Through The Camera Eye — TMSLFringe 2012

Cross posted to “If You Don’t Like Change…

The first Pedagoo organised Scottish Learning Fringe TeachMeet has ended, but I for one hope that it will have a widespread impact. Judging by the immediate feedback, that’s not such a daft hope.

I was up at the crack of dawn last Saturday morning to travel down to Glasgow for the #TMSLFringe. This first attempt at a Pedagoo un-conference was something I had long been looking forward to… with equal measures of excitement (at meeting people and sharing ideas) and nervousness (what if no-one comes and it’s a disaster). As it turned out, I had no need to be nervous!

The venue was SocietyM and was — quite simply — magnificent. Idiosyncratic and welcoming, and more than one person there was heard to ask: what if a classroom was like this? What I wouldn’t give to take a class (or two) down there for a day and see what we could produce in a modern and funky environment. (If anyone fancies sponsoring me to do this, my email is scottishteacher@gmail.com!).

Having arrived a little before 9, I had a chance to catch up with Ian, Fearghal, and Kenny for a few minutes before the participants began to filter in. I think it fair to say that we were more than a little apprehensive with regards the day… what if no-one came? What if it was a disaster? What if…

Once people began arriving en masse, the venue came into its own. Lots of space, lots of interesting artefacts on the walls, lots of conversation starters…

I managed to snatch a quick chat with Joe Wilson who, for the day, was most definitely not from the SQA! As ever, I was struck by just how switched on and enthusiastic he is… and this set the tone for the rest of the day. Without exception, this was a day for the enthusiasts… as someone said to me later, Pedagoo is like a staffroom for the optimists… how true!

At pretty close to the scheduled 10am, Fearghal started us off by thanking ELT Consultants and Wesleyan who were responsible for finding and funding the venue. Then it was over to the Real David Cameron to set the scene. I wish I could remember all he said, but I was panicking at the reality of having to present about how I’m approaching the E&Os and apart from the memorable references to his leather jacket, will need to leave it to others to report his words. 😉

My three sessions appear to have been well received, and I’ll write up what I was saying next!

Lunch was fine, though the space age coffee machine managed to tax the abilities of many… put it down as a new Experience and Outcome!

The afternoon was given over to reflection on the day, and what we could do next. Our discussion was shaped by the following questions:

  • What have you learned today that you could use on Monday?
  • What have you learned today that you could use a year from now?
  • What can we (Pedagoo) to to support this?

There are plenty of other posts about this and rather than rehash them here, I suggest you go and read Claire’s “Learning How To Learn“, Ann’s “Workshop 9 — Thoughts“, Kenny’s “Workshop 8 — Feedback” or Ruth’s brilliant “Pedagoo — Inception” moment!

There are also write ups of the various sessions from the presenters to be read on the Pedagoo site itself… which leads me to my final point: if you like what you see on Pedagoo, join in! The real strength of the day was not the fact that it happened, it was the realisation that we are a community of educators who learn better together, who improve through speaking and sharing with others, and who care deeply and passionately that we need to do the best we can for those we are privileged to teach. A personal highlight came when, after 5 hours of the most extraordinary CPD imaginable, David Cameron drew us back together and charged us with continuing to spread the word and to continue building what we have begun…

Saturday was the first Pedagoo Fringe meeting… I think it fair to say, it won’t be the last. I hope to see you at the next one! 😉

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