Earlier this year I had the privilege of attending my first ever TeachMeet and it just so happened to be in Melbourne at Ivanhoe Grammar School. If you’re unsure of what a TeachMeet actually is, you can find more at the website http://www.teachmeet.co.nz but in short:
A TeachMeet is an organised but informal meeting (in the style of an unconference) for teachers to share good practice, practical innovations and personal insights in teaching with technology.
Participants volunteer (via the TeachMeet website) to demonstrate good practice they’ve delivered over the past year, or discuss a product that enhances classroom practice.
With the themes of this year’s Christchurch Educators Month being “connect, innovate and collaborate” I felt that a summary blog on how TeachMeet Christchurch has gone would be appropriate.
I recognised that teachers are very busy people and wanted to keep the commitment levels to TeachMeet pretty low – a once per term meeting that ran for no more than 90mins and in true keeping with the spirit of TeachMeets, each presentation could be no longer than 7 minutes. To facilitate the launch I arranged to host first two sessions at St Andrew’s College where I was confident I could drum up some speakers and also a crowd of listeners and then used an open Google Doc for people to register. You can see the topics and attendees for TeachMeet 0.1 and TeachMeet 0.2.
I was delighted with the turnout for these events and the quality of the presentations from the speakers. Many shared something from a technology / eLearning perspective however the format allows for any educational topic to be shared. Importantly, and in keeping with the theme of connecting, the events were split in half to allow a time for networking with other teachers over a coffee.
As always at events like this, there was good sharing on Twitter of what was being presented via the hashtag #TMChch and you can see a twitter recap for TeachMeet 0.1 and TeachMeet 0.2
I am pleased that Jeremy Cumming (former teacher at Catholic Cathedral College and now working for the Catholic Education Office) asked to pick up the organisation and hosting of TeachMeet 0.3 that will run on 17th November and be hosted at Villa Maria College. This represents a natural progression and maturing of TeachMeet by sharing the hosting and co-ordinating responsibilities amongst teachers and schools which will naturally shape the themes and focus of each session. Ultimately, this is key for the ongoing success of TeachMeet – to be sustainable there needs to be collective responsibilities and a desire amongst teachers to want to connect with each other and share best practice from their classroom, things they are experimenting with, or research they are undertaking in post-graduate studies.
When teachers maintain a mind-set of being lifelong learners then I believe a natural outworking of this is wanting to connect at various sessions like TeachMeet and others that are routinely organised by the teaching community in wider Canterbury.
If you have never been to a TeachMeet before, can I encourage you to consider signing up at www.teachmeet.co.nz for TeachMeet 0.3 which will be the last for 2016, but hopefully just one in a long line of many more where teachers can remain connected.
By Sam McNeill
(Sam is the Director of ICT at St Andrew’s College and blogs regularly about technology and innovation at http://eblog.stac.school.nz)