Oswestry #TeachMeet Keynote

Herewith the text of the Keynote speech I made at the Oswestry #TeachMeet on 29/4/2015. The slides I used are here.

SLIDE 1: Splash page

SLIDE 2: Welcome, welcome, welcome... especially to those who have travelled far to be with us.

SLIDE 3: The format for the evening will look like this:

Particular thanks to our presenters -we're really looking forward to hearing what it is you've got to share.

SLIDE 4: As we change over between each speaker there will be a raffle - with these books up for grabs. This will allow a bit of time for the change over between presenters.

SLIDE 5: Now we've all felt like doing this to pupil mobile phones before - but tonight mobile phones and tablets are positively encouraged.

You'll notice that we've got a live Twitter feed either side of the hall on which your tweets will appear if you use the hashtag #ostm.

I've timed a few tweets to go out whilst I'm talking - do please join in the conversation. If you like this sort of thing you might be interested to know that there's a plugin for PowerPoint that tweets out when you change from one slide to the next.

I hope too you managed if you're a visitor to get a login for our WiFi to help you get online whilst you're here.

SLIDE 6: So what do I want to say? Well I'm a geographer so I hope you'll excuse me using a geographical metaphor. This slide helps me make my point, but also illustrates how easy it is to insert animated GIFs into Google slides. The net, and Twitter in particular, is like a river - it flows fast and you can't possibly take it all, but it's simply too inviting not to take a dip in it. Or to drink heavily from its waters from time to time.

SLIDE 7: I've spent the last three years doing this which has brought me into contact with a bewildering array of educators and clever interesting people from around the world.

SLIDE 8: I used a programme called NodeXL the connections I had with people who had last tweeted my name (handle) on Twitter. This is what the map looked like. A Common Room on steroids... Some of you here might even recognise yourselves.

SLIDE 9: Not a party political broadcast but, I couldn't resist showing you this. I blogged about my political leanings the other day as part of preparation for a talk I gave some of the pupils on the general election. Last night whilst watching Newsnight I tweeted this...

SLIDE 10: Anyway, after nearly 4 years of research I think what I've found can be best summed up by this little graphic. Building up a PLN on Twitter has been a transformative experience. I've been in one-to-one communications with people I could never have hoped to connect with in real life.

SLIDE 11: Some of you will already be on Twitter, so I won't bore you with the ins and outs of setting up an account, or how it works. It's very simple easy (and free!) to join. But if you do decide to start you could do worse than start with these thought leaders...

SLIDE 12: And what about keeping up with it all? The complaint I hear most from busy teachers is that they don't have time... Very quickly if you start following a lot of people your stream will become clogged. To go back to the river metaphor you'll start to drown.

I suggest using lists - I use TweetDeck to view these. you can then scroll through a filtered list of followers to see what you've missed and what interests you.

SLIDE 13: Blogtrottr


SLIDE 15: Nuzzel


SLIDE 17: And what about joining in yourself? Well Twitter is a place to start. But you might also want to get onto Staffrm.io It works a bit like Twitter, but is just for teachers and there's a more generous (but not too generous!) word limit of 500 words. I've found loads of useful things on it and started sharing what I do more openly using the platform.

SLIDE 18: Just by way of example I came across this wacky post from @Mrlockyer the other day. It got me thinking about really simple ways of engineering what you do in the classroom to change pupil behaviour.

SLIDE 19: There's a whole load of literature out there explaining how these things can be done. Children on the whole don't like to be told what to do, but their behaviour, or the choices they make, can be very easily changed by nudging them in the right direction or by creating conditions in which it takes more effort to do the wrong thing than the right thing....

Here are some examples, mainly from the hashtag #1smallthing on Staffrm.io

SLIDE 20: Standing by the door

SLIDE 21: Give me your shoe

SLIDE 22: Famous five

SLIDE 23: So there we have it. I just want to finish by talking about another piece of behavioural research that I think has a big effect on us as teachers.

Two questions were asked of visitors to the San Fransisco Exploratorium:


Mean response

Is the height of the tallest redwood more or less than 350 metres?

250 metres

Is the height of the tallest redwood more or less than 50 metres?

85 metres

The mean response appears on the right and shows clearly that those questioned were affected by the 'anchor' or the suggestion in the question.

Now you might think that you wouldn't fall for this trick, but you'd be wrong - the effect has been shown to work in a bewildering series of contexts, on adults as well as children. Anchoring has been shown to affect the sentencing of high court judges and the price estimates of estate agents. No one is immune.

This has all sort of implications for us as educators of course:
  1. we need to be wary of anchoring effects when asking questions of pupils
  2. and, of course, we need to be acutely aware of possible anchoring effects - good and bad - around the use of targets
But those aren't the points I want to make here. Teaching has traditionally been quite a closed door profession. You teach your own lessons, in your own classroom and apart from an inspection or SMT drop in from time to time no one really bothers you.

But the river is roaring outside and there is no need - or even excuse - for being isolated in this way any more. Anchoring effects are real and we owe it to ourselves and our pupils to look for the highest anchors we can find. Engaging in TeachMeets and joining the conversations online is part of this process of making sure you stay appropriately anchored....

Slide 24: ... and get out of the Goldfish bowl that is your own school, or your own classroom...

Slide 25: I want to finish by thanking those of you due to present tonight for getting out of your own bowls and to encourage all of you here to do the same.

And to share with you this quote which sums up rather nicely what I think is the spirit of the #TeachMeet movement...

comments powered by Disqus