Teachmeet Bolton

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To a backdrop of steady rain, punctuated by the pop and whizz of the occasional firework, there assembled a hall full of passionate, excited educators. This was Heathfield CPS (home of @deputymitchell) and this was Teachmeet Bolton.

If readers are unsure about what is meant by a Teachmeet, this brief video clip may help.

As someone helping out with the Teachmeet, and someone who is a self-confessed ‘Teachmeetaholic’, I had hoped that it would include some additional features indicative of its evolution. As I said by way of introduction to the event, Teachmeets I have attended/organized have traditionally been a little ‘Web 1.0‘ for my liking. By this I mean that there has often been an over-emphasis on the one-way flow of information from presenter to recipients. Not that this, in itself, is a bad thing – but I would like things to become a little more Web 2.0 (collaborative, mashed-up, two-way, constructivist) and I’d like to think we succeeded to a certain extent.

  • I asked that attendees (both local and remote) think about the ideas presented and, more than that, to consider how they might adapt the idea or tool and use it in a way not explicitly described by the presenter. Not only this, but they were to tweet these ‘extended’ ideas via the #tmbolton hashtag. It was great to see some original interpretations and additional uses for tools that had been showcased.
  • I encouraged people to engage in discussion about the presentations in the inevitable ‘gaps’ in between them. I’ve often thought these gaps that occur whilst one presenter finishes and another sets up are lost opportunities for conversation and creative discussion. I tried to facilitate this by summarizing and encouraging table-discussions. what is the safest online gambling sites
  • It was fabulous to know that not only was the event being beamed remotely and live (thanks to Ian Mills’ technical support) to numerous locations worldwide, but also that we were joined by a room full of trainee teachers from Plymouth University (organized by Oliver Quinlan and Pete Yeomans). This was another exciting feature of the whole experience and twice we did a ‘Eurovision’-style live cross-over to Plymouth for a Q&A session with a couple of the students and also for a brief presentation by Oliver (which sadly suffered some Teachmeet gremlins and was let down by some technical glitches).

There was one other very important feature of Teachmeet Bolton – the absence of any sponsorship. I think it was great that such an event could take place and be such a success with nothing more than a £2 contribution by those attending in person and that £2 was a contribution towards the refreshments and pastie & pea supper. I have been to too many Teachmeets recently where the prensence of sponsors has been disproportionately apparent (but that is another blogpost altogether).

On to the presentations! Brief highlights follow – I hope I haven’t forgotten anyone – it was hard to keep track, drink in the atmosphere, tweet, absorb all the information and try to do a ‘DJ’ job!

    • Ian Mills shared his experiences of using The Xbox Kinect in secondary school classrooms. Exciting, engaging games-based learning.
    • Chris Mayoh’s presentation “How to get a job. (If you’re 10)” described the process undergone by his ‘Digital Leader’ applicants as the 10 year olds were subject to interviews, application forms etc in the hopes of getting just 7 coveted jobs. Fabulous, real-life skills demonstrated and nurtured. One of the applicants said in her interview, “Share your ideas with people, they’ll get really good at it and share their ideas with other people too.” What Teachmeet is all about, too!

Digital Leaders Interviews from Chris Mayoh

  • I loved Marie O’Sullivan’s presentation as she engaged the audience in a collaborative learning activity that was our opportunity to experience a great classroom idea from the point of view of the learner – and have our self-esteem raised at the same time!
  • John Sutton then described a fantastic live blogging project: ‘Monopoly Challenge’ featuring tools such as ipadio and flickit. We were all amazing! roulette uk
  • Julian Wood, the ‘airbomb-repeater’ of the Teachmeet world was next. I sat back in awe as ideas and tools were fired into the room. Check out the full list of brilliant ‘generators’ here. Seriously, for each of the many, many tools Julian shared there are days of learning to be had. top 10 casino canada
  • Another Teachmeet regular, Simon Haughton gave us an expert tour of Edmodo which is being used very effectively by Simon and others as a collaborative vehicle for learning. real money virtual games
  • We then had a brief look at Coveritlive with David Mitchell – a fantastic tool for live, embeddable, collaborative learning (in this case creative writing) based upon a stimulus. Pie Corbett was to join the session later. It was Nabeel, however, who provided the entertainment! Follow it here. virtual roulette wheel download
  • Diana Wyatt shared Linoit – a live, virtual post-it note wall with an App too. (one of my favourite tools).
  • Pete Richardson was unable to join us in person but sent a virtual presentation of fantastic gaming tool ‘Zondle’. He shared great applications of its use to support phonics amongst other things but also offered to ‘friend’ anyone and give them his ideas and resources away for nowt! (That’s the spirit of Teachmeet). Read his blog here.
  • Next up was Jim Maloney. Jim told us he’d ditched his planned presentation. He summarised the main themes that had emerged from the evening. I’ve forgotten them now but guess they were: creativity, collaboration, enjoyment, learner-centric etc. He then described a day that he held with his Y5 class (inspired I think by Kevin McLaughlin and Oliver Quinlan) on which they planned their own, independent learning activities. I cannot do justice to Jim’s presentation here. He is engaging, passionate educator who had us in no doubt of the power of child-centered learning and the sage-on-the-side role for teacher. Read more on Jim’s blog.
  • Pete Rafferty took us on a sentimental journey back 6 years to his setting out with children as bloggers. How far we have come and what a difference Pete has had on hundreds of young people through introducing them to blogging.
  • Frances Smith did a great thing. She described how she had taken two separate ideas from a previous Teachmeet and had mashed them into one classroom activity involving Youblisher to publish children’s writing. real money casino app for iphone
  • Jane Fisher shared her wonderful ‘Super School’ site.
  • We finished with David Mitchell sharing his ‘Well Done’ blog. A site guaranteed to elicit a tear of joy in the eye of even the most hardened cynic.

I am a great believer in much of the important learning and networking taking place in the ‘gaps’ (as I said above) and so, true to my word, I endeavoured to meet some brand new people at the half-time break as well as catch up with some old friends.

For me, Teachmeet Bolton was one of the most stimulating, enjoyable, enriching learning experiences I’ve had. And this on a wet Friday evening too!

Some further reading:
Simon Haughton’s reflections
Marie O’Sullivan’s post
Jane Fisher (1)
Jane Fisher (2)
Matt Pearson’s blog

2 thoughts on “Teachmeet Bolton

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