Falkirk TeachMeet Update



It’s now 2 months since I wrote a post about how I was ‘toying’ with the idea of arranging a TeachMeet event here in Falkirk – and a lot has happened in that short time. In a couple of weeks, almost 60 people will come along to Carronvale House to take part, and many teachers from Falkirk will have their first experience of this new style of CPD (some of them have also volunteered to share teaching experiences with others in a 7 minute presentation).

I’ve been reading on twitter that others have also been contemplating organising a local TeachMeet, and some have asked me about the practicalities of planning such an event.  This post is a summary of how the initial idea developed.

When I mentioned the possibility of having a TeachMeet in Falkirk, Cassie Law was very keen. She’d already attended the TM Student edition (where she gave a 7 minute talk) and was sold on the whole idea. Later, we mentioned it to another Falkirk teacher, Richard Olyott – so then there were three 🙂

Soon after that, a colleague at work suggested that the idea might be of interest to the primary ICT co-ordinators. We meet with the representatives from each primary school here three times a year. Initially, I was a bit concerened that they’d think that the notion was a bit bizarre … teachers giving up their own free time to attend a CPD event that had been organised by other classroom teachers. I came up with the idea, however, of introducing them to two great free online tools that I suspected they would find useful in their classroom practice at the same time – that way, if TeachMeet wasn’t for them, they’d have gotten something out of the short presentation. The two tools were Prezi.com and the great random name picker tool (traditionally used at all TeachMeets) – both did in fact prove to be a success as they went down a treat 🙂

The Prezi I made to introduce the TM concept is included below:



 At that time, there was no date set for a TeachMeet event in Falkirk. At the Scottish Learning Festival TM in September the three Falkirk ‘pioneers’ met Nick Tait and Peter Graham, two other interested Falkirk teachers. During an interval the participants were asked to make a promise to do something as a result of having attended that TM. We publically announced on twitter  that the Falkirk event would go ahead on the evening of one of our November in-service days. The following day, Nick Tait posted the details on the TeachMeet wiki and the challenge was issued – there was no going back!

After that, we spent a couple of evenings discussing things on Twitter and decided that the best thing would be to meet up again in person. One of the items on the agenda was a possible venue -and finding the ideal place was proving to be the biggest challenge. Just before our October break, however, I telephoned Carronvale House in Larbert, a venue that Falkirk Council have used in the past for their annual ICT Fair. On paper, it appeared to ‘tick all the boxes’. It’s about a 10 minute walk from a train station where trains arrive directly from Stirling, Glasgow and Edinburgh (some people from Glasgow had already signed up on the wiki and had requested that the venue be close to a train station), is minutes drive from the motorway, has wireless and wired internet connection, charges half price for evening hire, provides food, has a ‘bring your own bottle’ policy (and even supplies the glasses).

One of their rooms was available for hire that evening, so after consulting the others via email, we decided to just go for it and book it there and then ….  and worry about paying for it afterwards 🙂

During the October break, I emailed Anne from Steljes and asked if there was any chance of sponsorship, and on the same day that she got back to me, Con Morris from the National CPD Team got in touch via twitter to say that they were also going to provide sponsorship. Ross, Louise and John have agreed to support the event as well.

Ben was  interested in attending a TeachMeet event after hearing about the notion via a conversation with Tom Barrett . I discovered this after reading this twitter post by David Noble:

TM Parslad

David’s reference to the fact that some of the people originally involved in getting TeachMeets going would be attending the Falkirk event motivated me to ask  John Johnston to chair the Falkirk TM and I’m ‘mega pleased’ that he has agreed to do this. It’s also great that my line manager supports the event and gave permission for me to contact all Falkirk schools via email.

It’s been quite a journey organising the first Falkirk TeachMeet and this post has only told half the story –  I’ll publish now and save the rest for Falkirk TeachMeet Update – take two 🙂

3 thoughts on “Falkirk TeachMeet Update

  1. Thanks for this, this is a huge help to us in East Lothian as we’re planning our own localised teachmeet for early next year.

    So sorry I can’t make it to yours, I’d really love to come and steal all your ideas!!

  2. Thanks Fearghal – you’ve encouraged me to think about writing the TMFalkirk Update 2 post I mentioned …. and there’s still loads of final planning to be done!

    I’m sure it will be worth it, though – fingers crossed 🙂

  3. Pingback: Learning, Teaching and ICT » Falkirk TeachMeet Update – Take 2

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