Monthly Archives: May 2016

Thanks to Susan Nic Reamoinn, and the students formerly of @rangbianca, for the invitation to visit their first KidsMeet sessions on Wednesday morning. These two KidsMeets were organised, hosted and presented by students for their fellows in the 4th, 5th, and 6th classes across the school. The entire morning was modelled on a classic TeachMeet, with random name picker, nano presentations about personal passions, and interval activities and challenges. Proceedings were led very adeptly by students Bence and Rory. “Presenter Bingo” proved very popular, though we teachers felt like ‘auld wans’ when we found ourselves explaining what a Full House meant (waaggh).

The student presentations were a treat – each volunteer came forward with their story, most of them spoke of their passion or interest. We had Irish dancing, gymnastics, art, how to You Tube, basketball, all sorts.One student showed us a sample of the book he loves to make for others – it was stunning. Dylan reminded us of how he’d been encouraged by Bianca to make blog posts of the science he was leaning – to hear someone so young describe his own development as a learner was a rare treat. The overall variety of subjects and ideas was as good as at any adult TM I’ve experienced to date. The confidence and skills of the student organising team was arresting. I felt really privileged to be there.

And then, at the point when grown up TM organisers would be collapsing in a heap at the end of the session – they tidied up and did it all again with another group!

(And as if that wasn’t enough for one morning, over in the other halla, there was a Maker Faire taking place, as it was school tech week).

For a flavour of what happened, look at #kidsmeet

Go Griffeen Valley Educate Together National School, Lucan.

Clockwise from top left: Om with a sample of the bespoke gift books he makes; “presenter bingo” card; paper tower challenge x 2; reminders of Bianca’s t-shirts; more paper tower excitement.




Make stuff, break stuff, learn stuff.

That’s what our host Hassan Dabbagh said in his welcome to the 2016 #MakerMeet at #ictedu on April 22nd. And so that is what we did.

We made glowie critters with LEDs and 3v batteries, old corks, and most of the contents of a Mr Price store!

We made more monster crayon drawings, inspired by Mary Jo Bell and student Emily’s description of her monster.

We made one-cut shapes, led by Pam O’Brien –  inspired by Katie Steckles online

We made Ojos de Dios using wooden skewers and wool.

We made foam rockets and flew them across the auditorium. (We almost beheaded one conference Keynote, which would have been most unfortunate. Luckily the rocket was diverted in time.)

We made a lot of noise and a lot of mess.

We made new friends. We made each other laugh.

We made very little use of the chairs in the room, but plenty use of the tables and floors.

We made Vines and AudioBooms of our adventures.

We made plans for more break/make/learn activities together.

We made a welcoming party of critters attendees to Saturday’s #ictedu conference.

We made a Chirpstory of the #makermeet twitter timeline – well worth a look.

We made short work of the gorgeous food back in the Anner Hotel afterwards.


…and very belated thanks to those who made the recent Froebel Teachmeet in Maynooth such a celebration of teaching and learning. It was the Head of the Froebel Dept, Prof Marie McLoughlin who reminded us that April 21st was Friedrich Froebel’s birthday.
(I suspect that Herr Froebel’d have approved greatly of the playful elements that pervade a TeachMeet; would he have called it kindergarten CDP?)

This was the second outing of #tmFroebel, organised and hosted by the Dissolving Boundaries elective students at the behest of Head of Education, Seamie O’Neill. And it the first without Bianca Ní Ghrógáin RIP, who’d hosted such a memorable evening last year. This made is tough going on her colleagues and friends in the Freobel and CESI worlds, but guess what – between the lot of us, it turned out to be a pretty ‘biancafied’ adventure.

(The whole story can be follow as it unfolds on the #tmFroebel Twitter Timeline.)

From the opening session – the monster crayon challenge pictured above (but you really did have to be there) led by Mary Jo Bell, to the final video presented by second level student Karl Reddy which moved the attendees standing ovation – it was non-stop action and reaction. The weird mix of an odd 100 trainee teachers, teachers of teachers, retired teachers, researching teachers, and even a few ‘real’ teachers (boom boom!) makes for a lot of valuable cross pollination.

(To our three guests from Kolkata – Chaitah, Madhhumita and Dalia – please note we can do decorum when we have to, but we love the odd evening of total anarchy.)

GRMA to all who stepped up, rowed in, joined in, and made the evening. You know who you are – but in case of doubt…let the credits roll…

tmFoebel speakers

Tech Support – John Hegarty & Rob Quinn
Tweeters corner – Susan Nic Réamoinn & Sarah Jayne Carey
Admin – Rebecca Boyle & Vera Timmins
Student organisers – Daniel Brady, Donnacha Crosbie, Killian Dunne, Niall Kelly, Pauline Lucey, Siobhan McCloskey, Catherine McGee, Kerri McGuirk, Patrick Mount, Sean Naughton, Jen Quinn, Valerie Smith.




Two years ago, in a panel discussion at the first Excited* Digital Learning Festival, I remarked in passing that the Dublin Castle auditorium we were using would make a perfect venue for a TeachMeet**. What had prompted the remark was the view I had from the stage – beautiful surroundings, lots of round tables, fab sound system, deadly (but invisible) tech back up – all the support elements that allow the humans space to seriously interact and get stuff shared. In Homer Simpson terms…Mmm…TeachMeet

Well, be careful what you wish for, eh? Two ‘Excited’s later, and there’s to be a Digital MegaMeet on Saturday May 21st at the 2016 Excited Digital Learning Festival. It will span the day, and will feature some lively -and lovely – sessions cooked up between the Excited team and the CESI tribe.

Imagine – think Electric Picnic (or if you’re old enough, Lisdoonvarna) crossed with TeachMeet. Except you wouldn’t need the wellies. Or the hat. Or worry about wifi!

Details of the various sessions will be on websites of Excited and CESI pronto – both sets of elves are making the final tweaks! (or should that be tweets?)


*Excited has become an interesting addition to the annual Irish ed tech gatherings. Last year’s coincided with a very special day for Ireland – the students exhibiting their projects were surprised with an improptu visit from equality champion Senator David Norris – as the Marriage referendum count was taking place across the courtyard of the Castle, making it quite a surreal day for all present.

**TeachMeet as a form of ‘guerilla CPD’ is settling in nicely also – this will be TM no. 57 (of those recorded to date at the Irish TeachMeets wiki) since the first one fadó fadó in Feb 2009. The story of how that came about will be for another day / week / month / year. Meantime, see you at the Castle for #DigitalMegaMeet.

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