Makermeet and ICTEDU – magic moments

1 Makermeet
Evolving the ICTEDU Teachmeet into a Makermeet was a chance we took, because somehow we knew the folk who would turn up would be up for it. And hey, we were right!
From the moment we made our Glowies to wear as badges it was obvious the creativity in the room could light up the town of Thurles for a year. We were a motley crew including primary and secondary school students, teachers from all sectors both formal and informal, Coderdojo mentors, and assorted Keynote Speakers not too lofty to get down and dirty with the proletariat (cheers Steve Bunce, Mary Loftus, Paul Hopkins and Stephen Howell). And down and dirty it actually was, with most projects ending on a floor at some stage.

The first session saw teams taking on randomly selected challenges – mini pan pipes were made, bridges were built, balloon propellors constructed, water was split, hovercrafts hovered, and – in pride of place in the centre of the auditorium – our first ever Rube Goldberg machine was born. As marble runs go, it may have been humble, but the rollercoaster built by Susan, John and Kevin will go down in Teachmeet history. Pam literally almost exploded with delight!

We then split up into three camps for the Three Steve Soap Box Smackdown, wherein Steve Bunce, Steve Holmes and Stephen Howell each ran us through some exciting ideas for the world of Making.

After this we were greeted online by “The Godfather”, Ira Socol, from the US. He is leading and supporting maker culture in Virginia classrooms, alongside Pam Moran. It was great to hear his grizzly ol’ voice encouraging us onwards. He also reminded us we had a challenge to answer from Mike Thornton’s students…so we got to work on the 20 sheet paper tower challenge.

20 sheets of paper, that is all a team gets. Build a tower as tall as possible with same, that’s all a team has to do. Competition was really fierce, with all sorts of skullduggery detected. With last year’s Marshmallow / Spaghetti tower champions – Catherine Cronin and Conor Galvin – absent, the field was wide open. Winners were Hassan, Neil and Emer…

The auditorium was awash with trash and laughter of happy people by 9pm – when the trash was sorted, the happy people retired to the Anner Hotel for refreshments and – Kahoot! Thanks Bianca for leading this – it was the most fun Apres Meet I can remember.

2 ICTEDU
For me this year, ICTEDU started early on the Friday morning, working with Kevin and Ciaran from Bridge21, and the TY students of Presentation and Colaiste Mhuire Thurles. The groups, tasks, fire drill, momentum, engagement, investment, fun, ideas, and respect were all amazing for me. Watching the students meeting the public and stepping up to explain their work during the W@lk, and making friends, was a joy.
No adventure is complete without a selfie, so here we all are with Kevin precariously but confidently poised on the windowsill…

The ICTEDU keynotes and workshops I got to were great. First of all it was all the Steve’s again…
I just loved meeting the crowd humming and giggling out of Steve Bunce’s session, I also LOVED the Creative Computer Lab workshop with @Seafoam – his incredible energy and goodwill , Stephen Howell’s support for him both there and in the Keynote later, working with the truly brilliant-but-so-humble Steve Bunce as my learning buddie – it was all beyond good.
Once again I watched the Youth Media Team work with Conor Galvin. The only word for this team is AWEsome.
At 3pm I had such a dilemma – so many wonderful folk to choose from, but this time I got it right and followed my instincts to a lightbulb moment with @MrNeilButler when he showed us his JC Key Skills Twine Games Framework. What.A.Takeaway.
By the final Keynote session, I found myself (almost maternally nervous for, but) so proud of Mary Loftus as she calmly challenged us to channel our creativity as educators.
There was a little tear listening to Pam’s words about the late Rita Clohessy. There has evolved a huge overlap between our CESI tribe, and what @topgold calls the ICTEDU family, and Rita was good to us all.

A very favourite and very happy moment of the day came when I found myself sitting with both Ban Ryan and Bianca Ní Ghrógáin – two giant shining stars, two peas in a pod. It was fun to see @lismiss greeted, like the CESI royalty she is, by all and sundry. It was cool to have the pair of them meet at last, because they are both such powerhouses of ideas, and enthusiasm and both are role models for other educators. I can’t imagine how we’d contain the two of them if they were ever presenting together…we’ll have to work that out before next year!

For a flavour of the whole weekend, have a look at the Twitter timeline for #ictedu

Thanks and kudos to @pamelaaobrien and her team in LIT Thurles for a wonderful weekend. The rumours that next year is already being planned are VERY true. See you there.

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