their classes. Now.
The SSAT, Vital, TES Resources, PTS, 2Simple, PrimaryPad all donated either time, money or resources which allowed the event to be organised and those who were there were professional in their approach. They didn't sell, theysupported. And we were grateful for that support.
My favourite part of the event was looking at people who were told it would last til 6, stay til 8. That, to me, spoke volumes about the impact they perceived it was having on them.
I'll stop rambling now, but if you go to the links below, you can see the posts of people who came, who spoke and who inspired.
Leon Cych interviews me about teachmeet
Better posts to read than mine:
Leon Cych's Video Channel - Presentations from TeachMeet Blackpool
Jan Webb (Microsoft European Innovative Teacher Award Winner 2009) http://bit.ly/bIPOmA 
Bev Evans (ICT Teacher & creator of www.communication4all.co.ukhttp://bit.ly/bczx6r
Zoe Ross (Head of IT) http://bit.ly/9SVuj6
Dianne Spencer (Head of Heathfield Primary) http://bit.ly/btrz5o
Michael Shepherd (Head of Hawes Side) http://wp.me/pvUIF-4p

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