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?

33 Comments

  1. 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 may have slightly lost its audience. As teachers teaching ICT we always bang on about audience and purpose but possibly we have too many audiences at the event…is it BSF? teachers? middle leaders? SLT? I think I noticed this more as a subject teacher at BETT. I remember going back to school and thinking 'hold on it was the head of English, SEN, Maths who should have been there'

    Most large scale events often lose personality and real solid and innovative practice which I see in all of the schools I visit. The UK has excellent teachers who will innovate well under the right conditions (dont get me started on what these are but league tables in England don't help). Most events now seem to be large scale networking events and often missing pedagogy. Which is where teachmeet takeover comes in. To watch an innovative practitioner discuss next practice and show tools and offer advice is like gold dust. It can only be a benefit to all who watch it.

    The coverage of teachmeet on Twitter was excellent and I have only heard postive things myself, although I am sure some presenters had a varied experience. For example depending on stand location, seating and stand use would depend on how many people could watch or interact.

    The downside – Often at these events hardware and software is brought in from marketing elements of the companies and may not have the required functionality of the presenter. Presenters do go to stands before hand but technical support needs to be available to ensure they run smoothly. We had an issue with the Mic setup and could not resolve this in time for example. Also the only other small point to improve these takeovers would be that the marketing needs to be more detailed if possible so the when a company is publicising their stand events they can say 'Teachmeet takeover – Dan Bowen presenting on the use of Moodle in the secondary school', for example.

    So finally to sum up, I believe that the takeover event held at our stand at others were really beneficial and worthwhile. They highlighted the pedagogy and practice behind some of the tools and showcased some excellent projects. I would not hesitate to offer stand time to teachmeet at anytime but obviously now knowing how they will work we can ensure that they supported even more on stand and in marketing if appropriate.

    Well done to all whom presented at the event and thanks to Tom for organising it. I look forward to seeing other comments but as far as I am concerned it was one of my highlights.

    Thank you.

  2. 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 surely this shows there can be collaboration.
    It was well organised, well attended and well promoted. Certainly shows the power of Twitter and the like!

  3. 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 may have slightly lost its audience. As teachers teaching ICT we always bang on about audience and purpose but possibly we have too many audiences at the event…is it BSF? teachers? middle leaders? SLT? I think I noticed this more as a subject teacher at BETT. I remember going back to school and thinking 'hold on it was the head of English, SEN, Maths who should have been there'

    Most large scale events often lose personality and real solid and innovative practice which I see in all of the schools I visit. The UK has excellent teachers who will innovate well under the right conditions (dont get me started on what these are but league tables in England don't help). Most events now seem to be large scale networking events and often missing pedagogy. Which is where teachmeet takeover comes in. To watch an innovative practitioner discuss next practice and show tools and offer advice is like gold dust. It can only be a benefit to all who watch it.

    The coverage of teachmeet on Twitter was excellent and I have only heard postive things myself, although I am sure some presenters had a varied experience. For example depending on stand location, seating and stand use would depend on how many people could watch or interact.

    The downside – Often at these events hardware and software is brought in from marketing elements of the companies and may not have the required functionality of the presenter. Presenters do go to stands before hand but technical support needs to be available to ensure they run smoothly. We had an issue with the Mic setup and could not resolve this in time for example. Also the only other small point to improve these takeovers would be that the marketing needs to be more detailed if possible so the when a company is publicising their stand events they can say 'Teachmeet takeover – Dan Bowen presenting on the use of Moodle in the secondary school', for example.

    So finally to sum up, I believe that the takeover event held at our stand at others were really beneficial and worthwhile. They highlighted the pedagogy and practice behind some of the tools and showcased some excellent projects. I would not hesitate to offer stand time to teachmeet at anytime but obviously now knowing how they will work we can ensure that they supported even more on stand and in marketing if appropriate.

    Well done to all whom presented at the event and thanks to Tom for organising it. I look forward to seeing other comments but as far as I am concerned it was one of my highlights.

    Thank you.

  4. 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 surely this shows there can be collaboration.
    It was well organised, well attended and well promoted. Certainly shows the power of Twitter and the like!

  5. 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 can stay for the whole TM.

  6. 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”.

  7. 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 met us know that we mean what we say. We love what the Teachmeet community are doing and believe it offers hope for real transformation. I was a primary teacher and ICT coordinator for 5 years and have only worked in this sector cos I love it (though I have had offers to do other things for more money!)

    We are at a very exciting point in the evolution of CPD. BUT, I have a warning.

    BETT2010 was full of companies who felt that they HAD to be there, and to take a certain approach to selling to you guys as teachers. Decades of cynicism about the teaching community and selling to the lowest common denominator has proved successful enough to maintain the model. You guys might not like it – but lots of your colleagues and SMTs seem to prefer a traditional approach from Vendors (see Andrea's point about that name below).

    BrainPOP UK, from the moment I got it going, has been 100% committed to a culture of engagement with teachers and the PLN we all share. We believe that 'authenticity' is essential and that we can prove the return on investment (ROI) on this approach.

    However, it is totally unproven! Great companies who are very well established in the 'market' – like Scholastic, Rising Stars, 2Simple and Promethean – are now starting to turn away from traditional approaches. They are still doing the more traditional approaches too, however – and have the infrastructure to turn to if this gets a little shakey. We don't.

    Whether you like our movies, with Tim and Moby or not, BrainPOP UK is getting alot of very positive attention for the way we talk to teachers about it – because we are 100% focussed on being engaged with teachers about teaching though the spaces they are in.

    I am working on a new model for CPD with a local LA advisory team, in a totally non-for-profit capacity – and BrainPOP UK is financially supporting the logitistics – which I guess you could call sponsoring. We are trying totally new models – which is fun, full of learning, and totally authentic.

    But, will this bring us in enough sales?? I have a mortgage. My small but passionate team have families, debts, just like you! So – we need to sell lots of lovely BrainPOP UK subscriptions. Do the two activities connect? Can we be successful and authentic?

    I have to believe that this is true – because, even more than the fact that me and my team could be out of jobs, it challenges too many of my beliefs/experiences about/of education, society and life for me to believe otherwise.

    Chris, Andrea, Mark and I (and others) are putting alot on the line to support you guys in the way we are. We do not want your sympathy – but the models we are suporting need to be sustainable. If there is not enough ROI in this approach, Chris, Andrea and I will find it very hard not to go back to traditional models of selling to teachers.

    (I will post another rant about the 'myth of free' and the value of what we offer some other night!)

    So, It is up to you, the professional teachers and practitioners. BETT2010 was not edifying for any of us. We can do better. What ever BETT or Teachmeet does next, it must evolve – and that evolution should start with those at the chalkface. The rest of this debate should be over to you and you should be prepared to rethink your approach to commercial suppliers/vendors (or what ever you want to call us).

    I love Teachmeet. I love being involved in the most exciting network of professionals I have ever met. I want to keep doing it. I also love working on BrainPOP UK. Please help me do both – as I think there are as many benefits to you as for me.

    It is late – I am now going to bed. Sorry if this has suffered from my post bett tiredness s- but as you can see I really couldn't NOT comment. Credit and thanks to Tom, Drew, Dawn and Ollie for their ongoing support to me and for getting me into all this in the first place.

    Thank you and goodnight

  8. 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.

  9. 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 are some interesting ideas that have been floated throughout the comments, and I hope I can answer some of them – if only from my perspective.

    One is the possible commercialism of TeachMeet and the thought that it may be better if the talks had happened on a non-profit stand. From the very first communication with Tom, I have tried to ensure that there was as little chance of this event being seen as commercial as possible – hence the PowerPoint screens with TMTO on them, the flier with no company branding, even to the level that when I was posting highlights video's the TMTO logo was continuously played throughout the talks – certainly not the same for the Scholastic sections! If you remember, the first time I blogged about TMTO it was on my personal blog, so not even trying to drive traffic to the Scholastic site!

    I can honestly say that we expected, nor pushed for any sales from the presentations – in fact, I briefed before the show started every morning that none of the staff on the stand should approach the crowd whilst a Takeover was in progress. (If you want verification of this at all, Tim Rylands was on our stand one of the mornings that I did the briefing!).

    The point about the quango/non-profit stands is slightly odd I believe. Just because they are non-profit does not mean they don't have goals and ideals for the show (they pay the same as everyone else to be there), if the theory is that because commercial companies will try to profit out of the Takeover, then the same argument would work for the quangos.

    One thing I did expect before BETT was some reaction against putting TMTO on commercial stands, but I would really hope that now people have experienced the show, and how the events were handled, that those concerns were put aside. Also, what is the difference between sponsoring TeachMeet Takeover by giving up stand space, and sponsoring TeachMeet BETT2010 by paying for the drinks?

    You also have to understand that many of the people that work for the stands that you took over have a vested interest in education. I am married to a teacher, many of my friends are teachers. Many companies have been started by teachers (Scholastic only one of them), and have many ex-teachers working for them. You only have to go to one BESA event to understand that most people in the room really really want to help teachers. Maybe it is because of the vast multinationals at BETT that there is a slightly jaded view of commercial companies, but I enjoy the job I do, not just because of the products that I sell, but because of the positive effect that they have on teachers and their pupils. I couldn't work for a company that sold window cleaning services to schools for example, even if it paid me much more! An example of this, if you will allow me some time, would be a school that I went into in May. The teacher had a whole wall, papered with pupils names and data for APP – and was colouring in objectives with red, yellow and green highlighters. I talked to her about what she was doing and why, then showed her something that could help – that same teacher sent me a letter just before Christmas to say thank you very much for saving her time, stress and for getting rid of her insomnia!!! That is just one of a load of reasons that I do the job – and if we can do something to help pass on good ideas to more teachers then I am with you all the way.

    So I hope that this is going some way to answering the question of what is in it for the 'vendors', but there is more… You guys are good. That good, that I am not sure you have realised how good you are yet! The tools that you use, don't just have applications for the educational community. I have already set up a Wallwisher page for the Scholastic team to give feedback on possible improvements to the stand. Without seeing a TwitCam of Drew, I would never have considered trying to stream the events on our stand – and I did, with some success! The format of TeachMeet is so good, that I am going to try to implement something similar in the way we work in the office. It was only after encouragement from the Twitterverse that I started putting up video's of Elizabeth again on YouTube after a particularly nasty comment. It isn't just words when I have been saying that you are inspirational – you really are!

    Finally, I wanted TeachMeet Takeover on our stand was to kick start a vibe at BETT that we will hopefully see grow in future years. The buzz that was felt when people were on the stand was palpable, to the point where people who had never heard of TM started filling in the Tantalising Table of Inspiration! This can only get better, I believe we have started something here that can go on to become truly revolutionary for CPD and exhibitions, and I for one can't wait to see it happen!

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. 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 in ways that benefit all of us. For now, here are just some first ideas (and the first bit may sound a bit defensive but needs saying).

    I resent the word vendor. I don’t resell ice cream. My company makes resources for schools and we are truly passionate about it. Everything we develop is made through collaboration with teachers and children and the fact that schools like and buy what we make means we can (a) make a living and (b) use that money to make more things. At RS we all love being in education because it means something to us and we want to be doing something worthwhile. We are not self serving, profit driven ‘vendors’ and I think some of us maybe felt a little uneasy at times knowing that is how we are viewed by some teachers – would be really good to change these views before next year.

    Many publishing companies like mine thrive on partnerships with teachers. Listening to and sharing ideas with great teachers of the calibre of those involved in TM is crucial for us all and, I believe, for education generally. TM should be part of the planning for BETT 2011 (with EMAP and BESA). It could be a significant part of BETT going forward. Would like to help with this if I can.

    It’s worth mentioning that many publishing companies (RS for one) are now making content or assets to be used with ‘free’ tools. That’s a big development and I think indicates how open minded many of us are. I’m quite sure that many teachers involved in TM would have suggestions and ideas to put to us too and we would really welcome the chance to talk and listen them.

    As a specific suggestion – I have recently become involved in SSAT ‘ideas sharing’ sessions which are brilliant (mainly secondary schools). Sessions involve me sitting with a teacher with whom RS has worked (and other publishers doing the same). We are then ‘speed dated’ by other teachers (five minute date involved us talking about work we have done together to mututal advantage). Really good for all involved, it breaks down barriers and it could be a good model for part of TM going forward.

    There are definitely improvements we can make to TM Takeovers (prepromotion, audio/visual equipment, follow up). At RS we learned a lot from @ianusher and @lisibo both of whom were wonderful. Would be good to find a way of drawing in less confident teachers to watch the TM takeover presentations and attend TMs next year. Many many teachers have Web2 fear which they need to overcome (for the sake of the children they teach as much as anything). That’s it for now. Hope it helps a little. @eylanezekiel and @chrisrat will have thoughts too I’m sure. See you soon and thanks Tom for giving RS the opportunity to be part of TeachMeet Takeover. It’s been fantastic.

  13. 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 to point you on your way. The BETT seminars are great but the beauty of presentation on stands is that it is ad hoc and therefore available to all – I also agree with Gareth Davies about the need for the non-profits and quangos to open up their space to TeachMeet.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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!

  19. 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 to make sure everyone who turned up was comfortable and could watch my presentation with no barriers.
    TeachmeetTakeover is a fantastic addition to the TeachMeet ideal and it certainly worked at BETT this year. I can only see it growing next year. You mention the knock on effect of these presentations and that's an important consideration. Many teachers new to this use of free online tools may have dropped by one of the TMtakeovers and hopefully will go back to their classrooms to use one of the ideas. Perhaps some will go on to create an online presence and blog about their experiences. Maybe some will just give the tools a try and realise there is more to ICT than using pre-installed programs.
    The passion demonstrated by teachers during their takeovers was apparent and infectious as I saw many visitors scribbling down ideas and links gained from the presentations.

  20. 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 that
    Takeover vendors have been genuine, generous and in it for the right reasons
    I am not going to speak on behalf of them. I would encourage vendors
    involved to respond to your remarks.

    I do agree that both with Takeover and TeachMeet we have proven to the
    commercial sector our ability to self organise and the direct impact we can
    have on the teacher community. They need to listen to us more – we do need
    to form better partnerships with them to reach a mainstream level.

  21. I am under no disillusion that most “free” web services are part of a
    monetisation strategy – TeachMeet Takeover is about telling other teachers
    about 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 or
    isn't – just about good classroom ideas.

    I will leave the vendors involved to respond as I think it is important to
    hear their own motivation to be involved.

    One thing to add, which I consider important, at BETT everyone is bar-coded
    and the vendors zap you to gather visitor details. After the show thousands
    of follow up emails will be sent out to turn foot-fall into sales. None of
    the vendors I saw hosting a Takeover talk exploited the numbers on their
    stands to this end.

  22. I like the ideas about ongoing support after BETT for those listening to the
    Takeover ideas – we should flag that up after each talk next time – even if
    it is “please get in touch with me if you need help with this…” I do think
    we need to look at maximising the impact of the Takeovers whenever we can,
    perhaps stipulating some stand requirements, position and size. Info about
    TMtakeover was sent out to over 150,000 teachers/schools in the weeks
    leading up to BETT including the flier and info – this was down to support
    from sponsors. With a longer planning time we can ensure that the message
    saturates those who need to hear it much earlier too.

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

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

  25. 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 in ideas and innovation to move services along and evolve them in.

    I am pretty sure the stand owners will already have a way of crudely working out the metrics around educators' interests and will definitely exploit that relationship – it may help both sides raise their game. It almost certainly will model the social networking aspect of the teaching community for commercial firms – they, if they are savvy, will learn those lessons well about authenticity and community involvement.

    There are many ways this can go and I will blog later on possible routes forward. The TeachMeet concept needs to reach a critical mass and go more mainstream – I will elaborate further on a blog post over at Learn4Life this Sunday.

  26. 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.

  27. 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!

  28. 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 sharing new practices
    – Developing teachers for Next Generation Learning
    – Building Learning for the Future

    but nothing in the build up or at the event inspired me to book or visit them.

  29. 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)

  30. 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 how we can develop a deeper relationship with those who attend. What is that we can do to support them once they have attended a TM Takeover and then want to introduce it in and across their school?
    Some of the sessions upstairs were less well attended so does there need to be closer targeting of where the takeovers will be?
    How do we flag it up before attending to those who are not aware of Teach meets? Does this require lobbying of EMAP so that reference is made on their main site (there is obviously a real danger of becoming too mainstream for the original ethos?)
    It is worth talking through in much detail as it was such a good event.

  31. 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.

  32. 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.

6 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Never mind the technology, where’s the learning? » Blog Archive » I was wrong last year. BETT is where it’s at, but not where you think
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  6. Ian Addison's Blog » Blog Archive » Teachmeet Takeover Bett2012

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