- Some who say they are coming won't turn up and others will appear unannounced! Providing the two groups balance each other, then no problem.
- Try to keep people to the five to seven minute micro-presentation time limit - all the presentations over-ran and the event ended about 20 minutes later than billed.
- Think about ways of getting more interaction - presentations followed by Q & A worked OK, but discussion was quite limited. Similarly, opportunities for online feedback were set up, but more time needs to be devoted to how to connect and contribute. Probably the biggest flaw, however, was the lack of opportunity for nano-presentations by audience members - the TeachMeet concept is built on the idea of informality and spontaneity and our event didn't have much of that!
- The mix of presentations, in terms of technical skills and platforms used was a strength of the TeachMeet. This was 'accidental', however, and next time more thought needs to be given to the order of presentations to make for a balanced experience.
- An open event, such as a TeachMeet, always runs the risk of takeover by people with 'axes to grind' or personal or commercial agendas. This did not happen last week, but must be a consideration for any future events. Sponsorship, for example, would be useful, but needs to be handled with care!
After a couple of days' reflection, our first TeachMeet seems to have been a positive experience for all concerned! Some really supportive comments were posted during the event and afterwards. There appears to be general agreement that the presenters and their ideas were inspiring. The turnout was OK with a good mix of teachers, students and others. So, what have I learned?
Tony Pickford is a tutor and writer on primary education.