Reflections on my first TeachMeet

Garden at Gardonne RiveriaOn Monday I bravely had agreed to help organise a TeachMeet which was aimed largely at FE Librarians and organised by COFHE London and South East Commitee and the CILIP IL Group. We had a great venue at Kingston College and around 35 people at the event. Never having attended a TeachMeet I think I was fairly crazy to agree to run one, so quickly roped in the very wonderful Lisa Jeskins from MIMAS and Sarah Pavey from Box Hill School to help me out. The format was slightly different, as in the morning we three presented an overview of information literacy, and what it means to us. The slides are on SlideShare from the day in the new IL Group account.

The afternoon was the TeachMeet and I’d picked the brains of various people who ran the Cambridge TeachMeet for ideas. The format is informal – some describe it as an un-conference.  We started with some ice-breakers including human bingo – we never did find out who in the room lived in Second Life, but we had two people who’s had tea at the House of Lords! We had to do some arm twisting to get people to present to start with – which is the point of the TeachMeet format. But once the ball was rolling, we had some great insights from delegates who had just 5 minutes and no PowerPoint to share something with us they use in their teaching. People were much braver than expected, doing live demos of online tutorials and even in one case showing the use of online polls in teaching. I really enjoyed the day and the feedback suggested the delegates got a lot out of it. I was really grateful to the COFHE LASEC committee for all agreeing to present and they have a lovely write up of the day on their blog. I hope it can be the first of other collaborations with this group.

I found it interesting that so many of the delegates talked about how information literacy was becoming increasingly important in their job, how they wanted help with devising programmes and rolling IL teaching out more widely across their colleges. One librarian spoke about how statistics had been used to convince senior management at her college that students who used the library more did get better marks. We needed more of this sort of data collected. Others spoke about how they were struggling with limited resources and some groups of students who were almost impossible to engage with – car mechanics students were such a group who rarely visited the library. There were many examples of good practice with another college having some core modules on information literacy which were taken by all students – they really did have the senior management buy-in! The similarities with those of us in HE were so clear, yet I was left wondering why we don’t have more events that bring together the two groups. I know the JISC Regional Support Centres do a lot of great work in this area, but I will certainly endeavour to get to know more librarians in FE after meeting such a lovely bunch of people last week.


One thought on “Reflections on my first TeachMeet

  1. Hi Jane.

    Thanks for the write up. Would absolutely like to work with you again and agree that HE and FE should work closer together, especially as many of us in FE support HE students too. Nice meeting you.

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