Monday, 31 January 2011

Teachmeet Cheshire

After having read about Teachmeets on Twitter for the last few years I was excited to find that one would be held just around the corner from school. It meant that for the first time I would be able to see first hand what teachers get so excited about, and I'm so glad I did - it was fantastic!

It was organised by Jan Webb who described a Teachmeet as 'CPD on speed' which I thought summed up the idea very well. There were a number of brave volunteers who offered to share their classroom experiences and around 60 people who came along to learn from each other.

I made notes on my iPhone using an app called Catch.

The Teachmeet was organised using the wiki and Twitter using the hashtag #tmchesh.
Here is a record of the ideas that inspired me most:

Kevin Rendall shared Voicethread:

I had dabbled with Voicethread around a year ago and seeing the way that Kevin had used it to collaborate with pupils in a local primary school has inspired me to use it again. Over the next few weeks I am planning to use it for assessment in French and possibly for a piece of English homework too.

Bev Evans talked 'virtually' about Learning Logs
I was really pleased that not everything shared was technology based. Bev Evans shared her schools way of inspiring children through an exciting homework project where any media can be used to create a mini-project for a given topic. It looked fantastic. Our homework system seems to be working at the moment, but this would be the way I would go if we get the chance to change.
Jan shared various online resources during the evening including:

Helen Morgan described how she used PowerPoint with her students to create movies. They were certainly amazing, but I think this could be a bit advanced for my Year Threes (at the moment!!)
Jan shared a few great-looking PowerPoint plug-ins:

  • PowerPoint Plex which gives you the power to zoom in and out of slide sections and move directly between slides that are not sequential in your presentation. PowerPoints could be far more interesting if we used this! You can also embed documents.
  • I noticed that the computer used on the evening had a Community Clips plug-in - this looks handy for recording screencasts.
  • Mouse Mischief is a plug-in which allows several mice to be used to work on the same PowerPoint at the same time! Fun!
Zoe Ross shared Photosynth. This is a tool that I have heard about, but Zoe made it look so easy to use. This could be great for creating an online tour of the school. You take loads of pictures of the same thing from different views, and Photosynth matches them up so that you can zoom in and out and explore the picture. She also showed some new tools in Google Earth, including the sky view, which would be interesting for our Year Fives to use.
I will also be sharing the random name picker with our staff. This was used throughout the evening to pick the speakers.

David Rogers shared (virually) the Place Creators project which saw the school council heavily involved in the re-design of an area of the school. I really want to steer our school council into being involved in this.
It was great to meet 'blogging evangelist' David Mitchell, albeit briefly, as I've enjoyed reading his tweets over the last year or so. He talked about the staggering effects that blogging has had on the standard of writing in his Year Six classes, particularly in boys. This is definitely something that we are going to encourage in our school. At the moment we have class blogs, but sharing writing this way is not something we have tried. One of his pupils also have a virtual presentation, but I can't find the YouTube link anywhere, but sharing his thoughts on how it has affected him would inspire any teacher! I also spotted. I also spotted David using 3x3 links - something which looks really useful!

In her second presentation, Helen Morgan shared which could be used as an alternative to Wallwisher. It has real potential! She gave a great line which I will use to justify using technology in class: "Just because ICT sometimes goes down is not an excuse to not use it. Sometimes my chalk breaks, but I still use it." Very true!

In the final virtual presentation of the evening, Kevin McLaughlin shared some great tools for making music. This is something that I will be looking into over the next few months, so I look forward to using some of the links he has added to

I believe that plans are already afoot for the next #tmchesh and I hope to attend and be inspired once again!

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