teachmeet – the morning after (well, a week later….)

well, it’s a week later, and we’ve had our first teachmeet! crickey – it felt such a huge flurry leading up to the day, and now a week has passed and I’ve only just got round to blogging about it.

I really enjoyed the whole process of working with Niamh, Katie, Chris and Celine – 3 of whom I didn’t know before they commented on my initial teachmeet post.

Just to prove I was really there, and really did contribute enjoy(?) the video of my 7minutes on Cephalonian inductions, and some photos (such as this one)

I was really please how the event ran – Celine did a marvelous introduction, and we had some very intersting presentations – full details at http://tinyurl.com/camlibthm, but we have presentations and evaluation via slideshare, photos on flickr, videos on youtube, and answers to questions raisedd on the night on the wiki – plus lovely comments on twitter (#camlibtm). And frankly, the glass of wine when we finally sat down for teacheat never tasted so good!

here are some reflections about the whole event (and these are entirely my own reflections, not necessarily those of the rest of the organising group)

Good:

  • that we had fewer speakers than had signed up (illness of speakers unfortunately meant 2 had to drop out) – gave more time for change-over between speakers, even if we still didn’t allow questions as part of the evening. To allow for decent amount of networking time as well as hearing the speakers, might need to think carefully about the balance for next time (assuming there is a next time!)
  • post-it notes – great to get the questions gathered up since we didn’t allow questions during the event. Also means we can allow full enjoyment for non-attendees,  and allow speakers to gather their thoughts before answering!
  • names out of a hat – order of speakers was only announced one speaker in advance. great to make it fresh, and casual
  • range of different speakers – perhaps some first-timers
  • videos – perhaps have the flip positioned somewhere else next time (brightness of the screen meant speakers often in the dark) – very useful as a learning tool for me as a speaker to be able to see myself presenting for the first time!
  • teacheat – good to unwind afterwards, great that people I didn’t know were there

Room for improvement?

  • layout of the room – the venue was lovely and generously available for free, but depsite our best efforts the chairs were still effectively in rows. Perhaps have it in a pub function room next time, for truly relaxed unconference feel?
  • lack of time for chat during and afterwards – maybe have longer session, but with longer break?
  • timer – we had timers for the speakers loaded on powerpoint and visible to everyone, including the speakers. But my “one  minute face” to alert speakers to the passing of time seemed to throw one or 2 of the speakers, so while over-running is undesirable, I think finding a different method of keeping speakers to time would be good.
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11 Responses to teachmeet – the morning after (well, a week later….)

  1. Niamh says:

    Lovely to work with you too! I’d agree with your reflections, although it’s worth noting that there were far fewer notes for the speakers at the end. I’m not sure if it was because of the content, the lack of time at the end or both?

  2. Lovely to work with you, too! I also agree with your reflections. While I think the post-its worked really well (I encourage any speakers reading this to go and give their answers), I think it would have been really good to have a general questions/discussion session at the end, too, so that we could share ideas, point out links between various presentations, etc. So yes – more thought about the balance between presentations, tea/networking time, and questions/discussion next time.

    And also, yes – a pub function room would, for this purpose, be so much better than the room we had. If we did use a pub (or similar) venue, would it be reasonable to expect people to get their own drinks?

    • ilk21 says:

      Yes – perhaps some sort of panel discussion at the end?
      People buying their own drinks? – suppose it depends if there’s an opinion about greater/different sponsorship. use sponsorship to put a tab behind the bar – 1st drink free, and then buy your own? suppose it depends on what the sponsor was prepared to pay for. addition of alchohol could make for a different sort of fun evening!

  3. Céline says:

    Since I don’t seem to be getting round to writing my own post about this, I’ll just agree here.

    I was impressed how well the post-its worked (thought people might be shy of writing something down) but definitely felt it ended a bit flat without the chance for any discussion or mingling or chat. TeachEat was great but it would certainly be an idea to build in some mingle time into another one (maybe have refreshments happening after the talks so that people do hang about and chat/ask questions of speakers etc).

    I do have more detailed thoughts for my much-postponed blog post but one of the things I’d be really keen to hear would be more comments from other speakers and members of the audience. It seems from some of the audience members that the pace worked well (see the summary from Insert witty title here but she makes a good point about the 2 min talks seeming rushed (from the point of the viewer of the speaker) while the 7 min talks often didn’t last the whole 7 mins…. wonder how it felt for the speakers?

    • ilk21 says:

      as with my reply to Katie – perhaps some sort of panel discussion at the end, but then perhaps that might have to set a time limit for that too?
      Looking forward to getting the more reflective evaluation out and results in – could help address some of the issues. Perhaps the 2 minutes seemed rushed because of a balance between confidence and audience interest? – 2 minutes a good/attractive time for perhaps a first-time or unconfident speaker, but because the topics were so interesting there was disappointment they finished so soon? I’m suspicious that one of my 7min timers was timed wrongly (esp given length of youtube video from same talk) – clearly have to build some sort of question about that into the reflective evaluation.

  4. Miss Crail says:

    I was just a lurker, but as usual found others’ experiences very interesting to hear about. Definitely think it would be great to repeat such meetings, as things are changing all the time. Perhaps it would be easier in future if sessions were a bit less formal and organised. All credit to the organisers, but thrown-together meetings would be less worry, and so perhaps more likely to happen? Just talks around a table would be great for some of us on the periphery.
    The 2-min time was indeed a bit short – lots of us would have liked to hear more about the school library transition skills programme.

    • ilk21 says:

      delighted that you enjoyed the evening, and that you’d support TeachMeet The Sequel.

      Wonder how you’d do the less formal session? talks around a table are often the most stimulating and creative, I agree, but by their very nature are quite exclusive – if you’re not round the right table, you might not get the benefit. Wonder if having a “librarians down the pub” evening would be possible – just turn up and chat. “not everything that you can measure has value relevance and not everything valuable can be measured” – as aristotle or einstein or someone said. – but wonder how you’d measure the value of the time spent – whether it would be worth turning up to the next one? or indeed worth deciding on a time/date for the next one?

      But perhaps part of the point you’re making is about balance between 2 or 7min presentations, and the networking/chatting over coffee – agree that balance might need to be considered afresh for the next TeachMeet.

      Hopefully with the videos and the post-it note questions answered online, we’ve done our best to make the session as available as possible, especially to those who couldn’t make it on the day.

      Good point about wanting to hear more about Jenny’s school to university transition topic – one of the questions in the post-it notes to her was wondering whether she’d come to a brown bag lunch – http://teachmeet.pbworks.com/camlibtm-questions – her answer’s here, so it’s just up to someone to arrange it.

  5. Miss Crail says:

    One point about being less formal is that it is hard work for the organiser/s, finding a room, sorting refreshments, etc. Something often seems to go wrong at the last minute, very stressful. Seriously, could we not manage without sponsorship? Bring our own gin? Finding sponsors means yet more for the organisers to worry about, more mugs in the back of the cupboard.
    Other point about being less formal is that many of the speakers indicated they were nervous – even though everyone did a jolly fine job – and putting together a presentation takes time and might have put some people off making a greater contribution.
    Informal networking is good but not easy for all of us. Some walk into a large room and desperately look for a familiar face, one who isn’t already surrounded by a crowd. That’s why I thought ’round a table’ might be good. Some people have plenty to say, and some of us who don’t get out much just like to hear about others’ experiences. Not sure about the pub though – some might be put off, especially, again, if you don’t know anyone much.

    • Some hard work is worth it, though I think. It’s nice to have sponsorship money – not everyone will want (or be able) to cough up for their own gin, although that is a delightful idea.

      This all comes down to everyone having different tastes, I guess. I’m fairly fearless regarding speaking in front of people but terrified of walking into a room and having to meet and talk to individuals. So I like to hear formal-ish presentations from other people because then I have something to talk to them about afterwards. And I like the format of meeting for a chat round a table in a pub/cafe, because it’s not nearly as bad as a room of mingling people.

      So maybe we could have, as well as presentations for those who have something that can be communicated in that fashion, a ‘bring a topic/issue’ informal round-some tables discussions. So there’s some kind of structure (an issue to talk about, so there’s not too much awkward silence), but no pressure.

      People will always feel scared going to something where they don’t know people – previous experience has shown me that just saying ‘everyone welcome, even if you don’t know anyone’, and even ‘shout if you’d like to meet someone in advance’ can do a lot to help with that. But we’ll never find a venue or format that won’t intimidate someone, I guess.

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