Teachmeets growing in Australia…

Australian teachers crazy for their teachmeets

The TeachMeet:  It’s fixed, do we need to break it?

Defn (Wikipedia) :  A TeachMeet is an organised but informal meeting for teachers to share good practice, practical innovations and personal insights in teaching with technology. Originally conceived in 2005 in Scotland.

Sounds like a bunch of mushrooms sprouting I thought…While the idea of rapid organization of a social event with the help of social media is not new anymore, it’s interesting to look at the characteristics of these events. When I was teaching edtech and teaching skills at YC, I would often encourage (browbeat!) teachers to share their ideas, objectives and successes with other teachers. I organized the space and advertised the event. I had a few successes but it was like pulling teeth. Obviously I was taking the wrong approach.
I scanned the descriptions of the teachmeets and read the comments of participants and what they gained from each event. Take a look at what they identified and see if you can quickly identify what I was missing in my attempts!

  • informal
  • self-organized (usually by tweeting)
  • any kind of presentation goes but should be two or seven minutes long
  • usually involves some kind of food and drink  (“drink” usually means wine or beer at some point in the process)
  • if a teacher goes over time limit, soft stuffed camels are thrown at them (is this just an Aussie modification?)
  • meeting space doesn’t seem to matter (hotel rooms, theatres, pubs)

There is a similar phenomenon called educamps, which are apparently based on barcamps (an intense event with discussions, demos and interaction from attendees) which are apparently also known as “un-conferences”) but they don’t have the same tight restrictions on presentations times  (e.g., EduCamp Singapore, Stanford educamp,

What is an EduCamp?  English Wikipedia didn’t have an entry that I could find. Instead, here’s the translated German Wikipedia entry for EduCamp

I find it funny that people were so tied to the number of participants as a way to show the success of a teachmeet (recent Sydney TeachMeet at Australian Technology Park with over 300 teachers #tmwr2012). I would have thought that too many would interfere with the success. But in today’s connected, lemming-like life, we are all looking for the numbers; for an idea to be called a “meme”; for a video to go “viral”.

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About Cloudsyl

Now a mid-Island observer of the Cloud
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