So you want to hold a TeachMeet event?
I’ve organised two events and whilst I’m not old hat at this, I certainly learnt from chatting with, observing and discussing how to run events with other organisers from around the UK and beyond. Recently a number of people have asked me about what a TeachMeet is and how to best go about organising one, so I thought I’d write this blog post as a point of reference.
As with all good promotion too – the next TeachMeet I am organising is #tmclevedon at Clevedon School, North Somerset on 20 October 2011.
The common definition of a TeachMeet can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TeachMeet where it states:
“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. These events are often organised to coincide with other educational events like the Scottish Learning Festival and the British Educational Technology and Training Show BETT.
TeachMeet events are open to all and do not charge an entry fee.”
Certainly, I would subscribe to that definition of a TeachMeet but certainly, there is no restriction on it being limited by teaching with technology, although to be fair, many TeachMeets do and I would also say that no two TeachMeets are ever the same.
For those that don’t know, a TeachMeet is an event where educators get together to meet and share their very best practice. This is often done through micro (7 minutes max) and nano (3 minutes max) presentations.
The essential ingredients I have found to get a good TeachMeet are:
1. The first rule of TeachMeet is TALK ABOUT TEACHMEET!
2. Get good speakers and find a good venue – anticipate numbers of delegates and book a location suitable for their needs. A massive hall might be nice, but if you can’t fill it, the speakers won’t feel too good. By the same token, a room that is full up isn’t going to be suitable as a venue either. Plan!
3. Have a good compere who ‘knows’ the speakers who can introduce them while they get set up
4. Don’t be too hung up on timings, but certainly don’t let people hog the stage
5. Get some sponsorship – despite these being brilliant events, teachers give up their spare time to attend TeachMeets and an incentive always help
6. Intersperse the event with time to network
7. Offer food and drink – most events are in the evening and delegates will appreciate this
8. Promote the event relentlessly on Twitter, email and posters in Staff rooms of local schools
9. Get sponsors to pay for food / drink / promotion
10.Give the event a ‘hook’ that will inspire delegates to attend but not limit speakers
11.Network your local area to spread the word in non-regular methods, such as Word of Mouth
12.Get help – you can’t do it all yourself
13.Use the Classtools random name generator to pick speakers
14.Use the Twitter back channel and give the event a good hashtag prior to the event, e.g. #tmclevedon #tmbett #tmm11
15.Show at intervals during the night what people are Tweeting about the event – this will help draw live feedback about the event and could promote discussion
16.Prepare the tech beforehand – have a decent machine for people to demonstrate via, decent projector, decent sound / mics if needed
17.Have a wireless feed handy so delegates can tweet / blog, live from the event
18.Stream the event via a service such as Webex so that people who cannot attend for reasons such as Geography, can
19.Ask previous delegates to speak AND bring a friend
20.Take time out as organiser to enjoy the night yourself – don’t put too much pressure on yourself; it’s good to talk if you want to, but don’t feel like you have to
21.Follow up the event by saving the Twitter hashtag feed from the event and blogging it yourself as a record of what delegates have said about the event.
22.I would also say, make the very best use of the TeachMeet wiki to let people know what is happening at the event, what the rules are, show who is sponsoring the event, what to expect, so forth and so on. For great examples, just check the TeachMeet wiki and check some of the events that are already up there. A Google Map on there to help people find the location of the event (as well as the postcode for the location) is always VERY helpful too! Once you’ve created your Wiki page – get it promoted on Facebook too – visit this address and fill in the form: https://spreadsheets.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dHBkLXg3cVVnTThnLXItYXJJdVRSRUE6MQ – thank you to @OliverQuinlan who does this to help everyone in his own time. Check his blog here.
This certainly isn’t an exhaustive list and please feel free to add comment / extras on the end, I am very happy to update this post with more thoughts.