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Scottish Learning Festival - Mini presentations make micro waves for ideas

News | Published in TESS on 18 September, 2009 | By: Douglas Blane

Minimalism can be unsatisfying in art and music. But “less is more” often works well in education, particularly in the series of mini presentations at the Scottish Learning Festival known as TeachMeet.

They’re not really mini presentations, since participants choose between delivering a micro presentation in seven minutes, or a nano presentation that gives them two minutes to get their message across.

Other rules of this “informal gathering of those curious about teaching and technology” are few and simple. It’s for teachers to share ideas that have worked in the classroom. It’s not for selling anything. There are no PowerPoint presentations. There is no running over time.

Despite these restrictions - or perhaps because of them - participants at previous years’ TeachMeets are enthusiastic: “It’s real teachers talking about real experiences,” says Glow development manager Andrew Brown. “No spin, marketing or advertising.”

“You hear about ground-up classroom innovation,” says SQA’s head of new ventures, Joe Wilson - “and breathe the same air as enthusiasts for educational transformation.”

“Teachers use it as a chance to find out how others have ‘managed change’, says science teacher and East Lothian technology specialist David Gilmour. “I’m often asked how we’ve been able to do things that in other authorities are prevented by tech shackles.”

“I had great conversations with colleagues from around the UK and further afield,” says geography teacher and national adviser for emerging technologies Ollie Bray. “It’s just the best form of CPD for teachers.”

Micro presentations include: Iain Hallahan on Getting around a SMART Table; Neil Winton on Putting your feet up - getting pupils to learn for themselves; Nick Hood on Reaching students with new media; Jaye Richards on Using Wii and Guitar Hero to teach physics.

Nano presentations include: Con Morris on How to get free CPD; John Davitt on Making your own interactive notebooks; David Muir on Vote with Twitter.

When the presentations are over, the conversation continues at a nearby restaurant called TeachEat.

TeachMeet is part of the festival fringe, at BBC Scotland, Pacific Quay, September 23, 6-9pm.

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