The TeachMeet trend building tech skills in regional classrooms
TeachMeet is the conference alternative helping teachers to make the most of technology in their classrooms.
TeachMeet is an informal gathering for teachers to come together and share good practice and personal insights into education, particularly the use of technology.
Organised by a teacher or group of teachers, TeachMeet’s have been described as ‘unconferences’ because of the relaxed style. Participants are encouraged to share their own ideas and experiences in just seven minutes.
The original TeachMeet was held in a pub in Scotland in 2006, and the concept made its way to Australia in 2011 with the first event held in Sydney.
TeachMeets in Australia have the strongest following in the major cities, particularly Sydney. But a number of passionate individuals are bringing the movement to regional Australia.
Jacques du Toit has been instrumental in bringing TeachMeet to the Fraser Coast. He was first introduced to the idea by Matthew Esterman, an educator and entrepreneur, who has been a driving force behind TeachMeet Sydney.
TeachMeet Fraser Coast is gaining traction, and has recently partnered with the University of the Sunshine Coast. Participants range from teaching students to head teachers with decades of experiences working at in all levels of education, including early childhood right through to tertiary.
Du Toit is a big advocate for the value of technology in the classroom. He recently ran an activity with his senior students using Twitter. Students created Twitter accounts as well-known Aztecs and they were encouraged to ‘live Tweet’ historical events and connect them together using hashtags. The idea for the activity was inspired by a similar initiative du Toit had heard about at a TeachMeet. It was so successful it was picked up by education bloggers in Australia and internationally.
We often talk about how important 21st century skills like tech literacy are for kids, but teachers need these same skills in order to build them in their students. TeachMeet is an opportunity for educators to access new ideas and practical examples that have already been road-tested by their peers.
With TeachMeet Fraser Coast gaining momentum, du Toit is turning his attention to the whole of Queensland. In collaboration with teachers from all across the state, du Toit is building a website, Facebook and Twitter base for TeachMeet QLD to create a connection point for other teachers looking to get something started in their own town.
If you want to find out more or you are interested in holding a TeachMeet in your community, get in touch. Email us at [email protected] or leave a comment below and we will connect you to organisers.
Is there an innovative initiative in your community using technology to educate and upskill regional students? Let us know about the initiative and who’s behind it – connect with the RAI to share the story with a national audience so we can recognise the people who are making regional communities great places to live and learn.