PedagooEvents Guide

PedagooEventsThank you for considering organising a Pedagoo event. We’ve tried to put together a few tips for organising a Pedagoo-style event from our experience below.

Once you’ve organised your event please feel free to add to this guide using your experience by adding a comment below.

First of all, you need to check out the small list of conditions we’ve come with for using the name and ensure that you’re happy that your event will work within these. This just involves ensuring that you’re a member of Pedagoo.org and that your event:

  • is not for profit.
  • takes a longer format approach to sharing (i.e. primarily 30/40 minute Learning Conversations/Workshops as opposed to all 7/2 minute presentations – we’ve got nothing against TeachMeets, we’re just trying to add a bit of diversity to the mix).
  • is open to teachers from anywhere, even if primarily aimed at one particular area/local authority.

As the organiser, you take full responsibility for all aspects of the organisation of your event. We will help with the things we can, but it is your event. Pedagoo is run by classroom teachers in our spare time. We do not have any funding and therefore cannot support any events financially. Soz.

What does a Pedagoo event look like?

Pedagoo events typically take place on a Saturday and take a workshop-type approach to sharing. We used to call them workshops, but we renamed them ‘Learning Conversations’ in an attempt to make them more dialogue based. These are typically 40 minutes in length and powerpoint is discouraged. Timings differ from event to event, but here’s a rough suggestion:

0930 Registration
1000 Setting the Scene
1030 Learning Conversations 1
1110 Changeover
1120 Learning Conversations 2
1200 Lunch
1300 Learning Conversations 3
1340 Changeover
1350 Review & Reflect Session
1430 Synthesis of the Day
1500 Close

Some events go for a half day (morning or afternoon) format to reduce the catering issues. Our events are very similar to TeachMeets and are organised in a very similar way. The two major differences to a typical TeachMeet (by which I mean a TeachMeet which takes place in a weekday evening and consists primarily of 7/2 minute presentations) are the long-format workshops and them taking place on a Saturday to make this possible. Both of these can be barriers in terms of both making the organisation of the event more complex, and also in terms of recruiting teachers to attend on a Saturday. If you foresee these as being potential issues in your context, it would make much more sense for you to first organise a TeachMeet: http://teachmeet.pbworks.com

But what will organising the event actually involve?

Firstly, we’re more than happy to sort out stuff like a logo, a webpage and the signup forms.  You can do this stuff yourself if you want, but we’re happy to help with this. You can find logos to use to help promote your event here. We will use Google Forms to create your sign up forms and can share these with you via an @pedagoo.org email address which we will create for you.

You will obviously also need to:

  • Find a venue in your local area that you can have for free. It’ll need to have enough spaces for folk to break up into smaller groups for the ‘Learning Conversations’. Don’t worry too much about A/V facilities, in our opinion some of the best learning conversations occur when there are no A/V facilities and folk are forced to just sit round in a circle and talk to each other. Good places are community centres, libraries or even schools. If you can’t have the space for free you could approach a sponsor (which could even be your Local Authority) to pay for the venue and you can then pop their logo onto the logo for the event.
  • It’s great if you can have some sort of catering, but you don’t have to have it. Many events go for a half-day format so they don’t even need to think about lunch.
  • We’ve been asked what our philosophy is on sponsorship. We’re keen on running Pedagoo events with the least amount of sponsorship needed to make the event happen. If that’s £0, brilliant – but we recognise that this isn’t always practical. Work out what you need to make your event run, raise that amount of sponsorship and then say no to anyone else. We’re not keen on excessive sponsor presence at our events and we’re also not wild about raffles, prizes or big “keynotes” – we’re all about the professional dialogue.
  • You’ll need to promote the event in your area. We can do shout outs from the Pedagoo social media accounts if you mention us, but nothing is more effective than directly contacting folk. You’ll need to encourage some teachers you know to lead learning conversations and you’ll need to email all the teachers in your local area to let them know about the event. Your Local Authority might be able to help out with this.
  • Once everyone is signed up, you’ll need to prepare the learning conversations. This is the tricky bit, but it’s normally fine for teachers who tend to enjoy organising stuff like this. More on this in the next section below…
  • You’ll need to email everyone in advance of the day to let them know the plans for the day. You’ll also need some way to let folk know which Learning Conversations they’re in and when. The easiest way to do this would be to produce PDFs showing who is in which session then email this out to everyone and upload it to your webpage. If you have the time and resources, you could print out copies of this as well – but it’s ok to encourage folk to do this themselves from the email. As well as planning the sessions you’ll need to arrange where each session will be within your venue. The simplest way of doing this is to visit the venue, decide on the number of spaces and the capacity of each. Then give each space a name/number and draw up a simple map of the venue and attach this to your session plan. Depending on the size of your venue, this might just involve drawing up a simple room plan with numbers for the tables.
  • On the day itself, you’ll need to welcome everyone, explain the format, get it going, then relax and enjoy. Please remember that as well as the professional learning benefits which arise from the event itself, part of the purpose of our events is also to encourage participation in the online Pedagoo community. It is therefore a good idea to explain the collaborative nature of Pedagoo.org and encourage them to share their practice both there and on #PedagooFriday. If you have a lot of teachers who are very new to Pedagoo, it might be a good idea to show them this video as part of the introduction: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iPzIajaqi14

Organising the ‘Learning Conversations’ – the tricky bit!

Really, all a Pedagoo event involves is getting teachers into rooms and letting them talk to each other. However, the trickiest bit is getting teachers into the conversations they wanted to be part of. There are a number of different ways of approaching this, and it’s up to you how you do it.

The first decision is how you will recruit your ‘Learning Conversations’. There are two options:

  • You can simply recruit people you know to lead your ‘Learning Conversations’ behind the scenes and then when you launch the event it’s all ready for folk to sign up to. This is the simpler and quicker method, however, you risk missing out providing folk you don’t know from leading a ‘Learning Conversation’. It’s hard to grow the community and build on people’s experience and confidence if leading a ‘Learning Conversation’ is left in the hands of the organisers and who they happen to know.
  • The other method is that you first have a stage where people can openly submit their ‘Learning Conversations’ and then you move to a second open sign up stage. Whilst this takes longer and is more complex, this is the preferred method. It is more in tune with the open nature of the TeachMeet movement, which we’ve grown from, and it allows for folk who the organiser doesn’t know to take the leap and sign up to share their practice. In reality, we normally use a combination of the two – we tend to have an open submission for learning conversation leaders on the website and also approach teachers we know who would be ‘good’.

At some point you will need to close submission of new ‘Learning Conversations’ and open the event to general registration. We tend to put all the Learning Conversations into a PDF with a number or code for each conversation and have participants sign up through a Google form using these numbers to chose their Learning Conversations.

Once you have your programme of ‘Learning Conversations’ you have another two options as to how to proceed:

  • You can pre-arrange your learning conversations into your time sessions and have a limited choice for each of your sessions. For example, if you have 15 learning conversations and 3 sessions in your event, you could put 5 of your conversations into the first session, 5 in the second and 5 in the third. Then when people sign up they’re choosing their conversation for each session. You just need to keep an eye on the numbers signing up for each and close off any which are too popular. 10/15 in a session is a good maximum but you really don’t want to go much over 20. This is the simplest method, but restricts the choice of your participants. It’s a good idea to spread your conversations around so that in each session you have a mix of primary/secondary etc.
  • The alternative approach, is that you give a free choice of learning conversations when people are signing up and then arrange the session based on demand. It’s a good idea to ask for the number of choices equivalent to the number of time sessions in your event, plus two reserve choices. Once you close the event you then have the complex task of trying to give everyone what they want. This is really hard to explain. Basically, you open your choices in excel and start building it up piece by piece – then pulling your hair out when it doesn’t work – then starting again until it works. The advantage of this is that participants are more likely to get the programme of conversations which they want – but it is complex and time consuming to sort out. For this reason, unless you’re really confident and keen to allow a free choice we would recommend the first option above.

For more ideas it might be an idea to peruse previous Pedagoo events. If this all seems a bit much for you, you might wish to consider organising a TeachMeet instead.

Thank you for organising your Pedagoo event. Please get in touch if you have any further questions and remember to share your own tips below after your event.