How to organise a Teach Meet by @ASTSupportAAli

*UPDATED 01/04/15*

After co-organising #TMLondon (click to see videos and presentations from the evening), I have decided to review and update this blog, designed to help others set up and organise their own teach meet!

Thursday the 18th December 2014, Cheney School hosted it third annual Teach Meet: #TMOxford. This year, I helped organise this event with my colleague Dr Rob Bown. I took a lead in marketing and signing up! Why? (I wrote about it briefly here.)

Here are my top tips in organising, planning and delivering a Teach Meet!

  • Plan and promote as early as possible

I started plugging for #TMOxford at the end of June. This was 6 months before the event! Keep people updated. Often and regularly so people do not forget. Keep advertising different, do not use the same image, logo, description. Vary your times and media outlet! This WIKI page contains a list of many TeachMeets across the country.

Set up a dedicated Twitter account- We set up @TeachMeetLondon for Teach Meet London. We set up a dedicated google page- http://www.teachertoolkit.me/tmlondon. Also a Facebook page- http://www.facebook.com/tmlondon. This is vital in tweeting information and creating a brand. This also avoids clogging your own twitter feed. It is also a quick way for all to access information about your teach meet instantly.

Use www.bit.ly to reduce the names/sizes of your links- chose catchy, memorable names to keep it all nice and easy. Create catchy posters using www.postermywall.com is really good!

Create a hashtag for your event. Create an identity. Keep at it!

  • Keynote speakers are essential- opening speakers are often seen around the country now, but secure yourself a closing speaker too

We have been extremely fortunate, as Sir Tim Brighouse always offers himself as a keynote speaker for #TMOxford. However, our bonus ball this year was the closing keynote speaker, the man who kept all the educators in their seats waiting for his talk was the amazing, humble and caring Vic Goddard. @VicGoddard. Give the keynote speakers time to speak, people often travel to see/hear the keynotes. Do not limit them to your 2 or 5 minute presentations. I offered Sir Tim 15 and Vic up to 30 minutes!

  • Host a Host

Arrange somebody who can keep the crowd enthused, introduce your speakers, summarise the presentations, talk to the audience whilst the presentations are being loaded and sound is being levelled. Get somebody that can think of creative ways of handing out prizes and thank all your sponsors! We had the absolute best- @TakeAction- Action Jackson. He as the host, is as important as the keynote speakers. Action Jackson is AMAZING!!

  • Sponsorship/Prizes

Ask, ask and ask! Contact local companies, ask big names on twitter, call up organisations and ask them to support your free event. Persuade them to help you in ensuring your event is successful. #TMOxford and any other TeachMeet’s ultimate goal is for teachers to pick up ideas, strategies and resources to help improving the learning and life chances of student’s. Many, many companies value this and will seek to help. They can offer money, prizes, printing, promotion, subscriptions to websites, CPD, resources, technology and so on. My top tip is to ask for your school too! Ask them to double up anything they can offer! I secured a lot of items for my school by simply asking.

  • Presentations

Select your presenters carefully, (you will offend some people) but make the topics diverse. Allow their ideas to apply to your audience. Do not be afraid to ask for copies of the presentations and ask for any alterations you see fit? (Controversial…?) Something that I must stress is to make the presentations as cross curricular as possible and as traditional and progressive as possible!

Please note: there is nothing worse than a 5 minute presentation that has far too many slides and the presenter has to rattle through it all, skimming and skipping over things. Remind your audience that all presenters slides and details will be posted, so your audience do not have to frantically take notes.

We have stored all of the presentations for #TMOxford here.

Also, we recorded all the presentations and store them internally on our YouTube channels.

  • Attendees

See who is attending by collecting the correct information in your sign up document. (Google form- see my example here.) Wiki page is confusing to coordinate, especially if you do not have a log in/account. Keep your audience posted: share with them the other people that are coming. Let them know this so they can maybe car share and so they can spread the word. Add your sponsors details onto your sign up page, get them to indirectly help with the marketing, by thanking them; they will then share!

Do not forget that twitter isn’t the only source! Share a simple, informative poster and email with ALL your local secondary and primary schools. We were very lucky to have both Oxford Brookes and Oxford University involved due to our proximity with them in Oxford.

A good venue is important, think about your numbers? We are lucky to have tiered/stadium seating. Think about the lighting too- get Drama involved?! For TMSend we (@SimonKnight1 and I) are hosting this in Oxford University Department for Education.

We also provided a certificate for all that signed up courtesy of a sponsor.This saves you time, energy and your sanity! To allow access to educators that can not travel down immediately after school offer them a day visit, open up your school to them. I did this to two young teachers. They observed me teach, spoke to key people and had a fab time! Here is a blog post about one of their experiences.

  • ICT Support

Ensure you know what to do for plan B? Where are the spare batteries? “What does that button do? Ask your ICT guys to be available, if not, do a run through, ensure you click through all slides, all links, all video clips, ask presenters to arrive early to double check themselves? At #TMOxford, we had our main screen projector and two additional projectors and screens. One with the direct link to the green screen (thanks @eyebeams) reflections and one as an information point. Ensure your school has sorted out free wifi too- check websites are not blocked- such as Twitter! (#TMOxford was trending this year!!)

  • Helpers

Always organise student helpers. I asked my Year 10 Cheney Heroes and some Year 12/13s to help. Get them to sign people in, serve food and drink and speak to the visitors. This is an excellent skill for the students to grasp and really shows others how amazing your school is. Ensure you bring them out to the front of the audience and thank them publicly too.

  • Important ‘others!’

Parking, do you need to reserve any bays- we did- especially Leon and Iris who were filming, they had equipment, make their life easy.

Handouts, in hindsight, all the various handouts left from our sponsors were a little excessive. Think about providing a folder? A bag? A way I ensure all looked through all the handouts was to add a symbol randomly on one of the handouts which connected to a prize!

Food/Drink, ensure you have plenty! I have found that people generally do not want lots of sandwiches, but more crisps, snacks, and little bits to eat. Our Christmas themed #TMOxford means we provide Mulled Wine and Mince pies too!

Names are important. We chose #TMOxford to prevent people thinking this event is restricted to secondary, or just teachers, or even educators from Cheney only. Think carefully about your branding!

Click here for a collection of tweets about/from/including #TMOxford

Click here for a blog by fantastic @ICTEvangelist about #TMOxford

Click here for all the presentations from #TMOxford

//www.touchcast.com/e/76178

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