There’s been a huge rise in the number of TeachMeets taking part recently, and this can only be a good thing. Last weeks saw TMGloucester, TeachMeet Holywell High School and TeachMeet Sunderland. Next week there’s TeachMeet Essex and TeachMeet X (in stoke on Trent) happening on the same night. There are also a few that are taking place after half term and I’m looking forward to taking part, one way or another. The TeachMeet phenomenon is really gathering pace, mainly due to the use of social networks and PLNs (like Twitter and Facebook) to let people know about such events. Additionally, the fact that these events are streamed live over the internet means you can watch and take part without the need to travel to the venue – fantastic if you live a fair distance from the actual event (which, in my case, is all the time). You’re also able to take part virtually: pre recorded video presentations, prezis or live video and skype links really embrace the use of modern technology and make such events more accessible and interesting.
I really enjoyed taking part (virtually) TeachMeet that took place at Holywell High School last week. For a start, it was great to see another TeachMeet happening in Wales, albeit too far away from me for me to actually attend. The atmosphere was great and there were some great ideas being shared: some I knew about but hadn’t tried yet (therefore making me even more determined to try them soon), some I hadn’t thought about using in the classroom (like PptPlex – a very cool piece of kit – thanks @nellmog!), some which were truly inspiring (like the power of blogging and howler monkeys from @deputymitchell!!) and some I just adored and would love to try at some stage (origami for listening skills!!!! – genius from @ColinTGraham). The whole evening was packed with great ideas and everyone was sharing their own experiences: what could be better? I had also sent a video presentation to be used (on Google Maps – and, no, it’s not an obsession) which you can look at here (there’s also a follow up available here) and had gained a few new Twitter friends by the end of the evening – fantastic!
The following evening was TeachMeet Sunderland, which had a completely different set of people presenting , which meant a whole new load of ideas were shared and discussed. There were a couple of stand out presentations for me: the pencil puppet idea was simple yet effective (thank you @dominic_mcg), @islayian’s presentation on education in his neck of the woods was really enlightening and the fantastic (and fast paced!) presentation on esafety by pie man extraordinaire @simfin was really insightful! It also appeared that everyone was really enjoying themselves and getting involved in some interesting discussion, and that’s no bad thing.
Making connections with people is always important and the power of TeachMeet proves how necessary this is. Next week I’m going to enjoy a couple of TeachMeets from the warmth of my living room (mainly as they are to far away to get to – otherwise I’d be there) and I’m really looking forward to it. There already interesting sounding presentations listed on the wiki for both events (although, as they’re both on the same day I will take part in one and catch up on the other later). I’m really looking forward to catching Twitter’s latest television personality , Dawn Hallybone (she’s the teacher on the new Nintendo DS ads don’t you know) presenting at TMEssex (suitably enough on the use of gaming to engage pupils) and cannot wait to see what the marvellous Bill Lord has to say about books and literacy at TMX. So, even if you’re not in the vicinity of a TeachMeet, why not join in with the live streaming like I do – you’re sure to get some great ideas to use in your classroom!