The 10th ICT in Education conference took place on Saturday 10th May. As in previous years CESI hosted a TeachMeet on the previous evening, and, as always, it provided attendees with a relaxing evening of catching up with old friends and new. The sharing began on the Thurles campus and continued later in the Anner Hotel. It was great to see new faces begin to share what is working for them in their classrooms. All in all, a great kickstarter for the conference to come.
Saturday saw the busiest conference we’ve had with a vibrant exhibitor presence as well as an increased student presence. LIT President, Maria Hinfelaar, welcomed attendees to the ‘Global Voices’ themed conference before handing over to Minister for Training and Skills, Ciaran Cannon. We are very fortunate, to have a Junior Minister who is so interested and engaged in making progress in the integration of technology across all levels of our education system. Next up was former Teacher of the Year, Evelyn O’Connor. Evelyn’s heartfelt sharing of her experiences rang true for so many in the room. Too often, people gloss over the difficulties when sharing their experiences. It’s good to hear the a balanced view of the rough with the smooth to enable us to see the light at the end of the tunnel when it all seems to be going wrong!
Next came the experimental part of the day. We decided, with some prompting from Conor Galvin and Bernie Goldbach, to try an open workshop format for a portion of the day. This section was titled ‘The W@lk’ and our aim was to showcase some of the work that is going on in classrooms across the country allowing attendees to observe rather than participate. We had six stations on the W@lk.
- Bridge 21 – an education programme based in Trinity which can be adapted for use in secondary schools. The model is team based, technology mediated, project based and cross curricular. On the day Kevin Sullivan worked with a group of local secondary school students to produce video clips on what students should learn in school and also a more frivolous clip
- MissionV – a creative, immersive games based learning environment for schools and industry. On the day John Jennings and Esther Lambe provided attendees with an opportunity to try out the Oculus Rift as well as sharing the experience of Esther’s school while using Mission V.
- CoderDojo Thurles – a free coding club for young people. Jacqueline Humphries along with the team of mentors and Dojo ninjas showcased some of the projects the Dojo has been working on throughout the year including HMTL, App Development, electronics and so much more
- Radio TY from St. Wolstan’s in Celbridge – a youth media team based on our own YMTfm. Noeleen Leahy brought a group of students who shared their experiences of setting up a media team in a school. They managed to squeeze in an interview or two along the way as well as take some selfies 🙂
- Makey Makey workshop – Bianca Ní Ghrógáin assisted by Hassan Dabbagh led a workshop with some local primary school children in the use of the Makey Makey kit in conjunction with Scratch.
- Project Spark – Stephen Howell from Microsoft demonstrated the Project Spark application
While the W@lk was a new departure for us, and there are definitely areas which need a little polishing, the initiative was very well received by both participants and attendees alike, with many commenting that it was a timely reminder placing students at the centre of what we as educators do.
In his own inimitable way Stephen Howell pulled many of the mornings strands together in his plenary session, before attendees got to choose from a wide variety of workshops led by educators across the levels. The hum of conversation at lunch time was an indicator of the level of engagement and enthusiasm from the teachers who came from far and wide on a Saturday to keep themselves up to date on the use of technology in the classroom.
After lunch saw a continuation of the parallel workshops before the closing session with Julie Cullen and Helen Keegan. Julie is the Young Advisor to Neelie Kroes, Vice President of the European Commission, and she shared her experiences of EU Code Week which saw Ireland punch far above our weight with the most events. Helen Keegangave the closing presentation of the day, sharing her global collaborations which she undertook with her third level students.
The Youth Media Team returned to their ‘home’ conference after a hugely successful year and under the guidance of Joe Dale, Conor Galvin and Catherine Cronin they produced an eBook of the days’s proceedings. We’re currently in the process of getting it published.
It was a jam packed day of sharing, chatting and being happy 🙂