Wednesday, 29 June 2011

CPD 23 – Thing 3 – Personal Brand – Further Thoughts

I said at the end of my previous post that I might come back to this thing later in the week. The reason for that is that I was aware that my initial thoughts were fairly general. The google task was more focused but I didn’t really talk about my own ‘personal brand’.

This blog and my twitter account now share a similar visual identity. The background image for both is a picture of trees. I’m quite happy with this idea. It links visually with my name and it creates a calm, reflective image. In the case of this blog the metaphor of going for a walk through a forest fits neatly with the journey motif conjured up by the title. It also fits with the idea of a librarian as a guide.

To be honest I only recently changed the blog. I tidied it up for thing 2 because I wanted to make a good impression on any visitors. It used to have an inoffensive but unexciting theme featuring some clouds and a lighthouse. That did fit my journey based title but it didn’t stand out.

The description was even worse. It was very much a generic librarian blog description. I’m much happier with the new one. It gives readers a clearer idea of what the blog is going to be like. I wouldn’t normally phrase it like this but I suppose I’m saying it fits my personal brand better. It fits the thoughtful, friendly image that I want to get across.

The picture of me is also new. It’s different to my twitter picture. Is this a mistake? I can see the argument for using the same picture across different platforms. My reasoning was that my twitter picture has my fiancĂ©e in as well as me. I didn’t think that would work on a professional blog. I chose this particular image of me for a mixture of reasons. Some personal, others more ‘brand’ related. It is a picture that brings back happy memories. That’s Halong Bay in Vietnam in the background. On a ‘brand’ level it fits the imagery of travelling beyond what we know, travelling together into the unknown to experience new things.

My facebook profile has another picture again but that seems like less of an issue because it is aimed at family and friends. This blog is obviously purely professional and I increasingly only use my twitter account for library related stuff. This brings us back to the issue of the divided nature of identity but I think I covered that in my last post. Essentially I feel we need to accept that everyone has slightly different identities depending on the different audiences and contexts that are parts of their lives.

Let me know if you would like a critique of your ‘personal brand’. I promise to be very polite. Rudeness doesn’t fit my brand image.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

CPD 23 - Thing 3 - Personal Brand

Protecting your ‘personal band’ [insert alternative term here]

I suspect I’m not alone in feeling a bit uncomfortable with the term ‘personal brand’. It just sounds like something a contestant on The Apprentice would say. There are a lot of us doing CPD 23. Do you think if we all come up with an alternative name and started using it we would be able to make it stick? Suggestions welcome.

Quibbles about terminology aside I agree that we do need to think carefully about the image that we present to others, particularly in online environments which give that image a much wider audience. Thinking about your audience is the key here. You need to think about the huge variety of people who might stumble across or deliberately uncover something that you put online. Is this comment, blog post, picture, joke, poem etc suitable for everyone who might read it? The classic example is the facebook pictures that your friends would appreciate but your mum or your boss (or worse a potential boss) definitely wouldn’t.

I am actually slightly divided on this. As a librarian I feel I should be on the side of careful use of social media as a point of professional principle and on a personal level I always feel very uncomfortable when I see people using social media in a thoughtless way. Everyone really needs to remember that their comments will hang around indefinitely. I’m sure you all know the kind of comments that I mean.

I also feel that everyone should take the time to write properly online. Please don’t use this as an excuse to point out any mistakes I’ve made though. I’ll be horribly embarrassed and it will completely ruin my day.

On the other hand I think we should avoid promoting paranoia. I am very sceptical about the idea that potential employers are going to hunt down pictures of you online and then trash your application on the grounds that they’ve found a picture of you drinking. Apart from anything else they would be recruiting from a vanishingly small pool.

(If I’ve applied for a job with you please be assured that I only drink in moderation. If you’re my current employer this bit is for the future it doesn’t mean I’m thinking of leaving. Wow, this could get complicated.) Don’t slip into paranoia.

It seems reasonable to think in terms of intended audiences as well as the potentially infinite possible audience. I’ll give you an example. I wouldn’t put a picture of me dressed as a pirate on this blog because this is a professional space but I know that there are pictures of me dressed as a pirate out there on a publicly accessible website. I’m completely calm about that because the picture would make sense to the intended audience. Also it is actually a good look for me.

We all have slightly different identities for different contexts and different audiences. It would be self-defeating to overlook that in the name of managing your ‘personal brand’.

Finding Myself – Google task

Googling ‘Alan Green’ was a humbling experience. You’ll be shocked to hear that I didn’t appear on the first ten pages of search results. I had to give up at that point to protect my fragile self-esteem. Most of the results were about the BBC sports commentator of the same name. I think it’s unlikely that people will confuse us. Although worryingly there were a few hits about him saying something racist and there was a site headlined ‘I hate Alan Green’. I’m really not sure that he is doing my ‘personal brand’ much good. As a librarian writing about my online reputation I can laugh this off but would it be a problem if I was trying to pursue a career in radio?

‘Alan Green Library’ was more successful but only thanks to CPD 23. My twitter account comes up because I recently tweeted about this library blog. It was the second hit when I tried it. That’s progress.

Following that success I had high hopes for ‘Alan Green Librarian’ but I wasn’t on the first page of hits. Page two was another victory for cpd 23. Thank you to Lisa Hutchins who kindly mentioned this blog in her thing 2 post.

The lesson of the googling exercise seems to be that taking part in CPD23 is doing wonders for my online professional presence. That and I shouldn’t try to get a job in radio. Thank you to everyone who helped set this up.

I might post about this again later in the week. Let me know what you think of my 'brand'. Also please suggest alternative terms.

Friday, 24 June 2011

CPD 23 - Thing 2 - Reading blogs

One of the good things about the 23 things for professional development programme is that we are all being encouraged to build a community and to learn from one another. That is the focus of thing 2. We’ve been asked to look at some of the other participating blogs, comment on them, and then write up our impressions.

This sounds easy but there are now over 600 people taking part. Simply deciding who to read was quite tricky. Fortunately I’m a trained information professional so I was able to develop a sophisticated research strategy. I started off by reading blogs from my sector. Then I started looking at the blogs of people who’d taken the time to comment on blogs that I was looking at. Finally I ended up looking at blogs that had eye-catching names.

To the untrained eye that might sound like an incoherent, almost random strategy but actually…ok yes it was pretty random.

On the plus side this approach did mean that I think I’ve looked at a reasonable cross section of this new community. I know I’ve only read a tiny proportion but I think I have wandered across the sectors, across the nations and across different levels of experience.

The interesting thing for me is that we all seem to have a lot in common. The most obvious common feature is that we all have the same goal. We want to improve our skills and to develop professionally. There also seems to be a shared sense of enthusiasm for what we do. I guess that too is implied by our decision to join the scheme but it is still nice to see. Everyone seems very supportive and friendly.

One of the factors that seems to divide the cpd23 bloggers is their attitude towards blogging. Some are already experienced bloggers. However a lot of people were more hesitant. Perhaps everyone who sets up a blog finds themselves wondering who is going to read it. I’m glad so many people overcame their hesitation because the truth is that we are interested in what each other have to say. I’m looking forward to reading about your experiences. This project creates a readership for each one of us. It puts us all in touch with people who are interested in the things that we are writing about.

One week in the scheme seems to be going really well. I’m looking forward to the other 21 tasks. Bit wary of this personal brand thing we’ve got coming up next week though…

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

CoFHE Conference 2011 - Day 3

The Hive – Plenary session

Judith Keene – University of Worcester

The Hive in Worcester is Britain’s first fully integrated joint public and university library. It is due to open in July. Judith is in charge of planning and resources for the University of Worcester’s learning resources department.

The project itself sounds very interesting but she focussed on the importance of ensuring that all of the staff were fully on board. Research from other countries suggests that staff commitment is the key to success in joint library projects. The university library and the public library teams are still going to be employed by their respective organisations but the services will be presented seamlessly. From the perspective of most users there will be no distinction.

Judith made some interesting points about the differences in values between public and academic libraries. The central one was that in public libraries the ideal is to give the user the information they want but in an academic library the ideal is to teach users how to find the information they want. The Hive project tried to overcome this and other potential culture clashes by setting up staff workshops to think about values and to come up with a shared vision.

Experimenting with mobile technology use in libraries – Workshop

Jo Alcock – University of Wolverhampton

Jo’s presentation is available at:

All of the resources she mentioned are available at:

This was a particularly good workshop because Jo had obviously spent a lot of time researching the use of mobile technologies in libraries. She’d uncovered lots of examples of good practice and lots of interesting resources. She was really throwing ideas at her audience and everyone left the room feeling very enthused. This was an excellent way to end the conference.

Having introduced the idea that mobile technology had reached the point where we all need to start taking it much more seriously she split her examples into three sections.
1. Library content
2. Library services
3. Mobile specific content – i.e. new services that we couldn’t have provided without mobile technology.

Library content
- Academic publishers are not yet providing e-books in mobile friendly formats.
- Ebscohost has a specialist service which provides journal articles for mobile devices. This is great for libraries that subscribe to Ebscohost.
- The British Library has an app which allows users to view digitised material on their mobiles.

Library services
- ‘Know it now’ text enquires. The state library of Ohio runs a leading SMS enquiry service. Text library tips and tricks. The University of Huddersfield texts students tips and tricks for using the library and studying effectively.
- Mobile catalogue. Library thing for libraries offers a service which adapts your catalogue for mobile use. Keele University is already using it. Roving enquires. At the University of Warwick library staff carry around ipads so they can instantly access the opac and the net in order to deal with any student enquires. This saves them from having to walk to a computer (I’m assuming Warwick University library is big).
- Collecting library statistics. Counting the number of users in the library on a mobile device allows you to process statistics instantly.
- Room booking by mobile phone. Use of QR codes to check availability and book if free. QR codes are those blocky square pictures that work as links for smart phones. People can scan them with their phone and then they are taken to the site or online resource.

Mobile specific services

- QR codes to direct people to e-books. This is clever. If you have an ebook copy of a popular book you can put a QR code for the e-book near the shelf where the print copies are kept. You can even have a dummy book (a DVD case or something) with the QR code on it and instructions to use it. Students with smart phones can scan the QR code and they will then be taken directly to the e-book.
- Induction treasure hunts.
- Scan me. Charles Darwin University Library promoted their use of QR codes by having staff t-shirts with QR codes on and the slogan ‘scan me now’. (I’m not sure about this one.)
- Scanning book barcodes to see if the library has a copy. The library equivalent of finding something in a bookshop and using your mobile to see if Amazon has it for less.
- Checking PC availability from your mobile.
- Foursquare. A location based app that allows people to comment on places they visit and to set up communities based on those places. Slightly worryingly if it’s your place you can claim it on the site but if you don’t any user can set up a community for it.
- Shelf sorting app. An app that can spot library books that are in the wrong place and tell you where they should be. Currently in production.

Jo finished by offering some parting words of advice.

Aim for high impact, low cost.
Don’t over invest.
Use free resources.
Examples: Animoto – Video generator, Zbar – barcode reader, Kaywa – QR code generator.

After Jo’s talk it was time to grab some lunch, say my goodbyes and head back home. The conference was a great experience. I hope you find some of this useful.

CoFHE Conference 2011 - Day 2 - The afternoon and the evening

New online resources for information skills – Workshop

Ella Mitchell and Erica Plowman – University of East London

Ella and Erica were discussing the development and use of UEL’s infoskills site. Observant readers might remember that I saw Ella present this site at the CoFHE LASEC Teach Meet last month.)

The library team worked in partnership with the university’s learning technology team. They started off by identifying information skills websites that they saw as examples of best practice.

What they liked out there:

Staffordshire Assignment Survival Kit -
Cardiff Information Literacy Resource Bank -
Leeds Skills @ Library -
OU Safari -

Having looked at these resources and consulted widely they agreed on some basic principles for their project.
- An open clear structure that allows students to jump to the aspects that they are interested in. This was intended to make the site relevant to ‘strategic’ (last minute) learners.
- Openly accessible. They felt that students were resistant to having to log in and they wanted to remove any possible barriers to use. This also allows the wider academic community to use the resources.
- Information skills advice from a range of sources including teaching staff and very importantly other students. Peer advice was seen as a very effective way of getting the message across.

The actual production process involved bringing together a lot of expertise from within the university and from outside.

The completed website features information skills tutorials, info skills tests (surprisingly popular apparently), videos of useful advice, demonstrations and various other resources. It is an excellent site. Have a look.

Note on copyright. The UEL site is creative commons so their resources can be used for educational purposes as long as they are properly credited. The Cardiff Information Literacy Resource Bank and the Leeds Skills @ Library site are also creative commons.

Hard Times – Plenary session

Lloyd Ellis - CILIP Cymru

Llloyd is the head of CILIPin Wales / CILIP Cymru. His talk started off with a library closed sign, a map of library closures across the country and the promise that the end of the talk would be more cheerful. I’m not quite sure he delivered on that promise. He concluded that partnership and cooperation were the solution. That’s reasonable enough but the overall tone of his talk still struck me as being pretty downbeat. I’m not sure we got the promised happy ending.


CofHe and the UC&R group are going to be replaced by a new CILIP group for college and university librarians. This is part of CILIP’s strategy to save money by streamlining itself. The current committee are working hard to ensure that FE and HE will still both be catered for.

The evening – Conference dinner and a disco

Dinner was very nice. In fact I can recommend the food generally.
The head of library services at Glyndwr University Paul Jeorrett gave an after dinner speech which used poetry and audience participation to put a more cheerful spin on the conference theme.

We won’t talk about the disco. (It was fun really.)

CoFHE Conference 2011 - Day 2 - The Morning

E-guides and digital literacy – Workshop

‘E-guides’ are people who are trained to guide others in the use of e-learning resources and information learning technology. This session was split into two. Virginia Havergal from Petroc had trained her staff to work as e-guides throughout the college. Ceri Powell from Coleg Llandrillo had led an interesting project to train students to be peer e-guides.

A note on funding – Both speakers emphasised the usefulness of applying for (and getting) grants to support their projects. Virgina applied for a small grant from the Learning and Improvement Service to support her e-guide training programme. Coleg LLandrillo’s peer guide project was considered innovative enough to get significant financial support from JISC.

E-guides @ the library

Viginia Havergal – Petroc

Virginia identified a need in her college. Nobody was responsible for encouraging and supporting the use of information learning technology. As the learning resources manager she decided that her team were well placed to fill that gap. She carried out a skills audit for her team and invested in training to fill any gaps in their knowledge. Once the staff had been trained up they publicised this new role. Working as e-guides helped her team to build stronger working relationships with teaching staff. This was particularly important at Petroc because the college is spread across a wide geographic area.

Having established this new role the learning resources team used it to encourage the use of their existing e-resources and to develop new services. They had particular success with using their new skills to create online learning objects.

Peer e-guides and digital literacy

Ceri Powell – Coleg Llandrillo

The e-guide project at Coleg Llandrillo was very different. They decided to recruit students as peer e-guides. The idea was that students prefer to take advice and recommendations from other students. If a fellow student tells them that they can access all kinds of exciting e-resources then they will listen more than they will if we tell them that.

The library staff asked tutors to identify candidates. They targeted first year students on the grounds that they would then have a cohort of experienced e-guides to help train the next year’s recruits. They asked tutors to pick students who were reliable, approachable and had good existing computer skills. The students who agreed to join the scheme completed a skills audit and took part in a training programme.

The peer e-guide role is focussed on advocacy rather than training others. They give talks to classes and they are a point of contact for curious fellow students.

Warm advice for cold times – Plenary session

Andrew Green – National Library of Wales

Andrew gave us an overview of the work of the National Library of Wales. It holds a wide range of important collections including the National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales.

He then moved on to giving us some warm advice. He emphasised the power of stories to convince people that we are doing a good job. He was sceptical about the value of relying on statistics to measure the impact of library services. His argument was that first hand stories from students who feel that the library has helped them to do better will always have more impact than any purely statistical demonstration of our value.

CofHE Conference 2011 - Day 1

Last week I ventured out to Wales for the CofHE conference. It was a very interesting trip. As promised I would like to share some of my experiences and a few of the ideas that I picked up.

The days were split into plenary sessions for all attendees and smaller group workshops.

The Future – Plenary Session

Phil Bradley – Vice President of CILIP

Phil Bradley opened the conference with a talk about the changing nature of information services. He predicted a future dominated by social media. In practical terms this means that libraries and individual librarians need to start thinking very carefully about the way we manage our online presence, particularly in the social media environment. Building a strong online reputation now might have huge benefits in the future.

Six Book Challenge – Workshop

Genevieve Clarke – The Reading Agency

My first workshop was about the six book challenge, a reading initiative for college students. The scheme is intended to encourage less confident readers to read more and to use the library more. It aims to help them to overcome mental barriers to using the library. The process is very simple. Students are encouraged to read six books and to record their reading in a reading diary. Library staff stamp the diary each time a student reads a book.

Those who complete the scheme are rewarded with a certificate, preferably handed out at an awards ceremony. There are also various other incentives to motivate participants including small prizes and prize draws.

The scheme is modelled on schemes like the summer reading challenge which the reading agency runs through public libraries. Most reading schemes cater for younger age groups. They felt that the needs of college students weren’t being met so they set up this challenge.

Some of the other workshop members had already used the scheme. One college had successfully piloted the scheme with ESOL students and intended to extend it to skills for life students. Those who were already planning to use the scheme next year were also planning to target one of those two groups.

The resources pack has to be purchased from the reading agency. A £75 pack contains enough resources to run the scheme for fifty people.

The reading agency also provides a useful looking recommended reading service for less confident readers.

They are investigating the use of games to encourage reluctant readers to read more. Games will be incorporated into future versions of the six book challenge. This was only mentioned briefly but it sounds interesting.

The Evening – A quiz

We have a quiz coming up at the college. I hope everyone else is really good or we could be in trouble.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

CPD 23 - Thing 1 - Blogging

Hello fellow CPD 23 people and other readers.

I'm looking forward to being a part of the '23 things for professional development' scheme.

It has appeared at just the right moment for me. I am trying to breathe new life into this blog and CPD 23 will give me a structure that will make me blog at least once a week.

I'm a new professional, coming up to the end of my first academic year as a liaison librarian in an FE college in southwest London. I am also working towards Chartership.

I see blogging as a very useful reflective tool, I want to get into the habit of blogging regularly. Reflecting on my professional practice is a key part of the Chartership process, more importantly it is also the best way for me to improve my own performance. I need to reflect on my experiences if I want to learn everything I can from them.

At this early stage in my career I feel it's very important for me to get into good habits. Blogging about librarianship is a habit that I want to build into my life.

I have always been one of those people who write to think. I find getting ideas down in print helps me to develop and explore my ideas, almost to find out what I think.

Despite my love of writing those of you who take the time to read my earlier posts might find that this blog seems a little strange. The reason for this is that it was originally set up as part of an assignment for one of the modules on my masters course. *Wave to any readers who did one of the City University information courses. You remember DITA (Digital Information and Architecture).*

The earlier posts also include an information guide for short story writers that I had to design for another module. If anybody else is interested in creative writing I think that might actually be useful. Although some of the links might be out of date now.

More recently I have primarily been blogging about training events that I have attended. I spent the end of last week at the CoFHE conference in Wrexham so blog posts about that are coming soon. *Hello to any readers who were in Wrexham.*

Thank you for reading. If you are a fellow CPD 23 person then let me know where your blog is and I will make sure I return the favour. Good luck with the things.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Changing roles, changing futures

Websites are on the way out. One day very soon (now?) when people look for information online their first instinct will be to turn to social media and try to find out what ‘thought leaders’ are saying about their topic. The tweets, blogs, facebook pages etc of respected experts will be seen as more up-to-date and more useful than old fashioned websites. The search engines of the future will be based on this new model. This is the prediction of CILIP vice president and information guru Phil Bradley.

Mr Bradley outlined this vision of a social media dominated future at a talk I recently attended in Woking. The event was hosted by CILIP South East / CILIP in Surrey. The talk was preceded by their joint AGM.

In immediate terms the practical consequence of this vision is that if you want to be taken seriously as an information professional in the future than you need to start building up a professional online presence, and you need to start doing it now.

So essentially I went all the way to Woking to have an expert reinforce my vague background sense of guilt about letting this blog gather dust. Still it has worked so he must have been convincing. I might even try and tweet more than once every couple of months.

I have been slightly wary of blogging about this talk because he talked about searching for his own name to see what people were saying about him (and presumably to pick up comic material about his namesakes but I won’t ruin that for you). Bit silly to worry about that when presumably being mentioned on librarianship blogs helps to reinforce his position as a ‘thought leader’, not that he needs any help with that.

On the negative side members of the audience did raise the issue of privacy concerns in a world where social media shapes our access to information. Phil’s response was that he personally had decided to make everything about him available online but that might not be appropriate for everyone. I’m not sure where that gets you if you are concerned about privacy. Is the subtext that you might simply be out of luck?

A more positive take would be that we all have to make conscious decisions about how we manage our online presence.

Monday, 6 June 2011

CoFHE LASEC Information Literacy Day & Teach Meet

I recently attended CoFHE LASEC’s information literacy training day and teach meet. It was an inspiring day in all kinds of ways. Most importantly I know that it will have a positive impact on my approach to promoting information literacy. However a passing comment about blogs also reminded me that I’ve been meaning to revitalise this blog.

The ‘teach meet’ element of the day meant that there was a strong focus on sharing good practice and finding out how other colleges are tackling the challenge of teaching information literacy. Here are some of the highlights.

Introductory talks

The morning session started with two introductory talks which aimed to give an overview of the issues surrounding information literacy, including the obstacles that we face when trying to promote it. Jane Secker and Lisa Jeskins both emphasised the importance of information literacy as a life skill. It’s something that students will need throughout their lives and developing it is an ongoing process for each one of them.

The third speaker, Sarah Pavey, eased us into the ‘teach meet’ element of the day by telling us about her own experience of embedding information literacy into the curriculum of a secondary school. She discussed strategic issues like the advantages of starting at a young age and perhaps more usefully for her audience the importance of aiming for a whole school / college approach.

In the spirit of the occasion she also gave us some very concrete examples of things that she had done with her students.

My personal favourite was the lesson where a class of persistent cut and pasters were asked to criticise a piece of work that had obviously been copied from the internet. Once they’d enthusiastically identified the giveaway features they were asked to peer mark each other’s homework. Not that our students would cut and paste.

I also quite liked the idea of using ‘you say we pay’ (as seen on Richard and Judy) to elicit search terms. It’s an engaging way to demonstrate that a range of different words can be used to describe the same thing.

She had also designed her own ‘create an essay’ jigsaw. Once completed it gives useful research tips but the actual process of making it can also be used to teach key concepts like the evils of plagiarism (don’t look at another group’s jigsaw) and the idea that essays don’t have to be constructed in a linear fashion (start with a bit you can do). This was very popular with the audience.

Jane Secker blogged about what it was like to organise the Teach Meet.
Lisa Jeskins put her presentation up on her blog.

Teach Meet session

The afternoon was all about sharing innovative practice and showing off clever toys. Volunteers took turns to give brief presentations about an aspect of their information literacy teaching.

Daniel Smithson – Kingston College

Daniel started off the afternoon by showing us the information literacy resources that Kingston College had created for their VLE.

He made some interesting points about the use of podcasts. Apparently they help to encourage teachers to deliver information literacy training. Showing a brief podcast to their class gives teachers an easy way to introduce research skills into their lessons. Podcasts also have the potential to reach a larger number of students than face to face sessions.

Christina Harbour – Writtle College

Christina focussed on a simple way of making face to face information literacy sessions more interactive. She passed a can of coke around and asked the group to share words that could be used to describe it. The idea is to move from this to eliciting search terms for an assignment. Obviously the coke can was just a convenient example you could grab their attention by using something more unusual as the object.

Sally Reeve – Brighton College

Sally showed us an online service called ‘poll everywhere’. As you might expect from the name it’s designed to let you poll a group of students. You put a question up on the board and the class can answer it via the website or via their mobile phones (controversial). Students can also text comments or questions. It is free for groups of up to 30.

Antonia Williamson – Goldsmiths

In keeping with its creative image Goldsmiths has a film noir style online library induction tutorial starring the private eye Dewey McLeod. It includes interactive elements that are similar to point and click computer games. It’s very clever and they’ve had some great feedback from students. Apparently it was mostly created using Captivate.

Ella Mitchell - University of East London

This site is definitely worth a look. UEL has created an information skills website with videos, tests, guides and various other resources. It’s all open access, published under a creative commons licence that allows others to use the materials for educational purposes. There is plenty of stuff here that you might want to use. Have a browse.

Cat Taylor – Kingston College

Cat told us about quizdom, an online service that lets students in a class answer quiz questions. The clever bit is that it presents the results in a game format. Apparently the best example is a racing game where your car moves forward further if you get the right answer.

Claire Crowley – Kings College

Claire talked about the Cephalonian method. This technique is founded on three well established principles of good educational practice.

1. If students have to say something they are more likely to stay awake.

2. Bright cheerful colours also help students to stay awake.

3. Never underestimate the motivational power of chocolate.

At the start of a session you give some of the students a coloured card with a pre-prepared question on it. The questions are colour coded by complexity. Red questions might be very simple ones to start the session off and green ones might be more complex questions that you want to leave till later. You start off by asking for a red question. The students read it out and they are then rewarded with a chocolate. Repeat until you run out of pre-prepared questions then ask them if they have any questions of their own.

This is very much just a taster. Apologies if you did a presentation and I haven’t mentioned it. I haven’t come close to covering all of the experiences and innovative ideas that were shared on the day.

I recommend teach meets as a very useful way of picking up new ideas. The focus on sharing good practice means that you come away with very concrete ways of improving your own teaching.