Teachmeet

My Reflections on TeachMeet Takeover

Try something different. If it turns out to be a mistake then you’ve learned something, so it isn’t really a mistake.

Greg Perry @futurebehaviour

The TeachMeet community tried something different this year at BETT. We mobilised, we tookover vendors’ stands and talked about free ideas teachers could use on Monday. We made an attempt to pass on the inspiring ideas that are regularly presented at the face to face TeachMeet events, to those who may have never attended one. Teachmeet Takeover made a small step out of the echo chamber that the community often gets caught speaking to.

#TMtakeover Crowd

Yes we made mistakes, we stumbled, but the idea I think is sound enough – here are a few things I have learned, observed and thought about from the last few days of TeachMeet Takeover

  • Teachers get very excited about free tools.
  • The majority of free web based tools that are familiar to some are completely unknown to others.
  • Some companies understand the need for teachers to be talking directly to other teachers about real practice.
  • There are so many passionate and inspiring teachers willing to stand up and present about their ideas.
  • A handful of companies genuinely believe in the same things as we do.
  • It can be hard to make the FREE message authentic amongst all of the SELL, SELL, SELL. But what started as a whisper…
  • Many, many more vendors want their stands involved at BETT 2011.
  • Next year we will stipulate requirements for the stands. Internet access, big projection facilities and a PA system.
  • A simple competition gives people who are unsure a clear direction and encourages them to see multiple TeachMeet Takeover talks.
  • Publicity is important, so people know about it before arriving.
  • Maybe Takeover should only take place on Thursday and Friday.
  • It exceeded all of my expectations.
  • I now know the idea works in reality, with more planning for 2011 we can be more ambitious – perhaps.
  • We could try a mass Takeover, four stands all close together in much more of a flash mob style.
  • Certain companies are happy to volunteer time, money and resources (including their stands) to support TeachMeet Takeover.
  • Keeping talks under 15 minutes is best.
  • Having two people on a stand talking consecutively works really well.
  • It has never been more important for teachers to be sharing free resources, tools and ideas with other teachers.

Ian Yorston #TMtakeover

I have been thinking deeply over the last 3 days about the relationship between sales driven companies and the teachers sharing free ideas. For some of the talks there were 30-40 people on the stands – we were bringing them in. That is obviously good for the vendor but it also good for teachers sharing ideas with other teachers. Maybe 3 or 4 people stop and look at some of the vendor’s fliers or products, similarly maybe 15-20 people go away and find out about the free idea they heard from a presentation.

Perhaps we need to bridge the often gaping chasm between these two communities if we are to properly amplify some of the messages, ideas and ideologies to the majority of teachers which are so intrinsic to the TeachMeet community. There has been plenty of reference to the disconnect between teachers and those who sell products, but I am more convinced that we need to build partnerships to effect large scale change in schools. The interesting thing is that companies at BETT are desperate to find ways to engage with their users on a more authentic level. I think TeachMeet Takeover has provided a viable option and it works. Importantly the teacher community has acted first on this, it is on our terms, we have defined how this engagement happens and so can keep the right intentions at the heart of what happens in the future.

None of the vendors involved deliberately hijacked an audience to peddle their own wares – they really did just let us takeover. I think that turning people on their stands into real sales is harder then encouraging teachers to look further into a free idea that is presented. Also a person’s subsequent research into how they might use a free tool will inevitably lead to teachers’ blogs and maybe the domino effect is that they start to find out more and more free tools and ideas. We must be aware of the knock on effect a single 10 minute Takeover talk could have in the weeks ahead.

Dai Barnes #TMtakeover

I heard about one teacher attending TeachMeet Takeover who had never heard of Twitter or any of the online tools that were being presented. After his first talk he spent his day at BETT attending most of the other Takeover talks collecting the 8 ideas he needed to win the goody bag prize. Hopefully his head is buzzing with that bunch of new, free ideas and is thinking about how he can best use them to support learning with his class.

A BIG thankyou to all of the vendors and teachers who contributed to TeachMeet Takeover this year.

We were able to apply some of the feedback from Thursday to improve things for the following days – I would be grateful to hear more of your thoughts and reactions from the Takeover events. What should we consider changing or improving for next year? What stories from Takeover have you to tell?

Tom Barrett

Tom is a writer, speaker and consultant. He has been sharing his thoughts on teaching, learning, curiosity and creativity on this blog for over 10 years. Drinking coffee and writing would be his idea of a perfect day.

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39 Comments on "My Reflections on TeachMeet Takeover"

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[…] for blog posts on previous Takeovers…try Tom Barrett’s blog here or here or the BrainPop post […]

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[…] sparking some fascinating debates about the impact and implications of Teachmeet — such as this much-commented on post on Tom Barrett’s blog […]

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[…] We know this. Every educational supplier knows this, deep down. Teachers are a tough crowd – and rightly so. You can also see tangential thoughts on Terry Freedman’s ICT in Education blog “7 things to do after the BETT show” and Tom Barrett’s post: “My Reflection on TeachMeet Takeover” […]

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6 years 4 months ago

[…] AmplifiED’10 and TEDxOrenda which really was a shame, but at least there were still TeachMeet Takeovers to be enjoyed.  And enjoy I did.  The first I attended by David Noble (@parslad) was […]

Dan Bowen
Guest
6 years 4 months ago
Hi all, Some interesting comments here in the blog about teachmeet takeover. Firstly can I say I am here from the Vendor perspective however these opinions are my own. I found the takeovers fantastic. After coming to BETT for years now as a teacher, then head of department and now as an LA Learning and Teaching consultant (working for a private company….confusing I know…but anyway I suppose I have a unique point of view on this), we have seen the show getting larger and larger each year. It showcases some amazing tools, software and the like but I think it… Read more »
@netintelligence
Guest
@netintelligence
6 years 4 months ago
Marion from Netintelligence here. I loved being a small part of the Takeover from a vendor and a parent perspective! I have a young son and our presenters provided some excellent knowledge for me in regards to online tools and applications for him. So yes, in that respect there was a personal gain. It's something we would look to do again if we are invited, from the sessions I attended and from our stand, I never saw anyone attempt to sell to teachers, all the stands were positively promoting TMTakeover with gusto and real enthusiasm by teachers and Vendors, so… Read more »
Dan Bowen
Guest
6 years 4 months ago
Hi all, Some interesting comments here in the blog about teachmeet takeover. Firstly can I say I am here from the Vendor perspective however these opinions are my own. I found the takeovers fantastic. After coming to BETT for years now as a teacher, then head of department and now as an LA Learning and Teaching consultant (working for a private company….confusing I know…but anyway I suppose I have a unique point of view on this), we have seen the show getting larger and larger each year. It showcases some amazing tools, software and the like but I think it… Read more »
@netintelligence
Guest
@netintelligence
6 years 4 months ago
Marion from Netintelligence here. I loved being a small part of the Takeover from a vendor and a parent perspective! I have a young son and our presenters provided some excellent knowledge for me in regards to online tools and applications for him. So yes, in that respect there was a personal gain. It's something we would look to do again if we are invited, from the sessions I attended and from our stand, I never saw anyone attempt to sell to teachers, all the stands were positively promoting TMTakeover with gusto and real enthusiasm by teachers and Vendors, so… Read more »
Nigel Ford
Guest
Nigel Ford
6 years 4 months ago
I wonder if the market has been distorted by funding which HAD to be spent on particular types of product? So instead of asking WHY you want something, the question became which one to buy. Paerhaps we should refocus on the discussion which starts ” I want to achieve this” and asks for a means to achieve the end. I only attended the first half of the teachmeet, but took away more ideas from that than from the whole of the rest of the show. I shall certainly be noting the Takeover programme for 2011, and reviewing travel so I… Read more »
dgilmour
Guest
dgilmour
6 years 4 months ago

Congratulations, Tom, I'm pleased that it exceeded your expectations. It has clearly been a significant milestone in the evolution of BETT, and in the development of the relationship between exhibitors and visitors. Thanks for this helpful summary from the “horse's mouth”.

eylanezekiel
Guest
6 years 4 months ago
Firstly, as the third of the Teachmeet Takeover hosts to comment here, I want to make it clear that this is not a concerted effort on our part, no conspiracy to invade the discussion! I spent pretty much the whole of TeachEat on Friday talking to Tom, Mark Robinson from Promethean, and Tony Sheppard (@grumbledook) about the future of Teachmeet – and I am so glad that this debate has taken life and gathered such weight and momentum. I will not spend time repeating/agreeing with the smart and informed comments from Chris and Andrea. I hope those of you that… Read more »
Nick Jackson
Guest
6 years 4 months ago

Chris….I have to offer my support to everything you have said and to anyone who doubts your reasons as to why you were involved then they didn't talk to you or any of your staff as I did more than once while I was there. What you offered was plain and simple promotion for the TMTakeover with no hidden agenda. And you were very much actively involved in it's success on your stand. I thank you.

Chris Ratcliffe
Guest
6 years 4 months ago

I had a similar discussion with Ian Yorston at BETT about the free/paid thing, and we came to the same conclusion you did!

Chris Ratcliffe
Guest
6 years 4 months ago
Apologies for the late comments here, I have spent the day ‘de-BETTing’! It looks like a fascinating debate, and one that I am more than happy to join! To say straight off, and to get it over with from the outset, I am delighted to have been able to be a small part of the amazing TeachMeet Takeover. I do work for Scholastic, a publisher, who did have a stand at the show and one that was 'taken over'. I have to agree with everything that Andrea says, it was a privilege to be part of it. That said, there… Read more »
Nigel Ford
Guest
Nigel Ford
6 years 4 months ago

I'm a teacher & I'd never go on Saturday – show closes at 4 and even 10 – 6 isn't long enough. Add Takeover and I'm going to need two full days

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oliverquinlan
Guest
oliverquinlan
6 years 4 months ago

So great to hear a publisher reacting so positively to this kind of activity. There has been lots of talk of free vs. paid tools post BETT, but in reality it is a synergy of the two that we need. Hopefully more companies can move towards the open minded attitudes that you obviously have. I really think the TeachMeet takeovers are the direction BETT needs to go in, and hopefully they can be included in the 'mainstream' organisation of the show next year- I'd certainly like to get involved next time.

Andrea Carr
Guest
6 years 4 months ago
My name is Andrea. And I am a Vendor. There – I’ve said it. Being part of TM Takeover and TM this week really has been a real privilege. It was brilliant to hear such inspiring teachers talking and sharing. The children you all teach and the teachers you support are very very lucky. And it was lovely to meet so many of you too. I have lots of thoughts (some of which are still muddled in my addled post-BETT brain) about how things could develop, particularly from a commercial supplier’s perspective and I would like to see things develop… Read more »
leoncych
Guest
leoncych
6 years 4 months ago
I wasn't using the word 'exploit' in any pejorative sense – the idea of backup is excellent and the augmentation of seminars – certainly I had a timetable up on a tab on the Open Source Stand and was pointing quite a few people to takeovers – maybe a printable poster perhaps that people could write on last minute events and bluetack on each stall involved would be good too. When you are in the thick of the exhibition the best laid plans go awry (meeting new twitter friends etc) and often a quick signpost and someone on the stand… Read more »
Danny Nicholson
Guest
6 years 4 months ago

It was an excellent idea, and I'm glad it was such a success. Definitely lots of things to think about to help improve it for 2011. The fringe was definitely where the good stuff was this year.

I've never been to a BETT seminar, but I attend many at other conferences.

Nohting is free
Guest
Nohting is free
6 years 4 months ago

I totally agree – the web 2.0 model is often funded by Google Adwords. Web 2.0 must not be confused with Open Source which does bare more resemblance to “free”. You do get what you pay for with commercial software in terms of support beyond Twitter and online forums.

tomgbarrett
Guest
tomgbarrett
6 years 4 months ago

Saturday was much quieter – but I see your point about it being much more
accessible to teachers who cannot get time off during the week. If the
Saturday talks are on the larger stands I think it would be better as they
are likely to find them.

Doug Woods
Guest
6 years 4 months ago

Tom, what's the thinking behind only having TMtakeovers on Thursday and Friday?
As I see it, the Saturday is often the day when teachers attend and I assume this is because they cannot get time off or cover at the their school for a weekday. I'd hate to think that classroom practitioners were unable to attend TMtakeover events on a Saturday.

Clive Dawes
Guest
6 years 4 months ago

I attended 4 of the BETT seminars – they were all useful in their different ways.
Teachmeet Takeover a great idea, although I only attended one, which was Drew's. Co-ordinating when they were on and combining it with seminars was made harder by the variable wi-fi access – I should have been more organised and printed the list, but it would have been easier to check it as I wandered round!

kvnmcl
Guest
kvnmcl
6 years 4 months ago
Tom, I'd like to say thank you very much for the opportunity to be involved in the Teachmeet Takeover – THANKYOU. It was definitely a great experience and one which I will certainly do again. I presented at the NetIntelligence stand which due to it's situation (upstairs along a side corridor) wasn't as well attended as the Scholastic takeovers but, the support I received from those that did come along was fantastic. I would also like to take the opportunity to thank Marie from Net Intelligence who made me very welcome to her stand and went out of her way… Read more »
tomgbarrett
Guest
tomgbarrett
6 years 4 months ago
As I said above Leon, Takeover is not about debating the intricacies of what“free” means for web tools, just about good ideas. Other then to say thatTakeover vendors have been genuine, generous and in it for the right reasonsI am not going to speak on behalf of them. I would encourage vendorsinvolved to respond to your remarks. I do agree that both with Takeover and TeachMeet we have proven to thecommercial sector our ability to self organise and the direct impact we canhave on the teacher community. They need to listen to us more – we do needto form better… Read more »
tomgbarrett
Guest
tomgbarrett
6 years 4 months ago
I am under no disillusion that most “free” web services are part of amonetisation strategy – TeachMeet Takeover is about telling other teachersabout tools and service they don't have to pay for to use in the classroom.Often these alternatives are unknown to most and provides greater choice.Takeover is not really about debating the definition of what free is orisn't – just about good classroom ideas. I will leave the vendors involved to respond as I think it is important tohear their own motivation to be involved. One thing to add, which I consider important, at BETT everyone is bar-codedand the… Read more »
tomgbarrett
Guest
tomgbarrett
6 years 4 months ago
I like the ideas about ongoing support after BETT for those listening to theTakeover ideas – we should flag that up after each talk next time – even ifit is “please get in touch with me if you need help with this…” I do thinkwe need to look at maximising the impact of the Takeovers whenever we can,perhaps stipulating some stand requirements, position and size. Info aboutTMtakeover was sent out to over 150,000 teachers/schools in the weeksleading up to BETT including the flier and info – this was down to supportfrom sponsors. With a longer planning time we can ensure… Read more »
tomgbarrett
Guest
tomgbarrett
6 years 4 months ago

The Friday night meeting was the TeachMeet BETT 2010 – great to hear you are
attending your first TM soon.

tomgbarrett
Guest
tomgbarrett
6 years 4 months ago

We certainly need more choice, perhaps an alternative “fringe” programme of
seminars in the form of Takeovers would provide more practitioner led
options.

leoncych
Guest
leoncych
6 years 4 months ago
I thoroughly enjoyed BETT2010 and think the TeachMeet Takeover is a resoundingly good idea. I think that there are even more radical ideas in the offing – too – for 2011. Watch this space as they say… I would disagree that everything is free though – people have to remember that the web 2.0 services are provided on the back of someone's business and unless a truly symbiotic relationship develops then it is bad news for everyone. People tend to forget that what IS paid for is time, the internet space to provide a web 2.0 service and the investment… Read more »
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[…] to note that the offers to TeachMeet Takeover were almost exclusively from commercial enterprises. Tom’s interesting reflections on the concept and learning points for next year spurred me to think that there are non-commercial standholders at […]

Nohting is free
Guest
Nohting is free
6 years 4 months ago

I am afraid nothing is free as you state with online web 2.0 “free” services. No organisation is truly altruistic. They all have an agenda which eventually leads to money.

joga5
Guest
joga5
6 years 4 months ago

I agree and am like you – so one of the jobs is to identify what the disconnect is (to use my favourite job of the moment) and then mae the connections with the technophile teachers who haven't discovered TM or TM Takeover. I know the problem but not the answer at the moment!

stuartridout
Guest
stuartridout
6 years 4 months ago
I don't doubt that it is great and that there were great seminars but there seems to be an accessibility issue somewhere as I don't know many people who are in that space. It's not the presenters or the seminars themselves, it's the system that doesn't excite me. I've been to BETT a number of times and I've never been to a seminar. When I ask why, I don't have an answer. I've just had a quite look at the seminar list and there are ones there that look great … – Map of Innovations: supporting teachers in finding and… Read more »
joga5
Guest
joga5
6 years 4 months ago
There were some very good seminars on offer and we have to accept that some of them are very popular and some of them are the chance for major organisations to have a forum. The crunch is then working out how to tune into these spaces. One thing which strikes me is to have a teachmeet as the warm up for major sessions (In my session in the Policy theatre we had some people waiting for 20 minutes in the room before the start – this could be one opportunity however the audience would then be arbitrary rather than voluntary)
joga5
Guest
joga5
6 years 4 months ago
I was very excited by the Teachmeet Takeovers and think that it not only has great potential but has made companies and agencies take notice. I do think that Thursday and Friday were both perfect days for it. I think that you need 'guerillas' working the crowd for the five minutes before the takeover – certainly the well attended ones I went to had a buzz before they started provided by enthusiastic Teachmeeters.I thought that the content of the sessions I attended were absolutely appropriate and exciting.I will throw a couple of issues into the pot in that I wonder… Read more »
Robert Drummond
Guest
6 years 4 months ago

I watched the twitter feed of the meeting last night (sorry, I'm not sure of the particular name of last night's meeting). I thought it was fantastic and would love to have been there. Great stuff. Well done to all concerned!
I'm looking to attending my first teachmeet at East Lothian on 4th Feb.

stuartridout
Guest
stuartridout
6 years 4 months ago

Something which needs revitalising at BETT is the seminar programme. I don't know of anyone who went to one of the organised seminars. It seems like such a waste that the Apex room was unused from 3pm on Friday as the keynote speech (which I think was the DCSF) was cancelled. I know that TeachMeet was in the Apex room later but the Takeover could revitalise this as an informal alternative if BETT embraces it.

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