Thinking differently

  Home after a pretty amazing day yesterday, the culmination of months of planning, it is time to quietly reflect on yesterday’s TedXNorwichEd event.

Seven months ago I was asked to join one man in his crazy idea to put on an independent TedX event. Sarah and I, probably just as bonkers, said yes, why not, let’s just do it. A big fan of, I wasn’t that familiar with TedX events, but a little research and I knew, if we could pull it off, it was going to be an amazing day for educators in East Anglia and all over the country.

Our premise was to get people to think differently about education. We invited people, anyone, to apply to speak and had nearly 50 applications. It was a tough call to narrow it down to 25, which may even have been too many, but at least we know we have a bank of interested speakers for next time. The organisation of deadlines, rules and communication was key to our success and the man behind the plan really was quite incredible in the hours of time he put in. By Christmas we had our speakers. It was real.

We needed partners, this was tough, but in the end we managed to just do it. Huge thanks to all the partners, in particular Eos and ATL without whom there really would not have been an event.

A million direct Twitter messages, tens of thousands of emails, a hundred hangouts, and a few face to face meets, and we had it all together. The day loomed. 

Friday night had the amazing volunteers reshaping the big auditorium into a cabaret style venue. Astonishing what a few tablecloths can do to lift a place. Goody bags filled in a conveyor belt fashion. Balloons pumped, carpets vacuumed. The volunteers worked their socks off all evening to bring our dream to life, and made the event run so smoothly on the day.

As the speakers started to arrive, apprehension and nerves etched on their faces, we realised there was nothing more we could really do, it was time to let the event do the talking. 

The talks ran all day, interspersed with a little poetry and a dance (performed brilliantly by Sarah’s daughter, Nadia’s who even got teach Jon Briggs a little move!) delicious food from the social enterprise The Feed, based in Norwich. Jon Briggs, voice of Siri, kindly hosted the day, and boy was he good, his skill of connecting everything together with warmth and humour is outstanding, and I believe he really enjoyed his time with us.

We were trending throughout the day, up there with the cricket and another brilliant ed event #primaryrocks. And the talks were praised, debated, deplored and celebrated. They are still being debated now, as I type. This was never supposed to be event for everyone to pat themselves on the back at how great we are. It was intended to provoke, spark debate, make people think differently. And now via yammer and Twitter the conversation and debate will continue.

I was incredibly impressed with all of the talks, the speakers worked so hard to encapsulate the ideas they felt were worth sharing into their very strict time frame, that takes time, preparation and dedication.

I am extremely proud to have been part of this event, and the work we all put in as a team. Thanks must go to the amazing volunteers, the venue, the caterers, the partners, the photographer and video recorders, the sketcher, the brilliant host, the inspirational speakers and of course the rest of our little organising team, three of whom have been holding down full-time SLT teaching roles whilst doing it.  




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