I discovered Teachmeets early last year. The power of motivated teachers sharing their ideas and networking together is at the core of all Teachmeets. This style of “unconference” is extremely addictive and I attended 4 separate events last year. Since late last year I have wanted to host my very own and Teachmeet Seachange on June the 25th 2013 was the realisation of one of my goals this year.
“The view from the other side” is my reflections on what it is like to organise and run a Teachmeet, a showcase of all of the amazing presentations given on the night and a archive of my first time running a Teachmeet.
The Thank yous
Before I start I have to give a big mention to my “partner in crime” Renata Grudic. Without her shared vision, connections through the college and hard work behind the scenes our Teachmeet would not have been as successful as it was. Setting up Teachmeet was not as hard as I expected due to the help from many members of my Professional Learning Network (PLN).
Thankyou to Clarinda brown for her program template, Jeannette James for her help setting up and promotions, Phillip Cooke for his help setting up, “Mr Teach meet” Matt Mesterman for his help with promotions and posting to the national website, John Goh for the theme inspiration for Teach Meet Seachange, Monique Dalli for her assistance with setting up the program structure and everyone else who have been very supportive. If you have not setup your PLN then you need to do it now.
Teach meet organisation tips
Sharing a great space, presentations and food is a wonderful feeling. Hosting a Teachmeet is a rewarding experience, however, it does take a lot of organisation to make sure everything runs smoothly. The teachmeet Sydney wiki offers a quick guide to setting up your very own Teachmeet. Click here to have a look.
The following are my tips to help you setup an awesome Teachmeet.
- Decide on the venue you will have the Teachmeet and where you will have your Teacheat (a gathering of educators for dinner to keep the conversation going).
- Apply to join the TM Sydney wiki page
- Once you have been accepted you need to setup up an event page for your Teachmeet. Then place your event on the calender of events and link this to your event page. For my event page click here.
- The wiki page for Teachmeet Sydney can be a bit glitchy. I would recommend you create a poster that is one image.
- Decide on a format with start and finish time ( I looked at 8 different Teachmeet formats from the last year)
- Place your poster image on your event page add extra information including where, when, the program, timings, maps for the venue and teacheat afterwards.
- Add links on your page to the registration page. Many organisers do this differently. I used a Google form and also linked the spread sheet that the information automatically fills into. Click here for Registration form and Registration spread sheet
- Create a Twitter hashtag for the event. This is for the back channel communication to a global audience. My event’s hashtag was #tmseachange
- Create a poster to promote your event and place it on your wiki event page. (See poster below)
Start promoting your event
- Place your Teachmeet on the national website. I asked Matt Mesterman for the contact to put my Teachmeet on the National (Australian) website.
- This is where your PLN will help you to promote your event. I used Twitter, Edmodo and e mail to promote and seek out cool presenters.
- I posted on Twitter about 30 times in the month before my event and twice on many Australian groups on Edmodo. My PLN then retweeted and promoted about 20 more times.
- As the event gets closer you need to start placing your presenters in to the time slots and make sure they can make it for their time ( some presenters travelled from the other side of Sydney).
- Organise a program and start filling this out also. (you can access this at the start of the presentations)
Organising for the day
- You need to think about what you will do when people are arriving and in intermission.
- Catering does not need to be fancy, however, good food gets the conversation going.
- You need to organise all of your technology. We had two laptops (one in backup), digital projecter and a board with another laptop and board to project the Twitter feed. Having said that I have been to pub Teachmeets with no technology which goes back to where they all started.
- You will get some great ideas from other Teachmeets. I used a pimp your badge station and idea boards so participants could share their sea change moments.
- On the day make sure everything is set (including the technology)
- Organise someone to time the presentations and let the presenter know when they have one minute to go.
- I created a signin sheet by printing out the google registeration form.
- I created a presentation to introduce the event. (you can access this at the start of “the presentations”)
- Take a deep breath, dont worry if you have forgotten something, smile and enjoy your Teachmeet from the other side.
We were very fortunate to have great presenters on the night. (The program is below)
For my welcome to the Teachmeet presentation click here.
Here are a list of our wonderful presenters and their presentations.
- Extrinsic VS Extrinsic (Tanya Leigh NBSC Cromer Campus) Intrinsic vs extrinsic
- Funky feedback using video notes (Abi Wolhuis Roseville College)
- Whole brain/ Power teaching (Dane Ropa NBSC Balgowlah Boys Campus) Whole Brain Teaching Intro
- Heart 2 Help with inspirational leaders (Liam Dunphy Northern Beaches Christian School) empowerment@heart2help click for video
- National Partnership Broker program and how it can benefit you (Jeannette James Oakhill College/ AusSIP) Click here for blog post.
- Building student resilience (Neil Worsley NBSC CAC)
- Launch learning (Clarinda Brown Cumberland High School) Clarinda Brown TM Seachange
- Extending Writing (Elizabeth Demonfort NBSC Cromer Campus) Liz demonfort How do you write
- Vision alignment via video link (Alicia Kemp Silkwood School Gold Coast). Click for video here.
- Assessment ʺasʺ learning – for ME! (Denise Lombardo De La Salle Ashfield)
- “Be the change” (Malyn Mawby Abbotsleigh) Click for the video
- Terrific Teacher Teams (Polly Dunning Nepean CAPA High School) TM Seachange Team Meetings
So you ask what was the “view from the other side” like. Well organising a Teachmeet was a steep learning curve, however, with my PLN and Renata it was easier than expected. I enjoy networking with motivated educators and loved hosting new and established Teach meeters.
Should you host a Teachmeet? Absolutely. Would I host another Teachmeet? Yes. Watch this space.