In a very belated post, I want to talk about #tmbristol, which took place at the Grange School, Warmley, on November 10th.
Vital kindly sponsored the event, and Clare was very helpful when it came to publicising it to schools, and brought plenty of chocolates to munch on! We had about 15 people in attendance, plus another 15 or so popping in and out of the live feed, which worked well once we’d worked out how to switch the sound on 😉 Here is a link to the recording.
We had a wide variety of presentations on new techs in the classroom, from some very usable things I could do the next day, like using a Google form. to bigger projects, like Edmodo – which is definitely something I will be encouraging my year 11s to use with me for revision this year, especially if the snow keeps up.
We also had a good presentation from Julia Skinner on the power of commenting, which I really enjoyed. Julia, a retired primary head teacher, has made it her mission to stalk class blogs and make comments on them. This has made her very popular with pupils all over the country. It made me think of Sugata Mitra’s Granny Cloud (if you haven’t seen this talk, it is well worth 15 minutes of your life) and my own tutor group were thrilled when she left them a comment on some homework pictures we’d uploaded later that week.
Julia also wrote a good blog post about the event, much more quickly than me, which can be read here (Make her day and leave her a comment!)
On the theme of pupil motivation, Mark Anderson talked about how a flatscreen TV in the reception of his school, combined with blogs, had prompted a dramatic improvement, while Alessio Bernadelli, in an interesting Welsh-Italian hybrid accent, explained how he livestreamed pupil work. This also made me think about the Granny Cloud. With Westbury (the town where I work) putting in a bid for the high speed broadband from BT, perhaps we should recruit some interested vounteers from the community to watch pupil presentations online. Alessio has since launched a TV channel through Livestream.
There were several other excellent presentations, and I am slightly embarrassed that I did not keep a proper note of them at the time, relying instead on the backchannel discussion we kept up on Twitter, which appears to have disappeared into the Twitterverse. It made me smile a bit to watch all the teachers and other audience members tapping away on their smartphones or laptops throughout the presentations, discussing the content silently through Twitter; it was the exact opposite of what would be allowed in a classroom full of kids. Shame, really: the backchannel was one of my favourite parts. It has set me thinking about how I might achieve something similar at school, but that is a project for another term.
I really enjoyed my evening and couldn’t believe how fast it went. I am looking forward to the next one, whenever that might be. I hope that if you get the opportunity to attend and present a TeachMeet, you will go alog: they are only as strong as the people attending, and I feel very fortunate that we had such high quality presenters this time. It was also nice to catch up with Marie France, whose tutor group I shadowed for part of my PGCE: it’s a small world! Putting faces to Twitter names is another bonus. We also had excellent tech support from Mr Thorne, who looks after all things technical at the Grange.
By presenting on Google Maps at #tmbristol, I have now completed all three of the action points I set myself following Google Teacher Academy in July. So, now it must be time to set myself a new challenge, right?
Funny I should mention that. Watch this space!