Education podcasts with an Australian touch


School holidays are a good time to slow down and catch up on what others are doing in the world of education.  Podcasts are an important component of my PLN, they’re easy to access via iTunes and are available for anywhere/anytime listening.  The podcasts to which I subscribe are a broad range of international presenters and topics ranging from education to history, literature and contemporary debates (Intelligence Squared being a favourite in this regard).  Your personal options are unlimited.  Here today, are three specifically Australian education podcasts for your interest.

Australian educators have tuned into the EdTechCrew podcast hosted by educators Darrel Branson (ICTGuy) and Tony Richards (ITMadeSimple) as they’ve discussed all things digital in education since 3 May, 2007. WOW! Such dedication.  If this is news to you, don’t miss out any longer, go to their website The Ed Tech Crew Podcast for links to all their podcasts and associated show notes.

The EdTechCrew podcast also has community of supporters who contribute links and ideas through the EdTechCrew Diigo Group.

Presented on ABC Radio National by Antony Funnell, EdPod updates on the first Friday of each month.  It is a selection of education stories from early childhood to Year 12 that have aired on Radio National in the previous month.  The range of topics are broad as can be seen from this selection for June:

Teachers Education Review
Hosted by Cameron Malcher and Corinne Campbell, this fortnightly podcast has a strong focus on educational practice.  It presents teachers from primary and secondary schools who explore the implications of educational policies, teaching practices, and international events that impact on teaching and learning in Australian classrooms.
Included in each fortnightly podcast are the topics:

An interesting conversation on a recent episode was a discussion with  Ewan McIntosh from Scotland (and about the origin of Teachmeets, the professional learning model that has now spread worldwide.  He encourages teachers to join local teachmeets but also to collaborate with teachers in different countries under the ‘teachmeet’ banner.  Adopt a teachmeet that’s not your own and create a global connection.

Show notes provide links to conversations and associated resources.  I like to download podcasts via iTunes and listen while commuting but you can also access TERPodcast online at Soundcloud.  Have a listen.

If you have other Australian education podcasts you would like to share, please let us know via the comments option.

Unconference and Teachmeet models explained

Participation in social media whether it be via FacebookTwitter, sharing photos through Flickr or one of the many other forms of online collaboration, has provided new opportunities for meeting, learning and sharing professionally.  As online collaboration develops, we see it beginning to influence our learning behaviours.  A new vocabulary and model of socialised professional learning is emerging.  Words such as unconference and meetup are becoming common terms when discussing professional learning. But what do they mean?

Delegates at the recent SLAV conference had the opportunity to participate in the trial of an unconference style workshop.  An unconference can generally be described as a professional learning day (or part day) where people meet with the intention of learning together.  The content of the day is relatively unstructured but is driven by the participants who nominate what they would like to learn about, or alternatively, offer to share their own knowledge on a topic.  While there may be an overall theme, the schedule for the day is loose and is determined by those attending on the day.

Here’s how it happened at the recent SLAV conference:

  • At the conclusion of the morning session delegates were invited to write on a post-it note, a topic they would like to know more about.
  • Over lunch the notes were sorted into categories such as: ebooks, library management, team building, makerspaces and others.
  • At the time of the session, delegates moved into their interest group to discuss and share ideas.
  • Each group was chaired by an experienced librarian or teacher librarian who supported the discussion.

Informality and openness are the key features of an unconference.  While each group has a leader, everyone is encouraged to contribute to the discussion.  Ideally notes are taken and shared via social media e.g. Twitter.

One significant benefit of an unconference session or day is the opportunity to network more closely with colleagues.  The lecture model of traditional conferences is evolving into a more participatory experience.

Teachmeets are another popular form of ‘ground up’ professional learning.  They particularly relate to educators and are also supported by social media.  Many groups have adopted the meetup model as you can see by visiting the site MeetupCelia Coffa wrote a comprehensive post What is a Teachmeet last year.  She is one of the driving forces behind Teachmeet Melbourne, a very successful local learning group.

Teachmeets differ from unconferences in that participants nominate to make a presentation of either 2 or 7 minutes.  It may be the sharing of proven classroom practice or perhaps a favourite learning and teaching tool.  Timing is precise and has the effect of building excitement and tension. Dug Hall explains all about Teachmeet.

We are seeing the sociability of human nature emerge to take advantage of social media as increasing numbers of teachers and other professionals move from the digital social media to arrange to meet in person around a common interest in education, or some other topic. The strength of the concept is that teachers learn from each other within a self organised environment.

Both the Teachmeet and Unconference model are an excellent way to build your professional learning network.  They can be successfully applied to inschool training or subject association branch meetings and have the appeal of giving people a voice and tapping into talent that often remains hidden.

TeachMeet Time Machine

Hamish Curry, Education Manager at the State Library of Victoria, reflects on the evolution of Teachmeets and the next one coming up at the Library on May 16.

Teachmeet Time Machine

Thursday 16 May

What’s the one thing all teachers would ask for if the impossible was possible? Yep that’s right, a time machine. I’m sure every teacher would use it a little differently, and funnily enough it was an item that children thought the State Library of Victoria should get their hands on too. When the Library conducted public surveys in late 2012 around the ‘Your Library, Your Say’ initiative for exploring how the Library might grow, school children were among the respondents. Their feedback included all sorts of creative ideas on how the Library could ‘jazz things up’, and one of those included a request that the Library get a time machine.

While a time machine could take us a while to source or build, there is no stopping us tapping into the wisdom of educators to get some insights on how time can be measured, experienced, and used. With the next Teachmeet Melbourne coming up at the State Library of Victoria on Thursday 16 May (4:30 – 7pm)  and with such an array of interesting and networked educators presenting and attending, it seemed to be the perfect opportunity to see how creatively educators could address the theme of a ‘time machine’.

Teachmeets in Australia have been one of the most exciting aspects of the growth in educators sharing expertise. They are free professional learning events with self-nominated or crowd-sourced presentations ranging from 2-7 minutes long. Talks might be about web tools or equipment, learning programs, or new approaches to teaching. They are essentially an ‘unconference’ event, an opportunity for teachers to share and compare ideas. There is certainly a technology focus to the events, but that should be no surprise given that a Teachmeet is only one letter more than a ‘Techmeet’.

We’re excited by the opportunity to host the next Teachmeet Melbourne. We’re even more excited to see how the ‘time machine’ theme creates some playful presentations. After all, there is no time like the present to join a network and see where the future takes you.

Sign up for the May 16 Teachmeet as either a presenter or an attendee and find out more about other Teachmeet Melbourne events. The May 16 event will begin at 5.00pm, but there is also a chance to get a behind the scenes tour of the State Library of Victoria from 4.30pm. 


What is a TeachMeet?

Today’s guest post comes from Celia Coffa, one of the organisers of TeachMeet Melbourne. Celia tells us about TeachMeets and the schedule of free events for this year. 

TeachMeets are professional learning opportunities, for teachers, by teachers. Starting in Scotland about 8 years ago, the movement is growing and the structure and style varies from place to place. The Melbourne experience started in September 2011, following the lead of TeachMeet Sydney and has grown steadily since.

TeachMeets attract teachers from all sectors: state, independent and Catholic and from all primary, secondary and tertiary levels, thereby creating a wonderfully eclectic group different to many other Professional learning opportunities we may attend. TeachMeets rely on the willingness of participants to be presenters, usually in two or seven minutes time slots. TeachMeet presentation topics are as varied as those presenting them. Learning theories, teaching strategies, educational projects and cool tech tools are some of the many topics discussed. The presentations are important, but just as important is the opportunity to meet and extend our Professional Learning Networks. Making face to face contact with people who we may already have established relationships with on social media, through Twitter, online courses or blogging. This connecting and networking strengthens and broadens our scope as teachers, widening the opportunities for our own personal development as well as extending the reach for our students.

Melbourne TeachMeets have a friendly atmosphere, and have been hosted in a wide variety of educational settings, including schools, Science and Environmental education centres, Libraries and Museums. No two meets are the same, harnessing the expertise, friendship and ‘feel’ of the group gathered.

The upcoming meet on February 2 will be hosted by ICTEV and will take place in a Pub (where reportedly the first Teachmeet occurred), allowing for the sharing to continue in an even less formal manner in a TeachEat afterwards. Later in the year, meets are scheduled for the State Library of Victoria (May 16), Melbourne Museum, Royal Children’s Hospital and other school based venues.
Wikispaces becomes the hub for planning events after venues are offered. Twitter and word of mouth are the main publicity methods at this stage. A feature of Teachmeets is that they are organic, changing according to the needs, interests and ideas of those who participate. Who knows what they will look like in a year or two?

For more information :
TeachMeet Melbourne
TeachMeet Australia

You can also find out more by following the Twitter hashtags #TMMelb and #Teachmeet

Thanks to Celia for sharing with us about TeachMeet, and also for her work in organising these fabulous events. We’d encourage you to try and make it along to a TeachMeet in your area, or even organise one of your own. They are a great way to share and build your learning network.


Teach Meet Melbourne

On Saturday Quantum Victoria hosted another round of Teach Meet Melbourne. The Teach Meet movement is an informal gathering of educators who come together to share ideas and benefit from the experience of others.

Teach Meet is notable for the fact that this is not a paid event and that these educators are meeting outside of regular school hours. It is testament to the dedication of these educators that they are willing to come together on a Saturday to share their work and devote their own time to professional learning.  Those who couldn’t make it to the meet were also able to view the live stream which was provided from the event.

Details of the day are shared through the Teach Meet Melbourne wiki where you can find presentations and links to further resources.  The conversation is continued on Twitter via the #tmmelb hashtag. For those in other capital cities there are Teach Meet hashtags for #tmsydney, #tmadelaide and #tmbrisbane, along with the general #teachmeet hashtag. More information is available at the TeachMeet[Aus} site.

Congratulations to all of the participants and presenters.  You can view highlights of the presentations below (via Tony Richards @itmadesimple).