This week, St Andrew’s College hosted the first TeachMeet event in Christchurch for 2016 and over 40 staff from 15 different schools attended. 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.
To help promote the event, I took to a new tool I’ve been using recently called Canva which allows you to very quickly and easily develop stylish posters, images and social media banners through their website:
One of the key reasons TeachMeets are successful is that presenters are limited to only 2minutes or 7minutes for their presentations. This results in a fast-paced event and a range of different ideas and solutions being shared. It also means that preparation for the volunteer presenters is kept at a minimum – it’s not onerous to share something you’re already doing in your classroom or researching to give a go.
From the slides above, you can see there were seven presenters who shared on the following topics:
- Wilj Dekkers (St Andrew’s College) Using MineCraft and OneNote for Creative Writing
- Tom Neumann (Riccarton High) Using an alphanumeric self marking video game in Moodle to review content of Yr11 Economics
- Sue McLachlan (Hagley College) Using OneNote Learning Tools in the classroom
- Tam Yuill Proctor (St Andrew’s College) Using OneNote as a Digital Teacher’s Planbook
- Karyn Gray (Haeta Community Campus) The Quest for Personalisation of Learning- My Thinking, My Research, My Questions
- Schira Withers (Our Lady Of The Star Of The Sea) How we as educators can help students with low working memories improve their self-management skills using digital technologies, thus allowing them to experience success and move from a fixed to growth mindset.
- Donna Jones (St Andrew’s College) Using a 3D app to inspire creative thought and ideas for creative writing.
When one of the presenters was unable to attend at the last minute, I added some thoughts on using Google Earth to create personalised tours to round out the afternoon.
A number of attendees contributed on the designated Twitter hashtag of #TMChch and you can see the entire timeline here with a small selection being:
The Importance Of Meeting & Sharing Together As Teachers:
During a brief introduction that I opened the TeachMeet with, I touched on the reasons why I felt sessions like this are valuable. Traditionally, many classroom teachers can be at risk of ending up with a very insular view of their teaching practice, rarely looking beyond the four walls of their classroom for new ideas or feedback. I am firmly of the view that just as we encourage our students to be global citizens, teachers need to network, mingle, exchange ideas and share their successes (and failures!) with one another.
For that reason, I was particularly delighted to see a number of student teachers from the University of Canterbury in attendance at the TeachMeet. What better way for them to learn how ongoing professional development for teachers can look, than attending a TeachMeet where teachers voluntarily share some of the best practice they are engaging in from a wide range of year levels and schools across Christchurch. I exhorted the student teachers to consider presenting at the next TeachMeet in Term 3 and sharing a student teacher view of education and schools – this would be refreshing for most teachers I would imagine.
At this stage, I anticipate hosting a termly TeachMeet at St Andrew’s College and look forward to participating and contributing to these educational events – thanks once again to the volunteer presenters and attendees.