Wow.What a night.
After the drama of losing 5 presenters in 3 days, the signup sheet breaking and losing 20people, worrying if anyone would show and if it would all work, we went and had the best night possible.
Let’s start with negatives, I forgot to press record on the live stream and…err…well…sometimes I left the second screen on the fruit machine instead of visible tweets…and that’s about it, everything else was amazing.
As mentioned before,we changed a few traditional TeachMeet elements and I know that some veterans will probably be offended or will have something to say, it doesn’t bother me. We had a great night. So what did we change?
At the start of the night we held a prize draw to show off and explain the fruit machine, everyone was offered a raffle ticket, we randomly picked a number and Titchfield Primary won a site license of Story Stage from Scholastic. Great start! Due to the wonderful support of our sponsors, we had numerous freebies to give away in our goody bags. Some of the sponsors wanted to set up areas to show their wares and tables were duly provided. This was not a sales pitch and none of them tried to make it one. If people wanted to talk to a sponsor, they went and spoke to them. I know that there were some reservations, but I think people will agree, the companies added to the night, rather than distracting from the teacher element.
One thing that I made the effort to do, and I would like to think I did it tastefully, was to describe the freebies within the goody bags. I was very aware that the goody bags could have gone home, gone into the cupboard and then never been looked at, (anyone still got their bag of stuff from BETT lying around?) So at various points throughout the night, I described what people were getting. This included E-books from Rising Stars, talking about how they could be used and then showing how to embed them into a VLE using the excellent embetit.in. I also described how Purple Mash could be used within the classroom as we were lucky enough to be given a 6month trial for it for everyone in atendance. I love Purple Mash, it’s great fun to use and it is going down really well with everyone, even if my tie looked awful! I also mentioned BrainPop and we watched as Tim and Moby talked about Mountains. Always informative and Moby got a few laughs too.
What else was different about #tmhants? Normally at TeachMeets, there is a core of people who are on Twitter and that have attended at TeachMeets before. Hampshire was different. Including presenters, less than 10 people had been to a TeachMeet before and I believe (but might be wrong) but I was the only one that had spoken at one. So we had a lot of new people, a lot of people that were eager to learn. I’ve been convincing people to attend while training on our VLE and many that came last night were people who have just taken over ICT or just wanted to find out a bit more beyond the world of PowerPoint, Logo and Dance Mat Typing.
I was very pleased with every element of the evening, from the venue and setup, to the visible tweets, the positive reaction and the live stream. The live stream was fantastic with around 20-35 people throughout. I was able to watch the comments on here and feed them back to the room. One was after the Scratch presentation when I shared that someone on the stream had said they’d used Scratch with KS1 when they went on a bear hunt. The room loved this idea and everyone duly noted it down.
One teacher said “I have no idea what half of the people were talking about, but it all looked very good. I’m going to go and try it and see if I can do it too”- This is perfect and exactly what TeachMeet is about. I have thanked the sponsors and we thanked people on the night, but I want to thank everyone publically. From the presenters, to my fellow organiser @gideonwilliams, to the attendees, to the people watching the stream, everyone was extremely positive and helped to make it an amazing evening. I can’t wait for the next one!
Check out some other blogs about the night:
@chrisrat – http://bit.ly/ddpqmc
@timdalton – http://bit.ly/97qNuV
@brainpop_uk – http://www.brainpop.co.uk/blog/2010/05/tmhants/
Part 2 – the presentations – is available here