During the week of BETT it felt like something was looming over me.
I had presentations to do on the Adobe stand which could be subject to the usual show problems of lost internet connection, there was the usual challenges which face any BETT visitor or exhibitor - finding satisfying food for less than a tenner for each meal, finding somewhere to sit (other than the floor), and finding a food vendor where the staff could operate the coffee machine (for me, Crussh was the answer to the last problem). However, these were all surmountable. Then it hit me: like a fool, I'd become involved with the organisation of TeachMeet, the highlight of BETT 2008 for me (and many others) and one which was anticipated to grow for BETT 2009.
Well, the headline from TeachMeet was fairly simple: it happened (and - I think - no-one got hurt).
I've been reflecting on it a lot over the past few weeks, and have lots of positive things which I think came from it - and quite a few negatives too. So here are some...
- +ve - we nearly filled the room! The Apex Room at Olympia has a capacity of 250 for an event like TeachMeet and, combining the numbers of organisers/helpers, presenters and enthusiastic lurkers, we just about reached that number. Not bad for something for which people signed up for themselves and no paperwork was sent out.
- -ve - not enough classroom practice. Tom Barrett's open comment of his presentation about there not being enough classroom practice so far in the evening was spot on. Aside from one sales pitch, there were a few abstract ideas, a bit of research and some other things which didn't quite reach the door of the classroom. I think that research etc. can fit in to a brief TeachMeet-style presentation, but only if it's contextualised firmly and clearly within classroom practice.
- +ve - people were positive, enthusiastic, and keen to get involved. It got to the point where we had so many people willing to help out that they didn't all get involved, so if you want a look at a list of people who really made TeachMeet happen (rather than the numpty up the front) then look at the list of helpers & organisers, all of whom deserve much thanks. Also, the sponsors who between them paid for everything - from security and wifi access, to a meal afterwards.
- -ve - not enough teachers. This is of course related to the negative point above - the nature of BETT means that it's difficult to get out of the classroom for a Friday, and few teachers outside of London would make the effort to come in to Olympia in the evening.
Oh, and to some extent, the camel worked...