My first CESI conference! I set my alarm for 7am this morning to head to DCU to attend the Computers in Education Society of Ireland’s 2016 Conference. When I arrived, I spent the morning trying to match faces to Twitter profiles- many of the attendees are passionate teachers that I follow religiously on social media. After the opening speeches and keynote address, here’s a quick rundown of the workshops I attended:
Clic News – Literacy and Technology for the next 5 years:
Clic News was established in collaboration with the Dublin Institute of Technology. Clic News is a resource for upper-primary pupils providing relevant, child-friendly versions of news and current affairs articles. Developed with literacy skills in mind, children are encouraged to comment after reading each piece for which they earn stars based on good grammar and content. The stars can then be exchanged in the ‘swap-shop’ for small prizes.
Principal Nichola Spokes spoke about Scoil Oscair CNS in Lucan – a primary school that aims to blend modern pedagogies and technologies. For me, this was the highlight of the day. Nichola spoke passionately and her enthusiasm was infectious. She gave an insight into life in a school where each child has their own iPad. To see pupils as young as Senior Infants/First Class engaging in activities such as robotics, MakeyMakey and coding was, for me, fascinating.
STEAM through creative technology:
STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics. We chatted about bringing the ‘Maker’ culture of experimentation and peer learning to schools. Using a MakeyMakey kit, we made a Pacman games controller using pen, paper and a graphite pencil. This was probably the session that I took the most out of as I’ve never used MakeyMakey before.
Exploring the Digital Strategy: Learning, Assessment and Teaching Enhancement through the integration of ICT:
Finally, I attended a session delivered by PDST facilitators Mark Finlay and Siobhán O’Sullivan. Another really informative session covering alternative search strategies for pupils, acquiring copyright-free images and assessment tools. Tools covered included Socrative, Google Treks and Kahoot.
It’s amazing what spending a day in the company of such innovative, enthusiastic peers can do for you. I left DCU feeling completely inspired and excited! Well done to the organisers and presenters on a great day! Huge thanks to my lecturer Richard Millwood for encouraging our M.Sc class to attend.