Monthly Archives: October 2014

sescaNo apologies for a blatant “2 for 1” cross posting here – the story of our Robot challenge at CoderDojo in Cavan yesterday. I heard a wonderful storyteller, I watched a wonderful teacher, and I learned to programme a robot (with my team of four creative young gentlemen from Kildallon, thanks guys!).
Have ordered my Sesca robot from Mechatrons already, and look forward to getting it do some work for me.
Thanks again, Pete and team.

Just watching the calendar, and Twitter timelines / hashtags, in the past two weekends had made me wonder – is the weekend becoming the new week? (in Irish Education at least).

Last weekend, Oct 3rd, kicked off Friday night with a TeachMeet in St Pats College Drumcondra. It was the first TM hosted by the SPHE Network, on the eve of their 2014 conference. It was hosted by Bianca Grogan and myself, joined by John Heffernan and Sarah Jayne Carey (fulfilling our CESI offer to kickstart TeachMeets in other subject and professional associations).
One interesting tweet that passed our way during the evening, from Donal O’Mahony, listed six educational CPD events taking place over the weekend…
This list included educational management, subject associations and the informal education sector. In the meantime, back at the TeachMeet we had fun with The Hat, some jigsaw pieces, a creative approach to giving clear instructions, and gleaned from useful online resources. As ever, the sharing was the key.

Saturday saw me off to in Sligo with my Cavan Coderdojo crew Catherine Fox and Cara McDermott, and the rest of the CESI tribe off to celebrate Féilte in Kilmainham. The educational strand, curated by Cara McGinley (aided by Olivia, Oliver and Shane) had some really good threads running through each session – inclusion, engagement, formative assessment, grounded pedagogy (once we got the agreed definition sorted between @creativedynamix, @aoibhinn_ni_s, @cullej29 and meself!) were priorities for all speakers. Active engagement was the order of the day, as with our human bubblesort and squeaky chicken circuit! A serious conversational topic through the day was that we teachers need to do a skills swap with professional coders – our pedagogy for their programming! Other highlights for visitors were James and The Oculus Rift, Stephen Howell weaving his magic, and Paul Masterson’s robotics challenge. I was sorry to miss the panel with Catherine Cronin and Mary Loftus – but I know they flew the flag as ever. The day’s finalé featured a joyous flashmob from the Sligo Gospel Choir channeling The Script’s line “be a champion”. We returned to Cavan full of new ideas and motivation for the coming winter dojo season. See Jordan Cummins’s superb Flickr set to get the atmosphere of the Conference.



(and it just happens that I spent a lovely Sunday in Dublin at the AGM of the AOIC, representing my choir Cavan Singers – so is Sunday becoming the new Saurday?)

…and then this weekend rolls around, and here we go again – the Twitter timeline fills up again with reports on Code Week, Maths Week, MathsFest, Art Teachers Conference, ChemEd, Spanish Teachers TeachMeet/Conference, Designathon, and the many many CoderDojos around Ireland. HOPE YOU ARE TAKING NOTE MINISTER @JanOSullivanTD!!

I often ask this question at TeachMeets – if the internet went on fire, what one resource would you save. As a full time science teacher, my own answer used to be PhET – especially the Circuit Construction Kit. Some of my physics disapprove strongly, but over the past few years it has helped me more than almost anything to get the germ of an idea, of what’s going on in an elctric circuit, planted more clearly into students’ minds.

Have a go (and please don’t tell me if set the dog on fire).

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