I confess that I had mixed feelings about the event and I wondered whether it was ‘for people like me’ (political, primary, unionist types) but I’m pleased there were enough ‘subversives’ (both the attendees and speakers) to make me feel completely comfortable. That is not to say that I don’t think that a particular viewpoint currently dominates education tweeters, it does, and there is definitely room to argue that alternative views should embrace and use twitter more effectively.
However, I left the event feeling like I knew more than I did before and therefore I offer sincere thanks to all the work done by Helene Galdin-O’Shea (@hgaldinoshea) and Tom Bennett (@TomBennett71) in organising it.
One of the surprising things from the event was that I found myself agreeing with one of Gove’s previous advisers, namely Sam Freeman (@Samfr). I confess that my dislike of the Conservative party can prejudice my opinions about everyone associated with it – when I was younger a lecturer gave me a goodbye card with the advice ‘not everything is black and white’ and as much as I like to think that I have moved on I confess that, until proven otherwise, I can fall into the Sunny Hundal camp.
Where I found myself agreeing with Sam was over the use of social media, namely twitter, and how it removes the barriers/layers between the government, its advisers and the ordinary public. The channels of communication have been rewritten and this I completely agree with. I have often used the direct message function on twitter to contact people in the public/political/union sphere that I would otherwise be completely unable to speak directly to. This does give me a sense of empowerment and most answer immediately, some take a few days, some rarely answer……. However, I like to think that the fact that they must have read it means that they, if nothing else, know what I think and feel about things in a more honest way than if my message was diluted/channelled via the traditional ways.
I won’t go into detail about the substance of Frank Furedi’s talk (@Furedibyte) because Debra Kidd (@debrakidd) gives an excellent account here but my reaction was, to summarise, “Whoop!” She also gives an informative account of Laura’s talk and I agree with Debra completely about how engaging Laura was – it must be something to do with her accent….
Kevin Bartle (@kevbartle) summarises exactly my feelings regarding the Ben Oldacre talk here
Christopher Waugh (@Edutronic_Net) was excellent and I LOVED the way that he had interpreted the need for feedback with his class. I had to stop myself from cheering when he questioned the need for the ‘green pen’ and feedback to follow a prescribed example. I also LOVED his honestly and openness and I am really looking forward to hearing him again at the Labour Party TeachMeet.
Becky Francis (@BeckyFrancis7) was enlightening, informative and inspiring and I am indebted to Martin Robinson (@SurrealAnarchy) for convincing me of the need to sit right at the front. Her talk was directly relevant to what I had been doing in the classroom that week. Since I attended the NUT women’s conference back last year I have become increasingly interested in Gender stereotyping and the gender gap and I had been using the materials produced by the NUT, Breaking the Mould, with my class. She gave a fact filled presentation on the gaps between girls and boys achievement and she made very interesting comments about the way the media reports on this and the language they use. I am very keen to find out more about this and my only criticism was that an hour just wasn’t long enough.
When joining the lovely Laura (@miss_mcinerney), Debra (@DebraKidd), Emma, Miss Smith (@HeyMissSmith) and others later in the pub I had a very interesting conversation with Sam Freedman regarding local education authorities and the illusion of choice…but that is a story for another time.
p.s. Loic from @LKMCo, this is for you….Enjoy!