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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?


  • Reply fearghal |

    Although there are no other comments on this post, I did receive feedback on this idea on twitter and via email, all of which was positive.

    I could see that following the amazing PedagooLocal events yesterday [pedagoo.org/local/takeover] that there was going to be a real enthusiasm for more Pedagoo events from folk who had been there, and from those who couldn’t.

    I therefore spent the morning today converting both PedagooEvents and PedagooLocal to PedagooMeet as discussed above: Pedagoo.org/meet I’m pretty happy with the results…I think it all looks much clearer and more open as hoped.

    However, I’ve since had some private feedback that the name PedagooMeet might prove detrimental to TeachMeets. This hadn’t occurred to me at all, and no one else has raised this with me. I personally don’t believe it would, but what do you think?

    I’d really rather not rebrand it all again, it took much longer than I thought it would, but I will if there’s an overwhelming majority against the name PedagooMeet. The last thing I’d want to do is harm the TeachMeet movement, as that’s where all this has come from in the first place!

    Please include a suggestion or two if you think we shouldn’t be using the name PedagooMeet.

    • Reply fearghal |

      Whilst only one reply on twitter has explicitly said that they agreed that a change would be good, a few others have also provided a selection of possible alternatives which would suggest that they think a change would be good also.

      I have to say I still remain unconvinced. I disagree that the name PedagooMeet would be detrimental to TeachMeet. In fact, one of the things I’ve already found is that I’m suggesting to people more already that they organise evening TeachMeets using the 7/2 format as the Pedagoo approach is a bit too full on for some organisers, and the Saturday thing is a bit of an issue for some teachers, leading to low sign ups.

      I’ve been a member of the TeachMeet community for a long time now, and in my opinion this move is of benefit to both TeachMeet and Pedagoo events and brings the two back to being seen as very similar things…which was always the original intention.

      However, one of the key aspects of the TeachMeet/Pedagoo community is that it’s open and consultative, so given the concerns raised I’m open to discuss it and change it if need be. One of the big problems though of consulting with the TeachMeet/Pedagoo community is that it can be very hard to reach a consensus. There is often the same number of views on either side of the debate! In the end, a decision will need to be made as to whether to leave it as it is, or change it.

      The suggestions on twitter have been:
      PedagooShare, PedagooInPerson, PedagooLive, PedagooCollective, PedagooTogether, PedagooAssembly, PedagooConnections, PedagooGathering, The steamie Pedagoo – Chewin’ the Fat, PedagooCluster. PedagooExchange. PedagooInAction, PedagooExultations, PedagooPanthenon, PedagooParly, PedagooInPerson, PedagooUpClose.

      As I said in the blog post, for me Pedagoo is first and foremost about the online community. Whatever our events are called their purpose is to provide a long format approach to sharing practice whilst also strengthening and growing the online community. For these reasons my preferred alternative names to PedagooMeet (if this is an issue, which I am still unconvinced that it is) would be PedagooLive and PedagooMeetup. These to me convey the idea of it being an online community getting together to share offline. One other possibility is that we go back to trying to calling them Pedagoo TeachMeets, but the issue with that is that we tried that for years and it just didn’t work.

      Pedagoo.org is moving servers this week, so I think a decision on this can wait a week. But I do think we need to reach a decision soon so that we can get on with encouraging and supporting teachers to organise these get togethers.

      • Reply john |

        Hi Fearghal,
        Knee-jerk reaction, after yr tweet.
        I don’t think calling some thing ‘PedagooMeet’ will damage TeachMeet or is a bad thing in any way. I think of Pedagoo as a refinement of TeachMeet.
        Lots of things badges TeachMeet have, IMO, damaged TeachMeet (goodiebags, keynotes).
        PedagooMeet allows you to connect to the idea of TeachMeet but frees you from any constraints(real or imagined).

        Mind you I though we should stick with ScotsEduBlogsMeet;-)

  • Reply Kenny Pieper |

    I’ve always been fairly open to any name really. i wouldn’t mind it it just being ‘Pedagoo’ on its own. ‘I went to Pedagoo on Saturday and it was amazing!’. PedagooGlasgow was, indeed, amazing and captured the very essence of what I think we’re about. The PedagooMeet name is fine with me though. I’ve noticed the nature of Teachmeets changing over the years and not always for the better. If we can use that energy though to ‘continue the conversations’ then I’d be happy with that.

    • Reply john |

      “I’ve noticed the nature of Teachmeets changing over the years and not always for the better”, yep, but my reaction to that is to try and get TeachMeet back to it’s roots. We tried a wee bit last week at TMSLF15.

  • Reply fearghal |

    Just to conclude this conversation…based on this feedback, and the feedback of others I’ve received privately, I’ve decided the simplest thing is to go back to the previous name of simply just ‘Pedagoo events’. I’ve taken the opportunity of the site move to do this: pedagoo.org/events

    Although there wasn’t a massive backlash against the name PedagooMeet…I wasn’t comfortable in keeping the name in the knowledge that some folk didn’t like it.

    Hopefully that resolves that and we can move on…thanks to everyone for your thoughts!

So, what do you think ?