Last Wednesday was the Celebrating / Sharing Success E-Learning Conference. For me it was a day bookended by a meeting with a Headteacher in a primary school, and a brief after-school INSET session in a secondary school. In between, 60 or so people met at the Teaching & Learning Centre in Aylesbury for a couple of hours to hear about 16 of their number share what they had been doing with all sorts of E-Learning. Being Buckinghamshire, this was very much a Moodle-centric event, with a couple of presentations about use of the Adobe Connect service which is available to all schools on the BucksGfL.
"It was great fun and very interesting. There were so many ideas and I came away wanting to try so many..."The presenters were a mixture of teachers and commercial companies, and what was enlightening for me was that most of the commercial presenters struggled to fit into the brief time slot - some completely ignored the focus of the conference and just talked about their product. I thought I had a plan for this, and at the start told the room that if they thought someone was doing a sales pitch and not talking about classroom practice then they should raise their hand - and if we got more than a half a dozen hands then I'd ask the presenter to immediately talk about classroom practice or stop (please). However, this only started to happen once - when one of my team raised her hand (thanks Pat!). I think most people in that situation understandably don't have the confidence to question what they're being told from the front, so it didn't really happen. However, I think it might be something which would work at a TeachMeet (more about that later). One of the commercial presenters said that they found it really hard to not do a sales pitch while talking, which tells you a lot.
"It was very informative and having the chance to talk to other people that do the same thing as me was brilliant."
"...thanks for a very enlightening conference today. It makes me want to get much more involved with Moodle."
"...I found it really valuable and interesting..."
As you'd imagine, those who attended would probably get a lot from a TeachMeet, so this is probably a good place to mention that the wiki page for the BETT 2009 TeachMeet is now available. If you are going to BETT, why not go on the Friday and round the day off with some of the best (free) CPD you're likely to get? If you'd like to go, or like to help, then you can sign up (instructions are on the page), or take a look at the previous BETT TeachMeet.