Hosting a #TMWA Event – TeachMeet WA

TeachMeetWA

Host Pack

Contents

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Welcome

Hosting a TeachMeet: Location

Hosting a TeachMeet: Content and focus

Hosting a TeachMeet: Providing for your participants

Hosting a TeachMeet: Advertising

Hosting a TeachMeet: Timing

TMWA & AITSL Australian Professional Standards for Teachers

My Standards App

Certificates

Hosting a TeachMeet: Checklist

TMWA logo 2
TMWA logo 2

Welcome

Thank you!

You don’t normally read that at the beginning of a document, but it’s probably the most important thing you’ll need to hear as a Host of TeachMeets! Your participants, your colleagues and, most importantly, your students will reap the benefits of your efforts in hosting a TeachMeet at your school or in your local area.

TeachMeets are gatherings of professional educators who wish to share, support and inspire each other to provide engaging learning experiences for our students. They usually run for two-three hours if held after a school day, or can be as long or short as you like according to your circumstances.

We hope by reading this Host Pack you will get a better understanding of the ideas and issues you might like to consider when planning your TeachMeet. Remember: there is no set plan or specific “rules” about hosting a TeachMeet! Make yours what you want it to be!

Please don’t hesitate to contact a previous Host for your region and/or one of the TM Support crew. It’s a collegial effort to organise and run a TeachMeet – you are not alone! Good luck!

The TeachMeeWA Team (which now includes you!)

Hosting a TeachMeet: Location

Everyone who has access to a room with a projector (or even without!) can run a TeachMeet. Essentially, schools that approve the use of a classroom, meeting room, library area or other appropriate space that can hold up to (and possibly more than) 50 people are welcome to host. You could also host in a pub, local space or wherever you can get people together for a chat. Remember that there should be an interesting, welcoming environment in which to share.

Ewan McIntosh, the brain behind teachmeets in Scotland, suggests having a ‘social object’ which brings people together. This can be a beer, food, whatever gets people talking!

You should work with the TMWA Support Crew to find out which region your school fits best into. The idea is that any attendee is no more than 30 minutes from their workplace or their home when engaged in a TeachMeet in their regions.

Make sure that you provide signage around the venue so that attendees can find their way to you easily. You may like to publish these instructions on the advertising for your TeachMeet. We can help you design and publish this information.

Most attendees will drive to your location unless you suggest they don’t, so it is important to indicate where visitors are allowed to park or ways to get to your location via public transport.

A good idea is to use a Google Map embedded in your advertising to help attendees see where it’s being held.

Hosting a TeachMeet: Content and Focus

Through the Facebook group, members will often suggest topics or post options by which other members can make a selection for their preferred area of discussion. Again, this does not dictate the nature of your TeachMeet by any means, but it might help you when potential presenters offer their services so that there is some kind of central idea to the TeachMeet as a whole. Topics are broad and allow for flexibility of approach and focus by presenters.

Think about the strengths of your own practice. What ideas do you love to discuss? Is there a particular area of teaching and learning in which your school considers itself a leader? Do you have contacts with educators (and even students) who are brimming with ideas and keen to share them?

By giving presenters and attendees a broad focus, it allows everybody to target their energies in a collaborative and constructive manner. Some of the best TeachMeets have had presentations that mix pedagogical thought, educational theory and practical ideas to great effect.

If TeachMeet WA has not proposed a theme for the term, why not suggest one yourself?

And, for those courageous enough, why even have a theme? Invite people to come and share ideas over a coffee or a meal and see where the conversation goes.

Hosting a TeachMeet: Providing for your participants

Although it is meant to be an informal event, TeachMeets do work best when you provide a few key features to make the evening run smoothly. Anything to increase the conversation is welcome and here are a few ideas you might like to consider:

Nametags: Very handy. Name, School, Twitter handle or some other identifying feature will be useful so that participants can network effectively.

Gifts for speakers: Not essential, but a nice touch. Gifts can include small showbags, books and vouchers, remember it is a free event so it may not always be possible to give the gifts. Ask TMWA Support Crew to send you the template of certificates for presenters.

Food and drink: Two options here – you can either ask participants to come armed with a plate of food or a pack of biscuits or you can have your school provide all refreshments. Participants don’t expect a luxurious spread, but as we all know, a full stomach makes for happy teacher. Consider having fruit, biscuits or easily reheatable food. Drinks could be anything but water, tea and coffee are essentials. Participants are often encouraged to get up and get refreshments during presentations as well as allocated breaks.

Information: The more information you can provide about date/time/location the better. You might like to use the template provided to distribute a letter or poster to your colleague and professional learning network.

Live Broadcasts: We have successfully broadcast and recorded live events via uStream, Google Hangouts on Air, Skype etc for teachers in more remote areas and are unable to attend the face to face sessions. TeachMeetWA also has a YouTube Channel. Talk to your IT person or ask the TM Support team for logistical details.

WiFi access: Most participants will want to broadcast their experience through Twitter or access websites and other information that is referred to during the TeachMeet. Help them out by organising WiFi guest access in your school or make it clear during advertising that WiFi will not be available.

Music: You may like to have some music playing before the event and also during breaks. It adds to the atmosphere and can help focus attention as breaks are coming to an end.

Hosting a TeachMeet: Advertising

Your role as Host is to get the advertising ball rolling. If you are a whiz at publishing already, pull out all the stops to make a flyer that can be easily emailed and/or printed and put into pigeonholes of busy teachers but still catch their eye! We have been using Eventbrite for registrations and Smore online flyers besides paper ones. TMWA Support Team can give you passwords to the exisiting accounts and you can design your own or the team can help you.

Milk every contact you have to spread the word and spread it far, wide and often. Busy people will say “yes” to support you but get them to write it in their planners and actually sign up before you count them in! Tapping people on the shoulder is often more effective than yet another email in an inbox.

Use the TeachMeet website (www.teachmeet.net) and the TMWA website (www.teachmeetwa.com.au) to publicise. Use previously held teachmeet advertising examples as templates for your own. Once you’ve done this, you can use the link in emails, Twitter, Facebook or whatever other electronic means of communication you have at your disposal!

When communicating about an event for TeachMeet via Twitter, use the #TMWA hashtag if it is one supported by our network or some other form of #teachmeet related hashtag to keep the conversation – and interest – going for teachmeets!

Our Facebook group, https://www.facebook.com/groups/TeachMeetWA/ is a quick and easy way to share your event details. Remember to ask people to advertise at their staff briefings/meetings and through posters, pamphlets or emails if you have them available. Make it as easy as possible for people to pass the word on about your event.

Hosting a TeachMeet: Timing

In the two-three hours you have, there are several combinations of timing and order that you may choose to use. A basic outline is below:

4pm – participants begin to arrive

4.30pm – Introduction by the Host (that’s you!)

4.35pm – Presentations (3x 7 min + 2x 2 min)

5pm – Break (discussion and refreshments)

5.30pm – Presentations (3x 7 min + 2x 2 min)

5.55pm – Break (discussion and refreshments)

6.30pm – Official close of TeachMeet & thanks from Host

7pm – final participants leave

Please note that this is just one format of many. You will find that the logistics of each presentation may increase the time required by the presenter, thus the time for final break and/or official close of the TeachMeet may be reduced or changed depending on the type or style of the teachmeet (or the number of presenters!)

Based on experience of several hosts, you need to think about adding at least 1 minute per presentation for the presenters to introduce themselves, upload presentations, technical glitches etc.

It’s tempting to reduce the discussion breaks to fit more speakers in, but those breaks are essential for networking and sharing ideas.

TMWA & AITSL Australian Professional Standards for Teachers

Encourage presenters to inform you beforehand about what standards will be covered in their presentation.

http://www.aitsl.edu.au/australian-professional-standards-for-teachers/standards/overview/organisation-of-the-standards

TMWA & AITSL My Standards App

Encourage everyone to download My Standards App and record their PL.

http://www.aitsl.edu.au/australian-professional-standards-for-teachers/my-standards-application 

TMWA & Certificates

There is no need to provide certificates unless you want to, ask attendees to keep their ticket as proof and use My Standards App to record their PL. Attendees can keep their notes or tweets etc as evidence of attendance.

Hosting a TeachMeet: Checklist

  • Contact TM Support to discuss the event

  • Confirmation of date with venue and TM Support Crew

  • Book the venue & equipment

  • Create an event using EventBrite or similar

  • Design a poster .jpg to share easily (Smore for online sharing)

  • Advertise through TeachMeetWA website, Facebook, Twitter, school email, poster and/or newsletters

  • Discuss presentation ideas with colleagues

  • Advertise for presenters.

  • Optional – update website with bios and brief information about the sessions and can be used to introduce speakers and twitter handles of presenters

  • Organise food & refreshments (from school or participants)

  • Organise a bucket of soft toys to throw at presenters who run overtime

  • Give someone the task of being the timekeeper

  • Start with a brief overview of what TeachMeets are and the Pecha Kucha style presentations
  • Inform everyone about keeping their ticket as evidence and reiterate Teacher Standards being met and inform them about My Standards App
  • TeachMeet  – Sit back and enjoy

Note: The original Host Pack was shared by Matt Esterman, TeachMeet Sydney, and has been slightly modified to meet the needs of TMWA.

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Birth of TMWA

August 2013.

Back to Perth…

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I came back to Perth  highly motivated to launch the successful TeachMeet Sydney model here. I needed to gather my forces.

Once again I used twitter to extend an invitation to other WA educators to join me at Bar 5 in Mt Lawley on the 3rd Aug to discuss the launch of TeachMeetWA. I made sure there was one confirmed attendee, Drew Mayhills, as I didn’t want to be at a bar drinking by myself. To my relief several responded and turned up, some educators, others education and media consultants. Drew Mayhills (@drewmayhills) , Ryan Powles (@hecpowles), Gabriella Trinca (@gabrielletrinca), Tamara Doig (@miss_d), Neil Spence (@neilcspence). Dianne Righby(@diperthwa), Sue Waters (@suewaters), Luke Skinner (@troutish), Leith Daniels (@leithned) and Rebecca Michaelson (@rebeccamichael4) formed the initial foundation team. There were others who sent apologies and would join us at the other meetings.3 aug teachmeetcrew

3rd of Aug was a productive day, TeachMeet WA formed its own identity. We became @WAPLN (West Australian Professional Learning Network) and from this day forward we were going to use our own hashtag #TMWA. We had a few pale ales and ciders and discussed dates, venues, presenters, formats etc as if we were planning a friends 21st.


TMWA 22Aug MinutesThe venue, Institute for Professional Learning, gave us the all clear and it was finalized that the inaugural Teachmeet was to be held on Wednesday the 4th of September 2013. We also decided to organize an after party, a dinner at a restaurant closeby so everyone could connect and continue the conversations about teaching and learning.t. Later, Tamara Doig documented the minutes of our first meeting in an infographic.

Now the work began.

We used EventBrite for our event registrations. Took less than twenty minutes to set it up.  It’s free, and easy to use, does most of the administrative work for you. Love it! TeachmeetWA wiki set up by Matt Esterman for us needed to be updated. The TeachMeetWA FaceBook page was created and shared.

A formal invitation to the event was sent out to the Principals introducing TeachMeetWA through our own networks and channels. (CopyofTeachMeet4SeptEmailTeachers).

We asked for presenters and many within the committee were happy to share and they brought others along. Our hashtag #TMWA was becoming known and @WAPLN grew overnight and is attracting many followers. We didn’t have to do much at this stage other than promote it on twitter and our twitter PLN tweeted it to others.

Two weeks after our initial meeting we met once again to finalise  venue details and later dined at the lovely Kitsch Tapas bar in Leederville.

22-Aug-team

We were anticipating approximately 30 attendees and the registrations surprised us. He had SOLD OUT! The venue’s was at full capacity at 80 within two weeks of the event being promoted, people on the waiting list and I was getting emails requesting me to let them come along.

I am really excited yet nervous at the same time, spending hours wondering what I had missed.  And then I reassure myself, there is nothing better than teachers talking to teachers sharing good practice. It is the most releant PD they will get.  We had extremely competent teachers presenting. The jobs had been delegated and everyone was extremely helpful.

We had also planned to include our isolated teachers in the rural areas as the event was going to be recorded and then uploaded to TMWA YouTube Channel. We decided to broadcast it live via UStream for all those who could not attend.

All we had to do now was wait for the day to arrive.

Dreaming TeachMeetWA

30.8.2013

TeachMeetWA
The journey so far…

Back in June I posted “Be the change you want to see” and asked my PLN on Twitter to join me in forming part of the foundation committee that kicks off TeachMeets in WA.
There was an encouraging response from my WAPLN and so much support and encouragement available from our colleagues over nationally and internationally.

After a couple of informal chats, phone calls, emails and mostly tweets from eager educators I had a clearer vision and understanding of what educators needed TMWA to be, at least for now.

I was still thinking about where to from here. July holidays rolled along with our eagerly anticipated five days trip to Sydney. We were going to enjoy Sydney as tourists and watch our favourtie team Manchester United play Sydney All Stars. I managed to convince my husband that it was important for him to spend some holiday one-on-one time with Mr 11 and I was able to take time-out to pursue some of my own interests of which shoe shopping was on top of the list. I couldn’t pass up this great opportunity to connect with people in Sydney who had encouraged and inspired me and had been part of my PLN since 2012.

johngoh

I caught up with a friend, John Goh, who I’d met as part of the Microsoft Partners in Learning Innovative Pilot Schools program in 2012. His provocative questions disturb, challenge and, inspire us all to find the courage to do things we believe in. He is also the man who introduced me to Twitter at a gala dinner over a few too many wines and taught me about hashtags, followers, trending, and getting a message across in 140 charaters, a completely new language.

A team of us at my workplace had been investigating contemporary, flexible learning spaces forIMG_6090 some time. I have finally ordered some awesome furniture from Furnware. I was over the moon when Steve Collis said he was able to take me on a tour of SCiL. He was most insightful and inspirstional. I felt like I was being given the royal treatment by Steve. i am very grateful to him for spending time with me and not making fun of my kid in a candy store behaviour. Honestly, if you ever get a chance to visit SCilL do not miss the opportunity.

Sydney is also home to the Partners in Learning Project Manager, Richard Ryan, who had extended an invitation to visit  Sydney Microsoft Office to have a sticky beak at the concept of the collaborative workspaces. I decided to take him up on his offer and I am glad I did. If those are the physical, virtual spaces our students are going to be working in then we need to rethink the learning spaces within the schools environments. Students need to claim the spaces they need for different kinds of learning and not be bound to desks and chairs.

The most anticipated meeting was with the famous bearded man, possibly every hipster’s envy. Matt Estermamattn, the TeachMeet guru and I had been chatting via Twitter for a while and I needed more than 140 characters, I needed to hear it warts and all, I needed the dirt on TMs. His main advise was to just go ahead and do it, he talked me through the process of setting up and running TMs and he made it sound so simple. There was no reason not to do it. 

I have come home really inspired to make it happen.

TeachMeetWA

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BE THE CHANGE YOU WANT TO SEE IN THE WORLD

Through my professional learning network I came across these excellent free professional learning opportunities run by teachers for teachers all across the country called TEACHMEETS. After hearing about how successful and valuable these are from our colleagues over East, I went searching for WA TeachMeets. To my disappointment, my research was unproductive but I still loved the idea. Therefore, after speaking to a few keen beans we have taken on the challenge of getting this initiative off the ground here in WA. It is a completely voluntary, not-for-profit, non-commercial, solely for teachers, by teachers style professional learning where teachers simply share good practice.

AITSL has provided a grant to TeachMeet Sydney to investigate the reach and impact of TeachMeets as a form of professional learning. http://mesterman.wordpress.com/2013/06/16/is-it-even-worth-it/

WHAT IS A TEACHMEET I HEAR YOU ASK…

As explained on the http://www.teachmeet.net/

TeachMeets will be meeting/un-conferences where teachers will share good practice, practical ideas and personal insights into teaching with technology.
All participants are encouraged to be ready to volunteer an idea, a tool or a website that they have delivered in their classroom.
Alternatively they can discuss a product that they believe enhances their classroom practice.
New scheme teachers are encouraged to attend and learn.
The idea behind TeachMeets is hearing stories about learning, from teachers.
This is a chance for teachers from all types of schools to network and to hear ideas from each other.
TeachMeets are open to all and do not charge an entry fee.
I am seeking to form a committee of motivated and committed WA educators who have a passion for 21c learning and are willing to be part of the change.

I WANT YOU!

Please contact me if you are interested.

Regards,

Bhavneet Singh