You may be familiar with the TeachMeet concept, but did you know it was coming up for its fifth birthday? To celebrate, Ewan McIntosh has issued the #tm5 challenge – Ian Guest (@ianinsheffield) has a good post on it here: http://ianinsheffield.wordpress.com/2011/01/16/tm5/ .
This challenge kind of merged with some thoughts I had had during the TeachMeet research I undertook last year – and during the #tmfuture discussion – about trying to extend the reach of TeachMeets beyond the predominantly ‘niche’ market of technophiles it had. I had heard people talking about how TeachMeets were just for those heavily into ICT, and whilst at the TeachMeets I have attended or heard of this is to a certain extent true, I felt that if this was allowed to continue it could become a hindrance. At the same time, I would not have wanted to risk upsetting anyone in the TeachMeet community – especially those who created the concept – and did not feel I could go ‘trampling’ over the conventions and guidelines they had set down for TeachMeets. However, when the opportunity presented itself to interview Ewan McIntosh about TeachMeet, it became clear that there was a recognition that TeachMeet had to change to evolve, and that far from discouraging this the TeachMeet community were ready and willing to engage with it.
A number of changes began to show in various TeachMeets, including my own non-techie presentation at TMSEG10 (for which I was branded a ‘rebel’ by David Muir!) and slowly the idea of trying to organise a TeachMeet themed around outdoor learning started to grow legs and dance around my head. When the #tm5 challenge was thrown down by Ewan, and chatter started again about widening the TeachMeet ‘audience’, it seemed like an opportune moment to try it.
So here we are!
I approached four colleagues to moot the idea, and was so encouraged by their positive responses I got to work on a wiki to help plan the event, which by this time had been christened ‘TeachMeet Beyond’ as it is about learning beyond the classroom. The wiki is a bit short on concrete details at the moment, but it has a number of suggestions and space to discuss them.
So is this do-able? If it is to work, as with any TeachMeet, this event will need to be crowdsourced. Do you have something to offer? Could you get involved? Do you have any other ideas for venues/speakers/dates/sponsors(?), or any suggestions at all? Please head over to the wiki and join in the discussion.