'TED talks for teachers' comes to University of Sydney

17 May 2013

TeachMeet is a dynamic and informal network of teachers that connects through Facebook and Twitter and meets to share ideas about teaching.

This Thursday the University of Sydney was the first tertiary institution to host a TeachMeet get-together, with more than 150 primary and secondary teachers attending.

Amy McBurney, a Year 5 BA, BEd student at the University of Sydney, along with the support of the Faculty of Education and Social Work, and the student group EDSoc, coordinated this on-campus event, which featured 16 micropresentations of 3–7 minutes each.

"I call TeachMeets 'TED talks for teachers'", she said, "because they consist of 'micro-presentations' – up to 7 minutes long – of teaching strategies and ideas that academics, and practising and student teachers, have developed or found useful in their own teaching experience."

TeachMeets originated in the UK in 2005 and since then have become a popular form of professional development for teachers all over the world.

The meetings are free and a world away from the mandatory professional development usually associated with teacher professional learning.

McBurney said that most formalised teacher professional development has difficulty keeping up with the rapid pace of technological change, but that the dynamic structure of TeachMeet enables a more spontaneous response to new ideas.

"Something that sets these events apart from other professional development events is the participants extensive engagement with ICTs and media. Twitter is the means by which feedback is given, with all participants encouraged to create their own Twitter account to keep connected with those you meet through the events," McBurney said.

"The teachers that attend these events are leading the charge with regards to technology use, both inside and outside the classroom."

"There is an incredibly large network connecting through Facebook and Twitter sharing ideas and resources," she added.

Dr Jen Scott Curwood, from the Sciences and Technologies of Learning Research Network at the University of Sydney, will be presenting on how Twitter can be used to engage students in the classroom; and Tony Loughland, a senior lecturer from the Faculty of Education and Social Work, will be presenting on active learning.

"The main idea behind this event," said McBurney, "is to begin to break down the barriers that exist between academic, practicing and student teachers, and to highlight the value of collegiality, not only between immediate colleagues, but on a larger, more community-oriented level. I want to show teachers everywhere that it doesn't matter how experienced you are, there's always something to learn from those around you."

Contact: Jacqueline Chowns

Phone: 02 9036 5404; 0434 605 018

Email: 102948240d23165a2533011543354f2d2117221d50005d1e4d0d22414a3733