Take Joy in Learning – #blimage

Prompted by Catherine Cronin’s #blimage post last week I’ve decided to take up the challenge and share an image that embodies so much about learning for me. The idea behind #blimage is to blog in response to an image.  When it came to picking the image, the one that kept coming to mind was …

bianca

There is so much about this image that I love. It was taken at the ICT in Education conference in April this year and it includes Ciaran Cannon TD and Bianca Ní Ghrógáin as well as my daughter and some of her friends.  I’m using the image here with the kind permission of Ciaran.

There are so many layers to this image that make it such a powerful one for me; the sheer joy that jumps out, the casual inclusion of technology and finally the bringing together of the powerful triumvirate of an inspiring, fire starter of an educator, a group of enthusiastic, inquisitive students and a member of parliament who is truly interested and passionate about the use of technology in education.  What is most poignant about the image, is that since it was taken, we have lost the truly unique educator that Bianca was.  On a personal level I’ve also lost a good friend, who along with others has shaped my ever evolving thinking on teaching and learning.

This image perfectly captures Bianca’s style of leading from the back.  She had a knack of not getting in the way of the learning that goes on. So many of us, myself included, can often fall into the trap of over directing how and when students learn.  Having observed Bianca in many educational settings, from her own classroom, to CoderDojo sessions, to workshops at conferences among others, what always struck me was that she was prepared to take chances by not over prescribing how things were going to work.  She trusted that learning would happen and she was willing to let it evolve with a carefully placed nudge here and there.  On the day before the conference in April, Bianca and Susan Nic Reamoinn did a workshop with the girls using technology such as BeeBots, Kano and Makey Makey. These were technologies that the girls hadn’t used before, and yet by the following day the girls were happily demonstrating what they’d learned with a confidence that didn’t even hint at the very short length of time that they had actually used them for.

I’m going to cheat a little by using a second image in this post.BiancaSusanHassan

This picture was also taken at the conference and captures the fun that was so much a part of that 24 hours.  It’s a timely reminder of the joy to be found in learning …

… but what will I write?

100WCGU7

This question has been on my mind for the past while.  When I started this blog almost four years ago I was a frequent poster and I really enjoyed writing them.  Over the past few years I’ve found it more difficult to find the time to blog because I’ve taken on new modules to teach which have taken up a lot of time.  What’s been frustrating, is that when I’ve subsequently had the time to write, the question has been … but what will I write!  It’s time to reconnect so watch this space as there are a few ideas bubbling …

I’ve written this post as part of Julia Skinner’s 100 Word Challenge for Grown Ups. You can find out more about the challenge here.

Time of your life

Today was an emotional one as Amy had her graduation assembly from Primary School this morning. It’s hard to believe it’s been almost eight years since she started her formal education as a shy, quiet four year old.  Now, in front of me, I see a quietly confident young girl ready for the move to secondary school.

amy

It was lovely to be invited in to the school today, to be part of the celebrations as Amy and her friends looked backed on their years together, through the lovely version of the ‘You’re going to miss us when we’re gone’ song they performed and the fantastic slideshow their teacher put together of the happy times they’d shared.

Emotions were running high in the girls, their mums and their teachers as they bade farewell to their time in Primary.

For me, today was also about saying goodbye to this fantastic group of girls I’ve gotten to know over the years, through my visits to their class to help them to use technology.  In the first few years our times together involved using content that had already been created by others, but over the years this developed into us creating our own content through applications such as Animoto, Glogster, Scratch, HTML and so much more. I was so delighted to have some of the girls over for the ICT in Education conference back in April. The played a blinder as expected and really seemed to take to the task of showcasing their work.

ictedu

My wish for the girls, as they go their separate ways, is that the strong bonds of friendship that have been forged over the past eight years will stand the test of time …