We are keen supporters of TeachMeet Takeovers at BETT. We actually hosted the very first one by Tom Barrett in 2010 and, frankly, it was such a blast, we couldn’t wait to volunteer our stand for 2012.
This year we were lucky enough to have three teachers take over our stand, each of whom, in the spirit of TeachMeet, were more than happy to share their presentations with us so we could share them with you. What a wonderful world!
1. Mark Anderson (a.k.a. @ICTevangelist) kicked off with a crowded session on Thursday where he shared the “cornerstones” of his classroom: Web 2.0 tools you can use straight away. He managed to cram an unbelievable amount into just 15 minutes and told us about the following, to name just a few:
Popplet, a mindmapping tool that works on the iPad
2. On Friday, we were delighted to have Julia Skinner(a.k.a. @TheHeadsOffice) “let loose” [her own words] on the stand and tell us all about the 100 word challenge, a creative writing challenge which aims to spark the imagination of potentially reluctant writers. It’s truly awe-inspiring to see what kids have written and shared with a worldwide blogging (and tweeting) community.
3. And finally on Friday we had Phil Bagge (a.k.a. Baggiepr) take over the stand with an animated and engaging presentation about how easy and effective it is to blog in schools using an iPod Touch and Posterous.
There’s no shortage of post-BETT chatter clogging up the internet super highway this week and most folks can sum up their time far more eloquently than us, plus we were kind of tied to our stand for the duration, so we’ll keep this debrief…brief. Our highs, lows, and everything in between…
1. VIBs and a girl named Phoebe
For the past few years, we’ve invited VIBs (Very Important BrainPOPpers – expert BrainPOP Educators) to help us out on our stand. We figure it’s better for teachers to hear from teachers about BrainPOP than just a demo from us*. So a round of applause and huge thank you to Dawn Hallybone (@dawnhallybone), Charlie Deane (@charliedeane) and Ian Addison (@ianaddison) who all rolled up their sleeves and got stuck in for BrainPOP.
Special mention must go to an honorary VIB, who operated the stylus on the IWB for us when we showed BrainPOP movies on the Saturday afternoon, like only a 10 year old history fan can. She worked the board as competently as any dyed in the wool classroom teacher.
*Please note: we don’t actually pitch, that’s not how we roll.
2. TeachMeet Takeovers
Having been the host to the first ever TeachMeet Takeover in 2010, we were keen to offer up our stand once again. On Thursday we watched Mark Anderson (@ictevangelist) present on Web 2.0 tools you can use straight away, followed by Friday appearances from Julia Skinner (@TheHeadsOffice) who kindly shared what she’s been up to with her 100 word challenge, and Phil Bagge (@Baggiepr) who talked about using Posterous on the iPod touch. We’ll be doing a post shortly showcasing all of their presentations – there’s too much to fit in here – so stay tuned and watch this space!
It wasn’t a Takeover but we also welcomed Mr Handley’s class who presented a masterclass in BrainPOP. They were incredible and a real highlight of the show for us. This presentation deserves a full blog post to itself so look out for that. In the meantime see the post they wrote up on their BETT visit.
Mr Handley's class meets Moby at BETT 2012
3. The heart-stopping moment when your wi-fi fails
We were so excited about our “media counter“. We were finally going to be able to show off just how flexible BrainPOP is: For use at school, home, and on the go. BrainPOP can be accessed via the Sony PS3, various flash-enabled tablet devices, and also our free app for iPad, iPod touch and iPhone. We were also keen to hear Dawn Hallybone’s top 5 educational apps.
However, none of this is possible if your wi-fi connection fails. And fail it did!
It’s fair to say we were pretty devastated about both of the above but have learnt a good lesson for forthcoming years. Do not rely on wi-fi at BETT.
4. Are you using iPads, iPod touch or iPhones in school?
A question we asked everyone we spoke to. And it seemed for every teacher with access to iPods or iPads in school, there were another three who were visiting BETT to help them make a decision: Is there enough content available to justify the spend on such devices?
While we can’t speak for other suppliers, we are well aware of the growing multitude of helpful apps and tools available for mobile devices which can be used in schools. As we’ve mentioned many times now, we’ve got a free app you can download from iTunes and start using it today. You’ll find top tips for classroom use available on our Mobile page.
5. The goodies, the goodies!
As ever, BrainPOP goodies seemed to go down a storm. But, when we’re surrounded by suppliers who seem to be offering less and less giveaways on their stands each year, we’ve got to wonder whether it’s truly worthwhile having them.
What do you think? As a teacher, does it make any difference whether you get something to take away and share with your class? Or, does it all end up in the bin at the end of the day anyway? We implore you to let us know.
6. Evaluate BrainPOP? No bother
If you spoke to any of the BrainPOP team at BETT you’ll know that this year we opted to set up a generic free trial for the event. This meant that anyone could walk away and log in to BrainPOP as soon as they liked; no messing with emails and activation links and all that jazz.
Not only did we make the free trial process as simple as can be, we created evaluation booklets, each with a photocopiable topic sheet so your class could complete an evaluation of BrainPOP for you. Download the PDF here if you didn’t manage to grab a copy last week:
Click image to download
7. Moby does the robot
Erm, there are no words?
(iPod touch, iPhone and iPad are all trademarks of Apple Inc.)
We’re extremely proud to have sponsored, supported and enjoyed TeachMeets, of all flavours, for over 2 years.
But now the time has come to withdraw our TeachMeet sponsorship package, as graciously as we can.
There’s a number of reasons for this, and it’s not a decision we make lightly or on impulse. But before we explain how we’ve reached this point it’s worth reflecting on how we got here.
The first TM we sponsored was TeachMeet SLF September 2009, on request of Ollie Bray (who was a keen BrainPOP user himself). At the time there wasn’t a visual way of explaining the core concepts of TeachMeet. Ollie knew that a bespoke BrainPOP movie might be just the ticket to explaining TeachMeet to those teachers who were unfamiliar with it.
We sat nervously in the audience at the TeachMeet at the BBC center in Glasgow and waited for our animation to play, burning with embarrassment and anticipation as to how it would go down. Luckily it was well recieved (even with a little ripple of applause!) and we could get on with enjoying the TeachMeet.
This approach proved popular; REALLY popular. We had so many sponsorship requests that we formalised a TeachMeet sponsorship package which included a bespoke movie to help publicise the event, TM badges, a prize of a subscription for any raffle and free trial cards to help that happen – a pick and mix approach. This simple up front method really helped us and the TM organisers. In return we only asked for our logo on the wiki and a link back. If the event organiser did their own thing or requested more involvement on the night that was up to them.
We’ve always been clear that our help was more about promotion of the event. The TM movie was often played to kick off proceedings, for TM newbies and to re-emphasise the aims of the gathering (but as TMs often attract as many old hands as new, it could be seen to have become rather over familiar). We’ve met and formed friendships with 100′s of TM attendees & organisers. We sometimes “lurked” but NEVER presented, and joined in only when invited. We tried to offer our support in the spirit of TeachMeets (as tricky as that may be to define, and probably means different things to different people) and we’d like to think we’ve been advocates of TeachMeets, rather than simply “sponsors”.
So why are we withdrawing our sponsorship?
If it’s come to pass that sponsoring a TeachMeet could make us look worse than if we didn’t (partly due to our ubiquity & partly due to the increasingly vocal disavowal and confusion over corporate involvement), then it’s time to step away.
If sponsorship has simply become a box ticking exercise, then it’s time to step away.
We too find sales pitches in TMs to be distasteful and commercial needs “muscling in” disappointing. As Ian Addison, one of the organisers at BETT 2011, said to a presenter who was stretching to breaking point the boundaries of ‘classroom practice vs sales’ demo: “Yes, thank you, but we can all use Google to find resources“. The open source nature of the format has been key to its wild and explosive growth, which, by definition, will also bring growing pains.
Do you need a “sponsor” (or commercial involvement) to host a TeachMeet? No, of course you don’t.
Can you host a valuable and enjoyable TeachMeet with sponsorship? Of course you can (as has been proved time and again).
Is there such a thing as a “perfect Teachmeet”? No, no more than there is a perfect way to teach or learn.
But, leaving aside the ethical debate (for truth be told it’s not our business how TMs should or shouldn’t work), the main reason for this choice is having seen 2 years of TeachMeet development we question is there a need for sponsorship at all? Look at Iain Hallahan’s new “TeachMeet 365” project for inspiration. His initiative has made this decision easier.
Perhaps, ultimately, “sponsor” is the wrong word to use when dealing with commercial parties and creates certain connotations that aren’t acceptable or applicable to a TeachMeet. What you’re actually seeking are “benefactors”, “patrons” or possibly “collaborators”.
TeachMeets are amazing in any form, size, complexity or ambition – go to one if you get the chance.
There’s still 10′s of 1000′s of teachers who have never heard of TeachMeet, and we’ll continue to support and evangelise the TeachMeet model where we can.
But to be clear – from this point forward, unless we can deliver real value e.g. the new wave of TeachMeets in Australia or TM Takeovers, we will no longer be offering sponsorship.
Hello! It’s Jude again – your friendly Northern BrainPOPper, giving you the lowdown on the goings on oop north.
Over the past couple of months, I’ve attended a couple of TeachMeets. Partly to see what they were all about, and partly in my role as official ambassador to his Moby-ness. We sponsor a fair number, you see.
I found TeachMeets inspirational. Not just for the amazing & creative ideas the teachers share with each other, but due to the simple fact that these educators are so passionate about what they do. They gather together in their own spare time to enthuse and help each other.
Last week I attended the first ever Kidsmeet in Blackpool. The website describes it as an event “…looking for learners to do the talking. To share the things that have made a difference to them, to talk through projects that have inspired them or to recount a moment that changed their approach to learning” but as this is a KIDSmeet I’ll let them do the talking.
If the idea of teachers being excited enough about teaching to get together is ground breaking, the idea of kids being excited enough about their learning, to get together to share with other kids, is…universe breaking (is there such a thing?).
On the day we saw 12 presentations given by kids from Yr 1 to Yr 6, on a range of topics from warm-up drama games to Twitter. Most schools spoke as groups of 4-5 although one very brave young lady did a presentation all on her own.
One of the highlights for me was Greenpark Primary talking about Google Apps. They said it was “great…because you don’t have to use a pencil” and “you can have a partner to work with without having to sit next to them”.
Lots of schools enthusiastically talked about blogging . One student said “I think Blogging is as easy as opening a packet of crisps”. Another said “Blogging is good for your brain”.
Voki (create speaking avatars to embed on a webpage)
Glogster (create interactive posts from your media)
All the kids who spoke were incredibly brave as there was an audience of around 150 people and all the presentations were interesting .
But I can’t deny the presentation I was looking forward to most was “Digital Film Making and Orange Robots” from Staining Primary.As the event progressed I kept looking around at the Staining Primary kids. They had been chosen to speak last, and I wondered if the tension might be getting to them?
No…cool as cucumbers.
Finally they got to speak about a mini horror movie they’d made when they entered one of our competitions, with Tim & Moby as the main characters. They talked about how they learned to edit, act, script write, direct and lots more.
They delivered their presentation clearly and confidently, and, might I add, got the biggest laughs of the day!
Everything was soooo professionally done from the title credits to the presentation slides. Watching the Staining Tim and Moby Movie on the big screen made it look even better. Everyone should be incredibly proud of themselves. You can see their movie below:
The day ended in with the young BrainPOPpers (and Mr Maloney) accosting me and taking all my Moby badges. But that’s OK - you guys definitely earned them.
Your bravery and enthusiasm will hopefully inspire other kids around the world to run their own Kidsmeets.
Much like the Edinburgh festival many of the more interesting activities at the BETT show happen on the fringe. Although with Learning Without Frontiers, TEDX, Collabor8 4 Change and the TeachMeet being sold out it seems what was the fringe a few years ago is now challenging the mainstream for why teachers throng to London in mid January.
One of the most exciting of these developments is the TeachMeet Takeovers, where a commercial supplier gives their stand over to a classroom practitioner to present on a free tool, service or learning experience that they want to share. We really like this idea as it appeals to the BrainPOP ethos that places, above all else, the learner at the heart of things. And it feels deliciously rebellious too
We had 4 teachers present their Takeovers – Dan Roberts, Alessio Bernardelli, Ian Guest and Bill Lord. Each one of them was erudite, interesting and entertaining. We uploaded some recordings of them below. We really do recommend you take the time to watch them, you will walk away enriched with practical ideas to take into your classroom.
Bill Lord, aka @Joga5, talking about his Year 1 “Giraffeclass” in which he employed Twitter as a tool for literacy:
Ian Guest aka @ianinsheffield gives a TeachMeet Takeover entitled “Poll Dancing – Using online tools for formative assessment, eliciting opinion & stimulating discussion”. He recommends some really excellent free Poll tools and best practice on how to use them in the classroom.
At BETT 2009/10 we were “up in the Gods”, on the gallery section overlooking the Grand Hall. A sweet spot, but not too easy to find and not much space for Moby to bust out his moves.
Moby on our old 2010 BETT stand
For 2011 we’ve graduated to the ground floor of the Grand Hall, stand No.B60, right in the middle next to the stairs and the RM stand. It’s a modest sized space compared to some of the monolithic structures that surround us but we promise it will be one of the most social and fun stands you visit.
Each day we’ll be meeting lots of current and future BrainPOP Educators and demoing ALL the BrainPOP products and features, including BrainPOP ESL and BrainPOP Jr. Of course there will also be a scintillating array of BrainPOP goodies for you to take back to school to show off.
Here’s a few more reasons you should come and visit our stand:
We’ll be joined by a number of VIBs – BrainPOP teachers (including Dawn Hallybone, Ian Addison, Tim Handley, Adina Popa, Tom Sale and James Mahoney) who have kindly given up a few hours to show how they effectively use BrainPOP in their classrooms, both 1-2-1 and presenting on our Interactive Whiteboard. They will have their own special VIB tshirts – keep an eye out for them as not only are they passionate about BrainPOP, they are great exponents of relevant and modern ICT practice.
We’re hosting TeachMeet Takeovers at 2pm on Thurs/Fri (maybe Saturday too). This is when we hand the stand over to a real teacher who gives a presentation about free tools and services that they’ve used in the classroom. We’re honoured and priviliged to have the inspiring Alessio Bernardelli and Dan Roberts doing a tag team Takeover on Thursday about “Using Livestream to create and broadcast pupils work as a TV Show & Chicken Pecha Kucha 20×20 free tech tools” and the fantastic Bill Lord (who is a wonderfully infectious speaker) talking about “Amazing free tools to fire up literacy learners“. You do NOT want to miss these.
Moby’s Photobooth – come and get a Polaroid portrait picture taken with the big orange fella himself, to treasure forever. His Photobooth will be open most of the show, except when he needs a break to oil his sprockets.
BrainPOP Spotters! If you visit the BrainPOP stand, get a demo and pick up a special Moby shoulder bag make sure you proudly display it when you’re wandering around the exhibition. Why? Because at 2pm each day Moby will be wandering the exhibition hall looking for a BrainPOP bag. If he “spots” yours then you’ve won a full year’s subscription to the BrainPOP product of your choice. Woot!
BrainPOPpers will also be attending these events:
Learning Without Frontiers (Drinks reception sponsor and general hob-nobbing – please grab a BrainPOPper if you see one and say hola).
Share best-practice ideas that you can take away and implement in your school
Collabor8 with like-minded, award-winning ICT innovators that are willing to share
Join discussion sessions that will challenge thinking and inspire change
What would I get from it?
All attendees will benefit from the experience and conversation with leading ICT practitioners as they openly share best practice use of hardware and software, with an emphasis on the impact on pupil outcomes and making effective use of existing ICT resources.
With an impressive, thought-provoking, mixture of exciting table-based sessions and focused mini-note presentations from ICT experts such as:
Hannah Jones (Former Special Projects Director at NCSL)
One of the organisers, an Oxford teacher called Matt Lovegrove, kindly asked us to sponsor. We didn’t hesitate to sign up and created one of our special Tim & Moby movies to help him promote the event and support those who have never been to a TeachMeet before understand more about its purpose.
We’re based in Oxford and, as this was also Oxfordshire’s first official TeachMeet, I decided to contribute. I gave a 2 min nano-presentation about a personal idea I have been brewing with Doug Belshaw called ” #positiveparent ” which, though not ready for full release, was clear enough to share in an unconference setting. Thanks especially to Nicki Wise and Sheenagh Broadbent who were full of ideas and constructive support for ways forward on this afterwards.
Doug Belshaw, unable to make it from the North East to Oxford, instead created an awesome video for the night called “Models of Learning” which discusses the Puentedura’s SAMR model (Substitution – Augmentation – Modification – Redefinition) and Boyer’s model of scholarship. This fascinating presentation captures why he is one of the most authentic, valuable and challenging voices in my learning network. It’s really worth a watch and I’ve embedded it below:
“In this short presentation, Eylan will demonstrate how BrainPOP’s experience of learning, in a range of global settings, languages and settings, has shown that there are key behaviours and lessons that can be shared to improve best practice for all 21st Century Educators. In the networks that BrainPOP takes part in, whether it be BrainPOPEducators, TeachMeets, BrainPOP Maestros, or in our PLNs, they talk to and understand the work that some of the most effective teachers are engaged in –using BrainPOP as the contextual hub. Eylan hopes to provide time and stimulus for debate – especially around the overuse of the word ‘Creativity’!”
I would urge you to listen to some of the other amazing speakers – the full listing of which can be found here. Thanks to all those who joined in at the time, and those that have watched since and for their kind comments.
Last week Moby and The BrainPOPpers went to Glasgow to the Scottish Learning Festival 2010 to talk about the wonderful world of BrainPOP to Scottish teachers.
Glasgow's Armadillo building
We had a blast – the teachers were so friendly and welcoming. LTScotland is currently integrating a new curriculum – the Curriculum for Excellence – so it was a particularly interesting time to be there.
Here are our Top 5 moments at SLF 2010…
1: Meeting lots (and lots) of Scottish teachers on the XMA Apple stand. Our resident Scottish BrainPOP UK Ambassador, Kim Conway, was demoing BrainPOP UK, showing off our Curriculum for Excellence tagging and giving out our very special Scottish Moby badges. Which we ran out of they were so popular. We’ll have to get more for next year.
Moby gives the thumbs up to SLF 2010
Kim Conway demoing Brainpop UK
Moby gets the girl(s)
2: Meeting Scottish fans and putting faces to Twitter names! We have been lucky enough to make a number of friends up in Scotland in the last 12 months, but most of them were virtual. This time though we could say hi in the flesh and they could get to meet Moby. You can read Jenny’s (on right) account of SLF 2010 on her blog “Student ponderings“.
Moby meets Ann Marie and Jenny at SLF 2010
3: Demoing BrainPOP UK on the Promethean stand. The crowds gathered in large numbers to see Eylan Ezekiel showing off BrainPOP UK resources, including a sneak preview of the Active Expression POPquiz integration, with Promethean ActivInspire and Learner Response Systems. And, because we know how tiring exhibitions can be, the crowd were offered an apple or a cupcake. Can you believe it – the cupcakes proved more popular!
Moby watching the Promethean demo
4: Sponsoring the TeachMeet. We are always proud to be asked to be involved, in any way, large or small, with a TeachMeet. This year the famous SLF TeachMeet took place in the famous “Armadillo” building opposite the Exhibition hall. Moby was chuffed to be asked to wave people into the hall, although the security guards wouldn’t let anyone take any photographs (boo!).
It was this time last year that we premiered our very first TeachMeet movie and we were more than happy to create a brand, new revised version that incorporates some of the changes that TeachMeet has gone through in the last 12 months. Afterwards most of us headed off to the TeachEat to sample some famous Glaswegian curry. Moby didn’t come to that – he had to be in bed. He’d had a long day.
Our new TeachMeet movie premieres at TeachMeet SLF 2010!