Sharing joy and knowledge from an ordinary life

#ReadTL15 conference, Reading College, 2015

In the second year of our Teaching & Learning conference, we managed to get things planned ahead of time- especially as I hadn’t decided I’d run one just two months before it would take it place! I knew I wanted to start the day with an activity that would set the fun and collaborative mood of the day- it was national sunglasses day. Right, everyone would be wearing sunglasses then. Where would we get 150 pairs of sunglasses from? Please bear in mind that although we’d been ahead on much of the organisation this year, I did not have this bright idea until Thursday- at around 5pm. We would need the glasses the very next day. Suzannah Bridge pulled it out of the bag, got a huge discount and they arrived before lunchtime the next day. I think Steph was particularly relieved as I was so determined for this to happen that if we hadn’t managed to get glasses then I had decided we would just have to print and cut out a template for 150 people!

I have never been a fan of selfies and have only recently discovered them so some painfully long group selfies took place but I’m pretty pleased with them. After a particularly heavy night, some of our attendees needed the sunglasses more than others!


Concentrating face!IMG_5781

In the run-up to #ReadTL15, we launched some creative projects with learners. These were designed to promote true collaboration and contribution between staff and learners and they worked. Next year, the whole conference will (hopefully!) be planned, organised and facilitated by learners- it will be great for their personal development but well, there just aren’t enough hours in the day to arrange a conference and do my day job!

The first of these was for graphics learners to design our logo. We approached Jane Slade, one of the teachers of the graphics group at the College. She arranged for us to pitch a live brief to her learners that would form one of their assessed pieces of work. We gave all groups the outline and they had just a fortnight to refine their ideas.

They were then required to present their ideas to us (Hannah Tyreman, Stephanie Moakes and Cheryl Pennington). We were blown away by their professionalism and learning about the process behind designing a logo was a completely new experience for us. We settled on our final design and the students were even required to present back some amended designs within 48 hours. Next year, we’d really love to involve students from right across the college from the very beginning of the year in organising the event, running the logistics on the day, arranging the marketing and also designing our logo and associated merchandise. Here are the logos generated throughout the creative process:


Special thanks to:Jordan Robertson, Adam Farwell, Malivai Hall, Henrique Franco, Adrienne Humphreys, Fiona Docherty, Jade Dale-Phillips, Rhys Lloyd, Jordan Wakeford, Jack Marvell and Paul Snelling, Emily, Kieran, Krystian, Lannetha, Liam, Reece

We then approached Qian Chen, teacher of the Work Prep Photography group at the College. Her class’s Google+ Community is the most active and vibrant on the Reading College domain. Her learners enthusiastically share their photographs during lessons as well as plenty outside of it too. The learners respond to one another’s contributions and offer encouragement as well as feedback. The community has 185 members, which indicates the wider audience these learners are happy to share their work with. We wanted to sprinkle some of their creativity on our conference so we set them a challenge (via a video from Stephanie Moakes posted on the community) of taking photographs that made them think of sharing, learning and inspiring. Here are the results:


Special thanks to: Qian Chen, Adam Lane, Holly Coleman, Hadia Butt, Hari Hardwick, Sharon Turner and granddaughter Nicole, Dominic Gardner, Sonia Sood, Sarah Othen, Tony Sears, Alana Wellstead and any other students who may have helped with photographs.

The day arrived and we were pretty excited…despite the number of registered attendees who ended up not appearing, a great day of learning, sharing and inspiring was had by all!

#ReadTL15 ScheduleBar forgetting that to have a hangout, we would need a room with a webcam and speakers, all ran smoothly (I think!)

Our superstar student crew and the utterly incredible Liz Lang supported on the day and essentially ran the show as Steph and I had pretty much hit the wall by 10am and exhaustion had seriously kicked in!

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View the Twitter action on the day here:

We managed to record two of the workshops on the day:

Jill Berry- Leadership at all Levels

Barney Angliss: This Way Up: Reading the Signs so they make sense

T&L Takeaway 2015

Our takeaway at the end of the day involved attendees emailing a resource prior to the conference or sharing one one the day. We learnt our lessons from year 1 and however nice it was for attendees, we weren’t about to spend three solid days cutting and laminating small pieces of paper shaped like tags!

Most of the resources shared this year have now been gathered here (including slides from some of the presenters):

Thank you to all of the workshop speakers and attendees- you made it a great day!

We look forward to next year but first, CPD week and then some well-earned relaxation as well as attending plenty more CPD that I haven’t arranged: it’s far more relaxing and enjoyable that way!

Here are some other pictures from the day:

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Thank you to all our session facilitators. Here is the feedback received:

#ReadTL15 Feedback

My writing commitment: I’m learning to honour my thoughts. I’m learning that my words can be shared before I’ve connected all the dots or learned everything there is to know. My writing can be a snapshot of a single moment in continually-evolving time.

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