Monthly Archives: March 2014

People in the educational world often look funny at you when you say you use Twitter. “You? A professional, as in, OLD, as in, not a hipster?”, the look says. Well, as a teacher I have always been on the lookout for materials from the real world that connect to the topics we are dealing with in class. The internet and search engines have become a priceless tool for me.
In the few years I have been using Twitter I have slowly realised, to my delight, that others are on the same errand and are willing to share. I now scroll through my timeline, favourite and/or RT the interesting tweets/links, and return to them later. I can send the links and resources straight to Edmodo, the VLE I use with my students. Research time reduced, research ‘reach’ increased. And all on a phone. In my pocket. It is magic. Take this morning as an example…

Thank you @markcahill for the Google Sheets / delayed emails mash up, and the link to the 3,200 year old tree – my current 5th Yr Biology topic of Plant Anatomy is not of itself riveting, but that link is going to liven it up no end tomorrow morning.
Thank you @digitalmaverick for RT-ing the article with maps and data explaining the history of the Russia-Ukraine area. It will help me get my head around in and enable some reasoned debate.
Thank you @markcurrancavan for the link to the RTE report on the Ebola outbreak in Guinea – it reminded me that although the study of Viruses is not on my Biology students’ syllabus until early next school year, I have been planning to take a ‘time out’ to explain the viral life cycle this term. This link will be the starting point.
Thank you @susanmccarthy for RT-ing a reminder (with the link) that Tim Berners-Lee is streaming live today, speaking on the 30th Anniversary of the WWW.
Thank you @russelltarr for the link to the recordings of Sylvia Plath reading her own poems. Some of the students in a study group I supervise will now listen to these on Friday morning.
Thank you @m2thefizzle for RT-ing a link to an amazing picture, via @russelltarr, of 29 of the world’s most famous scientists of their (or any) time, taken at a conference in 1927. Marie Curie is among them, Mary, so it is one up for us girls! A perfect introduction to the topic of The Atom, which is next week’s work with my younger science students.
Thank you @eibhlin71 for RT-ing the @CASuicide picture with the saying “it’s ok not to feel ok, and absolutely ok to ask for help”. Working in a school, this topic is a very important part of our Pastoral Care curriculum, and the more ideas shared among the educational community the better.
Thank you @domaho for the Twitter picture idea from you and your students in Portmarnock Community School. I shall be ‘borrowing’ that idea, and declare here an ‘iou’ to you, Donal & Co!
Thank you @speediecelt for the picture of @rosenidhubhda at @coderdojo in Galway – a reminder to get ready for our own next session in Cavan (and to prepare for CS class tomorrow – second year will be programming their own Flappy Birds game!)

Thank you @YSInow for the information that an organ donation teaching kit prepared by students will be arriving in all schools – perfect timing as the Kidney is on the agenda very soon.

That’s just one Sunday morning’s catch. New skills, new ideas, new sources and resources, all made available to me, and through me to my students. Some of those contributors are teachers, some are not. Some know me, some don’t. By the end of this week, and on into this term, they have all contributed (directly or indirectly) to the teaching and learning in my classrooms.
(And that’s just from my “favourites” timeline – don’t get me started on the riches in the #edchatie timeline.)
So thank you to all my PLN colleagues, my army of researchers. I sow very little in comparison to what I reap; but if each adds one idea, and we share them onwards, we all benefit greatly.

mmm…just as a I am saving this post I see a tweet/retweet from @ruselltarr entitled “31 Signs You’ve Been A Teacher Too Long”…I might skip that one for now Russell, thanks!

magsavatarAs today is International Womens Day, I have been thinking of the women in my PLN (for PLN read LIFE!!) that I may not have known if it weren’t for CESI and especially Twitter. They each make such a contribution to Ed Tech in Ireland and beyond, and who help keep me afloat.

adrienneA is for Adrienne. Adrienne Webb, @dublinwebb, Chair of CESI. Teacher and author. A beacon of light and a huge support to me in stormy waters. A wise woman. She keeps our CESI community gently but firmly steered towards our remit. It is not just an alphabetical coincidence that she is top of my list. When I grow up I want to be her.

biancabanB if for both Ban and Bianca. Ban is Brigid Ann Ryan, @lismiss, and Bianca is Bianca Ní Ghrógáin, @groganbee. Two primary educators, at opposite ends of their formal careers. Ban has retired, and Bianca is just starting out, but they both share the same infectious joy in finding and sharing ideas to help their students connect with the world. Being in the company of either is a treat – I cannot wait to sit some day with both of them together, and ride the wave of the tsunami of ideas that would flow. Find them both on twitter or pinterest – you would never need to research your own lesson ideas again.


C is for Cara and for Catherines squared! Cara McDermott, @caramcdermott, and Catherine Fox, @cfoxcavan, are two of my @cavancoderdojo partners-in-crime. Both work in Cavan Institute, and are so generous with their time, and make very good travelling companions, especially if good food is involved! Fellow NY USA soul is Catherine Cronin of NUIG, @catherinecronin, is one of the most open and welcoming educators I have ever met; she keeps us all reminded of the Big Picture for our students and each other.

doogarryD is for @doogarry. Mairéad Quinn, who keeps me smiling with tales of 'five men and a dog'. We have a shared passion for teaching science and for knitting – and I am of course mad jealous of her twitter avatar!
hellieH is for Hellie. Helen Bullock – who tweets and blogs as @anseoamuinteoir, represents the next generation of ed tech women. Hellie pulled us all together last year in her book @howIlearn.

maudM is for Mary and for Marie. Mary Loftus is @marloft and Marie McKenna is @MaudMonaghan. (I’d like these two to meet also – style meets style!). Mary’s mash-up of ideas for education, delivered in her cool rock-chic fashion, really speaks to me; Marie’s zest for life is infectious and healing – I only met her ‘in real life’ not long ago, and am all the better for it.
pammoranpamP is for Pamelas sqaured! Pamela Moran, @pammoran, works far far away in Virginia USA, and yet I feel her presence almost daily since we met in Tipperary. She shares her philosophy of learning not just with the teachers officially in her care, but with us all. Pamela O’Brien, @pamelaaobrien (do watch out for that middle ‘a’), is a hero and role model for me. Pam (almost, but mostly) single handedly presents us with a wonderful ICT Edu Conference day each May on the campus of LIT Thurles. She writes a wonderful blog reflecting on her teaching and learning. We also meet for Coderdojo reasons which makes me very happy – any chance to work with Pam is a lucky one.

All these women have so many positivities in common, but for me it is the shared empathy and enthusiasm that makes me grow in their company, online or offline.

So… @magsamond wishes you all a Happy “Our” Day, Ladies!

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PS – Jan 2015 – and the list grows on…
Silicon Republic asked for woman to tweet out how mobile tech has empowered us as women, and I am going to tweet this post from last year, but first I must record how in the last year my Superwoman list is growing! As in R is for Roisin Markham, @CreativeDynamix (the name says it all), S is for Sarah Jayne Carey, @sjayc, who I’s like to be when I grow up, and L is for Leanne Lynch, @leanne_lynch1, who ensures the future of Tech in Ed is in very safe hands.roisinsarahjaynenBn3p4_6_400x400

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