Out of our tree … are we weird or are we in the vanguard? New ways forward for teacher Continuing Professional Development? Beyond TeachMeet…


Why would I choose to live video stream and film a group of people who got together at the last minute in a tree house in Regents Park to discuss the future of educational CPD? The idea, at first, seems bordering on the eccentric. The venue for this discussion was more something out of Second Life than the real world. The Treehouse Gallery public Art project in Regents Park generously gave us time and space to devote to this meeting about ICT CPD for the 21st Century and Drew Buddie suggested it would be the perfect venue for a meetup…

As my good colleague, Theo Kuechel has often said over the years – the future will be about different learning spaces. And in this particular instance it seems to be true.


Firstly it demonstrates that it is now quite possible to have CPD anywhere – even in a darkening park under a tree in the middle of London at the end of the Summer in a rainstorm. There are no longer any physical barriers to getting together to share ideas and reflect on how education is going in the rapidly changing technological landscape of the 21st century.

Secondly I felt that this meeting should be documented in detail as it marks a step change in how people “could” do things in the future. No matter how far away that future may be – the technology to facilitate that meetup is available here – now.

And what better topic to discuss than ICT CPD, the TeachMeet model and new ways of doing things that may re-energise the CPD model in this country.


John Connell – in a recent blog, suggested it was time for a TeachMeet alternative. I quote:

“I believe that the time has come, however, to think of an alternative to TeachMeet – not, I hasten to add, as a replacement, but to stand alongside TM as another way of getting people thinking, learning, playing and working together to change education, in circumstances where the particular strengths of TeachMeet are not so appropriate.”

I guess this is one of those alternatives – a QED on how to do that using imagination and drive to focus people’s attention on the issues at hand.


I would recommend that people look at the transcript, listen to the podcast or watch the video. This meeting wasn’t just about the novelty of meeting in an unusual place – it was a tightly focused discussion on the future of CPD in ICT and beyond in the UK. Many interesting points were raised during the discussion and I would welcome comments at the end of this blog on our reflections that evening.

Some of the issues raised were:

  • CPD is broken – how to fix it?
  • The TeachMeet model and how to widen awareness of this
  • How Web 2.0 tools are used effectively in education at present
  • If only a minority of teachers know about new CPD models how to be more inclusive
  • The use of Learner and Student voice in CPD models
  • The cost effectiveness in new CPD models
  • Working outside of silos


Along the way there were quite a few gems in the discussion – John Davitt’s comments that evening, using a geological analogy about CPD and the rapid development of ideas by practitioners in this area, were particularly pertinent.

… it’s almost like there’s a geological model where professional development in the past was, you got laid down like sedimentary rock – you started in as a beginner and slowly over the years you took on these layers and shales of improvement and obviously now it’s like igneous extrusions, volcanic bursts but that’s not the whole picture…

The archive of the live broadcast is here below but the TwitCam video it is not always available at times so a MP3 and transcript of the broadcast are also downloadable below – please do read through the 14 page transcript – it might take less of your time if you are a text based learner:

Transcript of the broadcast:

Tree Meet – Beyond TeachMeet – CPD for ICT In the 21st Cetntury

The MP3 podcast stream extracted from the Broadcast can be found here – best heard in tandem with reading the transcript above as the weather at some points obscured a few words:



The kit used to broadcast live under a tree in Regents Park was:

1 MacBook Pro Laptop – suitably waterproofed…

1 Blue Eyeball Webcam with HD sound and vision

1 PAG Video Light + powerpack

1 Gorilla Powerpack to extend the laptop’s life over the broadcast

1 £5.00 a month Dongle with phone SIM to broadcast out through the 3G Network

All in all it stood the test and performed excellently – access to a good wireless broadband connection would have made the video more fluent however. But as you can see – now there is no bar to broadcasting or holding CPD anywhere you wish, on any occasion at any time


Trapdoor on the book treehouse –  Treehouse Gallery

Posted on by leoncych in advisory, blogging, conferences, Continual Professional Development, Curriculum, Digital Literacy, Digital Media, distributed networking, Educational Change, informal learning, Innovation