Monday, May 13, 2013

TeachMeets: discussion on 21st May


The next online journal club will take place at 8pm UK time (see here for times elsewhere in the world) on Tuesday 21st May here on this blog, as a discussion in blog comments.

The topic will be TeachMeets - originating in the schools sector, a TeachMeet is an ‘unconference’, organised by teachers for teachers. The TeachMeet has been adapted into the LibTeachMeet, with the first Library TeachMeet taking place in Cambridge in 2010. 

The role of librarian as teacher has gained increasing prominence over the last few years, with a range of conferences, resources and networks appearing to support this. Many librarians do gain some kind of teaching qualification, but this formal education can be complemented by informal sharing of ideas through events such as TeachMeets. 

The following article gives the background and provides the starting point for our discussion:
Chapter: Tumelty, N., Kuhn, I., & Birkwood, K. (2012). TeachMeet: Librarians, learning from each other. In P. Godwin & J. Parker (Eds.),Information,Literacy Beyond Library 2.0 (pp. 191-201).  London: Facet Publishing.  http://www.dspace.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/244069

As well as running a LibTeachMeet in Newcastle (ToonLibTeachmeet), I’ve recently been attending some teachers’ teachmeets to gain inspiration. My blog post about this could provide some ideas for discussion: 


Whether you’ve been involved in organising or participating in a LibTeachMeet, or are simply interested in the concept, join in our discussion. 

Questions
  • What do you think of the concept?
  • In what way are TeachMeets for librarians different?
  • What techniques did you find successful? What didn’t work?
  • Why do you think there haven’t been more LibTeachMeets?
  • How could you see TeachMeets changing? What would you like to see?
  • How else could librarians support each other in their roles as teachers?
Further Links

111 comments:

  1. I am thinking of running a Teachmeet this autumn at Staffordshire University. Thank you for your blog Helen!

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  2. Thanks for ŷour comment Eleanor, I hope you can join the discussion this evening! We're starting in just over half an hour.

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  3. I'm gearing myself up for this evenings discussion. Looking forward to it.

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  4. Hi, looking forward to the discussion, which will start at 8pm UK time (in 20 minutes). Some hints for discussion are:
    - Refresh the page often, to see the latest conversations
    - Please use "reply" to a comment if you are commenting on the same topic as the blog comment. Otherwise post a new comment (and if you aren't sure - just do what you feel like ;-)

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  5. Hi! Looking forward to the discussion!

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  6. It's 8pm, welcome to the chat. Will we start with introductions? I've been involved in the Cambridge TeachMeets and am looking forward to hearing other experiences!

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  7. Hi I've run one library teachmeet and been attending some teachers teachmeets recently. I've also been involved in running the LAT Network site which is/was another attempt to bring Librarians together to share ideas about teaching.

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    1. with all that experience, what do you think is the difference between the online sharing, and the teachmeets you've been invlved in?

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  8. Hello, I haven't been involved in Teachmeets yet, but we were thinking of holding one at Sheffield. I had a question to Niamh or Isla. You mention "much better balance was achieved between presentations and networking" in the 2nd Cambridge Teachmeet - do you think, then that it is important to have networking and presentations featuring equally?

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    1. Yes - I think it's really easy to get isolated in libraries, so that you only speak to people in your subject area (if you're in an academic library) or in your type of library (I don't meet many school librarians, for example), so having a chance to meet people out of my "zone" was great.

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    2. also, at our first teachmeet, I think we underestimated how much people value the opportnity to meet the people they already know quite well, but don't see very often. Also I think the first event had a bit more of a time constraint.

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    3. I suspect it varies hugely from group to group, with some focussing more on the presentations and others on the additional informal learning. It's be interested in Helen's experience of 'real' TeachMeets and what kind of balance they struck there - as well as in the Toon TeachMeets, obviously!

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    4. From Helen's write-up in her blog http://hblanchett.wordpress.com/2013/04/23/tmblakes13-a-teachmeet-with-real-live-teachers-and-real-live-music/ it sounded fairly informal - though she also pointed out that the teachers all seemed fairly confident at chipping in with ideas

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    5. I think it is equally important - I think part of the success of the teachmeet idea is to create communities of practice. I do think one of the great things about library teachmeets is that they cut across sectors. You need people to feel comfortable in order to contribute and share so networking is important.

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    6. I would say now after talking to a few more teachers, that I probably generalised a bit too much about the confidence issue! Presenting in front of peers is daunting to anyone, but I do think it can build confidence - I certainly had feedback from ToonLibTeachmeet along those lines.

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    7. I have to say the talks by the school librarians at the 2nd cambridge TM were really impressive - higher education could really learn a thing or 2 about the way in which the librarians were supporting the teachers as well as the pupils.

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    8. I agree Isla - I'm finding so much inspiration from the schools sector (librarians and teachers). My presentation at the next teachmeet is going to be gathering together lots of these ideas and how I think they could be adapted for infolit/libraries. As I mentioned in my post - I would love to run a joint librarian/teachers teachmeet!

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    9. I really think that was the best thing about the second one, getting a good mix of sectors.

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    10. Did you do anything special to get the mix, Niamh, or was it just the usual channels for publicity?

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    11. We made an extra effort to contact school librarians e.g. through the School Librarians Network yahoo group and inviting people we knew personally. I think holding it in Schlumberger helped too, made it feel less like something for librarians in the universities.

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    12. I'd agree about the school librarians. At the second London one we had more school librarians (we had a school librarian as part of the organising group and made sure the event was advertised on their networks). Was very informative and even though I'm in HE I could still take something away from their talks to put into my practice.

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  9. I'm not sure how these blog discussions work, but my opening gambit is that I think TeachMeets are a good thing - but I would say that wouldn't I? But I really do - a great way to share learning, and teaching tips and those lightbulb moments/tools etc that can make life so much easier once you know about them.
    I also think they're a great way of first time presenters getting some experience - it's only a 7 minute hell, if presenting is not your bag, and might help you decide that speaking in public is not so bad.

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    1. I agree - I even felt 3 minutes was long when we did the first one, but it's a really nice way to ease yourself gently into presenting in front of a friendly audience.

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    2. I think it will feel like an eternity but at the same time suspect I will run out of time to say all I want to

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  10. I'm Claire and I've just signed up to present at my first TeachMeet! I agree with Isla that they are a good way to ease yourself into presenting (or so people tell me!)

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    1. Hi Claire - what are you presenting on (if that's not too nosey!)

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    2. well done you Claire! is that the ARLG event in Norwich? have you gone for the long or the short option?

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    3. Yes it's the Norwich one. I'm going for 3 minutes on measuring the impact of library social media (my dissertation topic)

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    4. The link for the Norwich event is https://arlgeasternlibtm.eventbrite.co.uk/

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    5. haha Claire - you could deliver your presentation a series of tweets!

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    6. Not a bad idea! Interesting point though, the original TeachMeets seem to have avoided PowerPoint presentations but ours included quite a few. Have others had any more interesting methods of presentation?

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    7. Excellent idea, I might steal that..... Seriously though I was planning on experimenting with Prezi for the first time, killing two birds with one stone

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    8. I think for first time speakers it's enough of a challenge to speak without worrying too much about the format so they stick to what they know

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  11. I'm interested in whether you think there is anything different about library teachmeets? I know we didn't follow the format exactly - we let people use PowerPoint and we didn't randomise the presentations - I think presenters were more comfortable knowing when they were going to speak.

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    1. At first I felt I wasn't doing the teachmeet properly by not following the 'rules' but now I think I'm more comfortable with just doing what works.

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    2. at both our cambridge TMs we did pull peoples names out of hat (well, tea cup at the first event!). We gave them one presentations notice that they were up next.

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    3. I do agree Helen - it's not really so much about the rules, but about the spirit of the thing.
      Perhaps if it feels too "un-conference" then people are put off organistng a TM, because there is no structured format to follow? Feels like a counter-intuative thing to say - because it can be anything you want it to be, people might not know what it could be.

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    4. I think the variety and the relaxed atmosphere at TM's creates an environment where people take a more active roll. This leads them to develop their practice in a way which would not happen otherwise.

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    5. From an organisers point of view I think it is more challenging (though also more satisfying) to organise an event where there is a lot of choice and flexibility - my experience is that you have to put more effort in to make what-if plans etc. and eagle-eyed on the day

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  12. so having seen teachmeets move from school to library, and i've even heard mention of them in medical education circles, is the next evolution into multi-disciplinary events?

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    1. I heard of one in a university recently. As I said earlier I'd love to run a teacher/librarian teachmeet - it would be great to help explore transition issues. I also think teachmeets with librarians / academics could be great.

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    2. I think that would be great - I like Helen's idea of organising a joint one with teachers, and could see it working well with learning developers, staff trainers, researchers etc in a university setting as well.

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    3. what I've also seen that seems really great is how lilac used teachmeets at their conference in glasgow (wasn't there myself, unfortunately), but it seemed a great way of encouraging everyone to think that they had something useful/valuable/interesting to contribute.

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    4. My only hesitation about cross-disciplinary events is the time we'd probably have to explain why and what we teach! I wonder how that could be avoided - maybe by just letting our teaching activities speak for themselves?

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    5. We have an annual teaching & learning conference day at Sheffield Uni http://www.shef.ac.uk/lets/cpd/conf/2013 - fairly common thing in unis? - so possibly an idea could be to put in a proposal for a teachmeet session in that

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    6. I think we are just putting together our ideas for the equivalent conference here Sheila, so I'll suggest it!

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  13. I'd like to highlight something called Pedagoo.org - it's something I've discovered recently and I attended an event on Saturday. The Pedagoo site is a teachers community with the same aim as teachmeets. They are however very focussed on positivity and encouraging change - challenging yourself to go out of your comfort zone. Their format is like a teachmeet but with longer sessions and time for questions and exploring how you might use the ideas.

    The event had such a buzz! There was a carnival feel, with opera singers, jugglers, popcorn machines, balloons - you get the gist! I'll try and find the storify again, but I'd love it if teachmeets could encourage that sort of positivity.

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    1. http://storify.com/nwinton/pedagoosunshine?utm_source=embed_header

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    2. I saw some of your tweets about it, I'll have to investigate!

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    3. I second this! I recently wrote a blog highlighting a Pedagoo event I went to, if anyone would be interested in how it influenced me. http://mrking1990.wordpress.com/

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    4. Thanks for sharing the link, I'll look forward to reading about it!

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    5. so how would you feel Chris, about some librarians turning up and contributing to a teachmeet that was mostly teachers? or mingling at a pedagoo? (haven't been to a pedagoo - presume you can mingle?)

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    6. Hi Chris - great to see we have a teacher here too! I haven't written up my blog post yet about the event but it was great!

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    7. I'm going to the TeachMeet 'Pedagoo❤Libraries #tmlovelibraries'. Having never been to a library event what are the main differences between a 'standard' teach meet and a library one?

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    8. Another thing I liked about Pedagoo and tmblakes was that it was about educators coming together - everyone was quite happy to have me there as I was interested in improving my teaching. The founder of Pedagoo said at the event it was all about improving outcomes for learners and I think we're all about that in libraries too!

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    9. I think the Pedagoo loves Libraries event is just in a library - it's not quite the same as a librarian teachmeet! I can't make that one but would be interested to hear if any librarians go!

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    11. I should say that I'm still getting my confidence to actually present at a teachers' event - I've done a few bits which were mainly asking for advice, I haven't yet presented any of my own teaching!

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    12. wow TeachMeet 'Pedagoo❤Libraries #tmlovelibraries - that looks great!

      I suspect the main difference between teacher TM and library TM is the size - library ones are likely to be a bit smaller (for everyone 1 school with loads of teachers there's only 1 library, afterall) and perhaps some of us are still a bit shy about presenting (though teachers presenting to peers rather than kids might still be offputting??)

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    13. I do think the confidence issue is quite real but I hope teachmeets can help this. I'd like to do something even more informal again, like tmblakes - in the evening, with food etc and maybe a glass of wine!

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    14. Hi Isla, yeah the events really focus on the mingling aspect. The set up from what I got was: you attend your workshop then you spend time mingling and discussing how you can adapt what you learned to use in your own class, or to improve your practice. So in that sense, I think that Librarians turning up and contributing would offer another point of view.
      [2 log ins haha]

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    15. also, I think perhaps (and maybe it was only the 2 TMs I've been to) that there's been a bit of a drift to include more about techy tips, rather than focusing on the teaching/pedagogy/info literacy in librarian teachmeets - we're were happy to have a broad range of topics presented, just good to have people taking part

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    16. All the best presenting Helen. I've not had a chance yet but am being gently persuaded to. It is a daunting prospect but in the end it is about sharing good practice and adapting ideas which will all contribute to making you a better teacher.

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    17. Isla, yeah I can agree with you there. Some of the workshops are focused on tools to use in class or activities.
      I would enjoy having a TM focused more on pedagogy though.

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    18. Helen, I agree - an afterwork TM is probably a more relaxed thing that a daytime one. we've had food and (soft) drink at both the cambridge events, and I think it helped the atmosphere

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    19. Chris, I think that depending on the librarians you speak to, some might not consider themselves as having a teaching role - so they use teachmeets to learn other things about everyday practice.
      But there are enough librarians who do teach, and who do have the indepth pedagogical understanding to speak to/with teachers on a level.

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    20. I'm only a student teacher, so I'm still finding it really interesting the roles that different people play from this side of the fence (rather than a scrawny pupil).
      Would this type of event suit better? http://fkelly.co.uk/2013/04/teachhack/

      [I know I'm sharing a lot of Pedagoo]

      (I have to add that I would really like to hear, for the sake of my practice, the views of librarians)

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    21. wow - so many ways of getting support and ideas! tremendous.

      PS "only" a student teacher?? come on, now.....

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    22. ha well still haven't passed the course, afraid to say I'm a teacher yet. Don't want to jinx it.

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    23. Chris - just noticed - there's a librarian contributing to the TeachMeet 'Pedagoo❤Libraries #tmlovelibraries workshop - so you get to have that librarian interaction afterall!!

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  14. Why do you think there haven't been more library teachmeets? My feeling is that there probably isn't the critical mass, given the number of teachers there are compared to librarians! Most recent events have tended to be associated with organisations or conferences. I'm not suggesting that's a bad thing, but it would be great for anyone to feel they could run an event, however big or small.

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    1. I'm not sure why more haven't happened. You do need a critical mass of people willing to talk and willing to organise one. We always had more people willing to attend than talk.

      Perhaps librarians in general are still a bit reticent about sharing their practice.

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    2. I think it's a bit of a brave thing to pull together something so informal just as a group of individuals. I confess to being carried along by the wave of enthusiasm that built up during 23 Things - there was a bit of a feeling that we could do anything! i'm not sure how to replicate that though, any ideas?

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    3. Maybe people find the concept too 'different' still and feel more comfortable with traditional conferences?

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    4. Possibly Claire, but the Pedagoo model is quite a nice compromise. Less formal in atmosphere than a conference and much more focussed on getting an outcome from the session - you actually get involved and consider how you can apply the ideas. So you can share ideas in your group after hearing the presentation.

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    5. I agree Claire, but with a heavy heart - traditional conference: sit, be talked at, leave, don't change practice. Maybe an interesting teachmeet theme would be "the thing that made me change the way I've always done things" - gathering up all those "kick up the bum" moments (probably off on a personal riff here...)

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    6. I think the main thing that appeals to me about these unconferences is the chance to actually talk to people rather than be talked at. Talking about Chartership to someone the other day they said something really valuable - attendance at an event just means you sat there, showing evidence of learning (through actively talking about what you've learnt) is much more important

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    7. So do I! Thinking a Pedagoo would be good for #camlibs too...

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    8. count me in Niamh - I can see a positivity pedagoo forming in Cambridge as we speak...

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  15. Hi, I'm Lynne, sorry to be late to the discussion. I've helped organise two libteachmeets in London.

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    1. Hi Lynne, great that you could join us!

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    2. Lynne, with your experience, had you any top tips for organsing Teachmeets?

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    3. The advice I received was to pick a date, time and a venue and go for it, the rest of the planning does fall into place. For the second one we found having a theme helped give us some structure and provided ideas for people to talk about. Also allowing time for networking as people learn as much from talking to each other as they do from the presentations

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    4. I like the idea of a theme. I'm hoping to make toonlibtm a bit more regular so themed events would help to keep it fresh.

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  16. Could I take this opportunity to ask your opinion on LAT Network - some of you may be aware of this site, an attempt to do something very similar to the Pedagoo site, but unfortunately it's come to a halt due to lack of funding and also lack of participation! Do you think an online presence like that would be useful to complement face to face teachmeets? Is it worth trying to revive it?

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    1. I did wonder whether librarians should just join Pedagoo.org!

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    2. Yes, I was going to ask about that! I just checked to see it was still down ... however I have to admit I checked it for a while when the Teachmeet thing was a new idea for librarians and then I forgot to visit it

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    3. Assuming you meant the http://latnetwork.spruz.com/ Librarians As Teachers site?

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    4. I think it was partly because Jo and I were quite busy doing other things for a while so we couldn't keep it going. We are both still keen but we are wondering if the conversations / sharing take place elsewhere on twitter etc. We did consider relaunching as a blog but wanted to ask what other people thought.

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    5. Yes that's the one Sheila. I found spruz pretty slow to be honest and we went over the minimum number of members for the free site!

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    6. I had a similar problem with the ning communities I set up. It does seem useful to have somewhere where you can at least keep track of the conversations etc. going on about library/information teaching, though

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    7. I think the thing about an online community that some sort of hybrid often makes for the best sort - having a face-to-face component makes having an online relationship easier (or maybe that's just me as a digital immigrant speaking??)

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    8. I certainly think it would be useful to have somewhere to list library teachmeets, like the teachers have teachmeet.org.uk

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    9. I really like the idea of it and having somewhere these conversations can happen with like-minded individuals is great. But I do acknowledge that I would check the site infrequently, which makes keeping up and contributing to discussions difficult. I wonder if a blog or perhaps a hashtag twitter chat would be more successful. Hard as there were interesting resources put up the last time I checked it.

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    10. Might be worth punting/reviving that idea round some discussion lists?

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    11. I did the same - I even spoke about it at our first TeachMeet! I think there are just so many different places for these conversations that LATnetwork just became another thing to remember. A blog is a good idea, because it's easier to follow things by RSS.

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    12. I agree Isla - I love the fact that I now have a lot of teachers in my twitter stream and I can start to feel I understand that community more and become part of it.

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    13. libraryteachmeet.blogger.com is available .. #justdoit

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    14. It's just free CPD at the touch of a button?

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    15. I agree with that - we tried to pull together all the events that were going on in the months after the cambridge TM, but I fear we lost momentum. But a wiki might be a better way of managing it that a blog maintained by a small number of people.
      Hope to hear great things from your toonteachmeet Helen.

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    16. That was along the lines of what we were thinking Lynne - blogs posts with commenting open for discussion and feeds in from twitter. I also love the #pedagoofriday hashtag which is where teachers share a teaching success from their week every Friday (shall I just steal all of their ideas!!).

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    17. I think I've already registered latnetwork.wordpress.com and libteachmeet.pbworks.com !! So whichever you prefer!

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    18. Just nabbed libteachmeet.wordpress.com too just in case... ;-)

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    19. The original discussion about LAT Network is on Johanna Bo Anderson's blog - interesting to reflect back on it!

      http://johannaboanderson.wordpress.com/2010/07/17/librarians-as-teachers-calling-all-students-practitioners-and-wise-owls/#comments

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  17. It is 9pm UK time which is the official finish time for the discussion! We will keep the comments unmoderated til tomorrow and then turn moderation back on to avoid the spam (so there may be a little delay in comments appearing - but we do look for comments frequently)

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    1. That hour has flown! Thanks again Helen for writing the opening post and thank you to all who joined in. Keep the conversation going as long as you like!

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  18. Sorry I missed the discussion last night but I have the perfect excuse - I was at the planning meeting for ARLG Eastern's Lib TM taking place at UEA, Norwich on 15 June. Thanks for the plug Isla and Niamh!

    Lots of useful comments and ideas here we'll be sure to use putting the finishing touches to the June event so thanks for sharing your thoughts and ideas.

    Good luck with your presentation Claire! I was a first time speaker at the second camlibtm and was absolutely petrified to begin with but am so pleased I forced myself to do it as it's really helped to build my confidence in presenting at other events and delivering library skills sessions.

    Whilst it's terrifying presenting to a group which might include peers, senior colleagues and, in my case, future line managers, library folk are naturally friendly and supportive types and I absolutely agree that it's an ideal environment in which to take the plunge and give it a go!

    I'd be happy to share our planning checklist with anyone whose currently thinking about/planning a Lib TM. Tweet me at @joharcus or email jo.harcus@gmail.com.

    Hopefully see/hear some of you on 15 June or at a future libtm!

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