I’ve got an idea I’d like your opinion on, but first a bit of background…
As I’m sure you already know, Pedagoo grew out of the TeachMeet movement. We were trying to create an online space were teachers could come together and be encouraged to share their practice between TeachMeets. At the same time, I had another idea also. As well as running TeachMeets in the evening with the 2/7 minute presentation format, why not run a TeachMeet on a Saturday and have longer 40 minute workshops instead? This would allow deeper learning and sharing than is possible in an evening, and provide free and accessible conference style learning opportunities for teachers who are confined to their classrooms from Monday to Friday. And so #tmSLFringe12 was born.
In the beginning, although I attached the Pedagoo name to the event, I tried to still call it a TeachMeet as I felt that what I was doing was organising a TeachMeet with a difference. Over time, this approach has been used by lots of folk to organise loads of great events all over the country, and gradually the ‘TeachMeet’ name faded away from our events a bit and have somehow become ‘Pedagoo Events’. These events have been great, but there’s always been a bit of tension between the focus of the community. My view of it is that Pedagoo is first and foremost an online community of teachers, who occasionally organise events to allow teachers in the community to get together and learn from each other in person and to bring new teachers into the community. Some folk had begun to see Pedagoo to be about the events only, and so we brought in the requirement that to run one of our events you needed to first be a member of the online community. We’d then make you a ‘curator’ and you could use the name to run your event. This meant that we had a relatively high degree of control over our events, but low frequency of events was the cost.
That was all fine until #PedagooPrimary earlier this year. This was the first event of its kind and the idea was to encourage more Primary teachers into the community, and boy did it work. Teachers left this event full of enthusiasm for all things Pedagoo and keen to run their own Pedagoo Events in their local area to help spread the word. How could we say no to such enthusiasm? And so, I suggested we create the PedagooLocal name for smaller, local, Pedagoo events. And now, look what is happening this Saturday as a result!
Some of these “smaller” local events are bigger than the so called full Pedagoo events! As a result of this enthusiasm, I’m beginning to think we need a bigger change to our approach to Pedagoo events. I’m not overly comfortable with this two-tier approach to our events, and I think we should be doing more to allow keen teachers to run their own Pedagoo-style events. Surely, the more sharing the better?
So, my suggestion is that following this Saturday, we ditch both the PedagooLocal and PedagooEvents names and replace them both with #PedagooMeet. The idea would be that anyone with a username on Pedagoo.org could set up and run their own Pedagoo-style event, and all future events using the Pedagoo name would be PedagooMeets, no matter who was organising them. There would be a set of guidelines and suggestions [such as a version of this one] which would provide the boundaries for the use of the name. I think this could help result in the running of many more events which still fitted in with the ethos of Pedagoo.
In terms of the logistics, I’m thinking that we set up a wiki on the Pedagoo.org domain for folk to organise and promote their PedagooMeets. We’re moving Pedagoo.org to a new host next week and after that I’m pretty sure I could add a wiki to Pedagoo.org which used people’s Pedagoo.org username to edit, which would keep the whole thing within the online community whilst allowing them to be organised in a more ‘TeachMeet’ sort of a way.
So, what do you think? It’s quite a big shift and so I’d appreciate your thoughts. It feels right to me, what about you?