Tuesday, 12 April 2011

TeachMeet - PELC11

"What is a Teach Meet? It is an informal and enjoyable gathering of those curious about using technology for teaching and learning. Anyone can share great ideas they've trialed in their classrooms, ask questions or simply turn up and soak up all the great ideas and enthusiasm.

The main part of TeachMeet is hearing stories about learning, from teachers and other education professionals. This is a chance for education professionals to hear ideas from each other, a chance to hear real narratives of practice that makes a difference. It is about being engaged and inspired by our immediate colleagues and gaining a whole bucket load of networking to boot!" - 

Dan Roberts (@chickensaltash) was kind enough to chair the meet, and he used the list of topics from the sign up wiki in a random generator in order to make it more interesting. Dan was a very entertaining host, and I'd like to thank not only Dan, but Vital and GCSEPod for providing 'refreshments' that definitely helped with the nerves of presenting for the first time!

I'd been interested in going to TeachMeets for a while, but work commitments had made it difficult. However, PELC11 provided me with the opportunity to not only attend, but present too. But what would I present? In actuality, the answer was obvious - I wanted to present the Student Teacher Resource to a wider audience including teachers and professionals from across the country, and get as much feedback as possible in order to take the project forward. However, there was something else that I ended up presenting in addition.

For the past few months, we've had an ICT module with Pete Yeomans (@ethinking). Pete is obviously a fan of Monty Python, as every so often during his lectures, he'll play a clip much like the Spanish inquisition, these clips appear when completely unexpected, but seem (at least in some respects!) to relate to what he was talking about. The scenes ranged from the 'Spanish Inquisition' sketch, to the 'What have the Romans ever done for us?' scene in The Life of Brian, but there was one glaring omission that I had to ask him about. For those that haven't seen the opening sketch from 'The Meaning of Life', go and watch this clip from YouTube. Whilst you're watching, see if you can relate any of the things the surgeons do to how ICT can be (mis)used in the classroom. Anyhow, I talked to Pete about why he'd never shown this clip, and he suggested I present my thoughts on how the scene relates to bad ICT at the Teach Meet. So that's what I did! Simon Finch (@Simfin) took this photo of the slide that I used to talk about why showing an Monty Python clip was remotely relevant, and the feedback I got was great! 

I'd only just got my first TeachMeet presentation done (or in the words of @chickensaltash, lost my TeachMeet... ahem) when the generator picked myself and Becy out to present the Student Teacher Resource to the others in attendance, and so back I went. Whilst I'd unfortunately misplaced the basic presentation I had, I thought quickly to just show the actual website and ask Becy to navigate whilst I talked about the various features, handing over to my able deputy to get involved too! The feedback from the audience was really useful, giving us points for development to head towards. @ethinking also had something to say, deciding to announce to us and everyone that there are some very interested parties that want to support us. It was a pretty big moment to know that we'd done something that could become so big. I want this feeling more!

Getting back to my seat and reading the Twitter feed from #tmpelc11 gave me a grin as wide as the nile. The feedback was really great - really gave me a sense that I'd made an impact in a positive way, which relates perfectly to teaching.

I'm really beginning to get a sense of confidence when I'm presenting now, in much the same way that my confidence in front of a classroom full of children has developed over the years. I've noticed I like to be quite animated, to walk around the room, using hand gestures to convey extra 
information about what I'm saying. Several people that I talked to afterwards, such as Steve Wheeler, Russell Prue and Pete Yeomans said that I came across as very confident. Now I'm starting to feel it too.

I think I've caught the bug however, I want more. I want to share more, I want to meet more people and I want to see new ideas. I also want to thank everyone in attendance for the kind words, support and feedback (and wine). It was a brilliant experience. They say nobody forgets their first time, I sure won't.


  1. Great blog post, JC. I enjoyed your and Becy's presentations at #tmpelc11 -- your enthusiasm was infectious! I am sure you are, and will be, wonderful teachers. As a parent and an educator, I am inspired by this new generation of teachers: talented and *positive* about the future. Keep up the great work! :)

  2. Thanks. I'm reminded of the end Stephen Heppell's keynote when he said that this generation of teachers will be the best ever. I'm just doing my best to make sure that's true!