Teachmeet’s are cool (but the jokes are terrible)


Just a few days ago I wrote about my intention to visit a TeachMeet for the first time; today, together with Gayle Bicknell, I went along to the nearest event being held at University of Winchester. It took us a while to find, but thanks to a friendly lady in the not-very-secure car park belonging to the HQ of Hampshire Police we got there only a few minutes after kick off.

The whole thing was really impressive, right from the start. All TeachMeet activity is collated at the TeachMeet wiki hosted by PBWorks, and there’s a dedicated page for each event, including this one at Winchester. I’m looking forward to reviewing some of the recorded content when it’s published online, and continuing the conversation via Twitter.

The format isn’t quite un-conference; those wanting to present have already published their intention and subject on the wiki page, and therefore you have an idea of what to expect. This seems to work pretty well. There isn’t the ‘open space’ style effect for those conversations that nobody is interested in – the agenda is sequential. However, each of the presentations is either two minutes or seven minutes in length. This is just about right for the subject matter. You really don’t need to hear every last detail about the subject in question, but rather get enough of an overview that you can follow-up directly with the presenter, or take away enough inspiration to get on with some experimentation for yourself.

There were a couple of times during the event where I felt we could have done with a break – to pause and talk about some of the ideas we were hearing with the others around us. I didn’t stay until the end, so didn’t get to do this informally afterward. Having a few minutes periodically for some conversation, or a separate and clearly identified breakout room for more conversation would be handy. Maybe a presenter could leave the stage and head for a breakout room when finished for a further fifteen minute discussion with those who wanted to talk about their subject in a little more detail?

My first experience of TeachMeet is that it’s a fantastic opportunity for teachers, or ICT / ILT coordinators to gather and pass on some valuable knowledge. You really cannot afford to miss out on the valuable networking opportunity of a teachmeet – whether you attend in person, watch a live stream (something I hope other TeachMeet’s will be providing), or join the conversation via Twitter. I’m off to consider hosting the next one on our campus… with free wi-fi!

Wait! I didn’t mention the jokes, did I? No. Check out @gideonwilliams presentation to find out about a huge number of Web 2.0 tools, and how many people from many walks of life are needed to change a lightbulb. Be ready to groan at the punch lines – many, many times.

4 Responses

  1. Gideon WIlliams April 27, 2011 / 23:47


    Thanks for the mention although any blame for the jokes lies firmly with my 10yr old son whose recommendations they were.

    Shame we did not get the chance to chat and agree with what you said about the break but it was very packed! Do need opportunity to share and chat and ask more questions.

    Im at Alresford which is only a brief journey away – lets meet up sometime. Have lots to learn and share about Moodle.

  2. chri5grant April 28, 2011 / 08:40

    Thanks for posting, Gideon!

    Whilst a break or two during the course of the evening would have made it possible for everyone to make a few more connections, for those of us who are close, a smaller scale meet would no doubt be valuable. You would be a most welcome visitor! I’m really pleased to find there are plenty of keen Twitter users getting the conversation going online!

    I’m going to download your list of Web 2.0 tools now and see if I’ve missed anything…

  3. jfb57 April 28, 2011 / 09:52

    Great to read that you enjoyed your first TM Chris & hope to meet up again soon. My son is a DH in Southampton so visits south (I’m in Bristol) are not a problem!
    Thanks for stopping by THO – I’m up for being the person!

  4. jfb57 April 28, 2011 / 10:26

    Ticked the box! Thanks Chris!

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