Report back on the Elkanah House TeachMeet and IpadMeet

Submitted by Fiona Beal

Saturday 26 November 2011

This morning I woke up feeling excited. It was TeachMeet day at Elkanah house! Two ‘meets‘ to look forward to at the same venue – one to do with general technology (TeachMeet) and one to do with using Ipads in the classroom (Ipadmeet).  I have written about TeachMeets before on this blog. They are a very exciting form of professional development. I have been to two in South Africa, and both times I have come away with new technology friends, new ideas and new enthusiasm. I normally go home and start trying out everything I learned about!

Highlights from the Teachmeet

Unfortunately there weren’t too many ‘Keen Beans’ that were willing to share something today. Only five of us! But there were quite a number of ‘Enthusiastic Lurkers’ who will hopefully think about giving a presentation at the next Teachmeet in February. I was thrilled to see that there were four principals at the ‘meets’. Lucky schools! If the Head shows an interest there is no telling what can be achieved. There was a Twitter stream going on in the background. You can view it at #elkteachmeet.

1. Use Diigo for bookmarking

Linda Foulkes showed us all the uses of bookmarking using Diigo. I am an avid user of Diigo but there was a lot I didn’t know. I must explore more!

Maryne from Elkanah House and Alan from Digicape

2. Use a free video programme called VLC

Jonathon Manley showed us a programme called VLC and highlighted VLC’s extra features where you can take snapshots of DVDs played. You can also add Audacity and create your own soundclips. I don’t know this programme at all but am certainly going to try it. VLC can be found at

3. Combine creative writing with stop animation movies

Micahel Botha, a Grade 7 teacher showed how her class recreated a Greek myth by using digital cameras and stop animation. They used digital cameras and then MovieMaker to pull it all together. They included voice over and music. Each movie was unique. I can imagine that this makes writing come alive for even the most relectant writer. 

Di and Esther from Someset College

4. How to use your blog as a teaching tool

This was my presentation.  I am currently presenting an online blogging course for teachers around South Africa using a blog as a teaching tool. I have found that the following five programmes come in very handy –,,, Slideshare and Screencast-o-matic.  You can view my presentation here since I also presented it from a blog!

5. Use to find information on your topic

Karen Stadler gave this presentation. You join Scoopit and tell it what topic you want it to investigate. It finds relevant website links and brings them to you. You choose what you want, and hey presto you have a lovely magazine to share with others. I loved this idea. So Scoopit…here I come! Incidentally at the Teachmeet two people belonged to Scoopit and you might want to take a look at their magazines. Karen –, and Arthur

Arthur and Karen from Elkanah House in foreground

Highlights from the Ipadmeet

After a break and lots of chatting, eating and interacting it was time for the IpadMeet. Some new teachers arrived. Linda Foulkes write a blogpost previous to this giving ideas on what we should do at this first Ipadmeet. You can read about it here.

1. A marvellous app called Book Creator

Alan Goldberg (Head of Education Development, Digicape) was at the IpadMeet.  He did a workshop at Elkanah House last Saturday where he demonstrated  a wonderful app called Book Creator.    Karen Stadler started off showing the book she created at that workshop. Then Alan showed his book called ‘Ethan and Alan in Italy’. It was a recap of a holiday with his teen son.  He showed us how you can embed videos, add hyperlinks and other media into your book and make it come alive. Links at the bottom of the page allow you to email links to your students and colleagues. Any epub reader will open the book.  As a keen writer myself I was completely taken with this app. and its potential. 

Carolynn from Springfield College

2. Read tweets on the Ipad using Flipboard

Karen Stadler showed us this application. This is a great way to read tweets on the Ipad. It gives you your tweets like a newspaper.

Two thoughts struck me at the Ipadmeet.

*Tablets are definitely the way forward.

*I didn’t realise the potential in this little device that I am so privileged to own. 

Nicki from Bishops College

It really was worth giving up a Saturday to attend these meets at Elkanah House. The next dual session is to take place on 25 February 2012. 

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