The organisers of the BETT 2009 ICT and learning show scheduled for Olympia, London, in January have issued a call for proposals for the seminar stream. They are prioritising contributions from teachers sharing innovative classroom practice, and how to exploit emerging technologies for classroom use.
They have also indicated that Olympia's Apex room is available for TeachMeet sessions for the three evenings of the show. "What we want to show BETT visitors is the innovative practice that teachers have successfully developed. using what is currently available," says Martin Jack, of Thinkdifferentevents, who runs the seminars for BETT organisers EMAP.
"We want to show them what it looks like, how it works and how it engages learning. The second issue is for the people who are thinking ahead. How can emerging technologies be best used for classroom practice? The TeachMeet community is important here - how are they looking to research and test emerging technologies in the classroom? We have to see how we can get locally developed practice shared and recognised nationally and internationally."
"What we will have in 2010 will be very targeted and focused seminar streams. If you want to know about policy and strategy, we will have it from the Government and its agencies.
"If you want to know about innovative classroom practice and emerging technology we will have that too, and this is particuloarly important for national projects like Building Schools for the Future where the clear focus is on transforming learning. And then there will be the 'unofficial' seminar events going on with exhibitors on their stands. We will be informing visitors of these too."
More than 6,000 people attended BETT 2009 seminars, an increase of more than 20 per cent on the previous year. The most popular sessions were by, Professor Stephen Heppell, Tim Byles, Sue Horner, Jim Knight MP and Clare Johnson. (The seminars are free on the day, but £15 for those who wish to book places - attendance at TeachMeet is free).
Three-day TeachMeet an ambitious challenge
The offer to the TeachMeet community has great potential. Last year's TeachMeet event at BETT was a tremendous success and the "movement" continues to spread across the UK and overseas. Three nights at BETT 2010 would be the most ambitious challenge so far.
Because TeachMeet is an "unconference" - the focus is on the visitors and their "agenda", which emerges on an online wiki, with a heavy accent on openness and informality - there are certain sensitivities. Which is why Jacky (as Martin Jack is known) is careful to stress that the offer is open and genuine. He also runs the seminars the the Scottish Learning Festival where TeachMeet originally emerged.
"I respect the spirit and ethos of TeachMeet," says Jacky, "and want to support it in the appropriate manner. We can make the Apex Room at Olympia available - with A/V facilities - for three nights of TeachMeet if required. But it would be good to know early on so that there is plenty of time to make sure that any BETT TeachMeet achieves maximum success."
Teachers/schools who want to share innovative practice and classroom work with emerging technologies in BETT 2010 seminars should register their intereston the BETT website