Daily Archives: November 27, 2016

img_20161127_164931Congratulations to the Library teams in Counties Cavan and Monaghan for the first iteration of Cavan-Monaghan Science Festival, held last  week to coincide with Science Week Ireland. (Is this an example of Glocalisation?)
I loved the lectures on climate change, focusng on water and soil, in the library on Wednesday evening. The family day on Saturday was terrific – the small people I know (and quite a few adults also) had a great day panning for ‘gold’, programming robots of all sizes, making their own binary code bracelets, and producing a giant bubble machine with a slider control. A special ‘well done’ to the students and teachers of Scoil Mhuire, Lacken, who brought their STEAM room resources and shared them with all comers.
Hopefully this will be an annual event, and will grow and grow.


This was a long promised trip to attend Russel Tarr’s brainchild, the Practical Pedagogies gathering in Toulouse. Over 200 attend, and well over half that number are presenters. It was worth the very roundabout journey to meet old vintage  friends and make new friends, and share ideas old and new. It was a really well-thought-out, hospitable and very well organised affair; the venue being the international school, we also had a chance to look about the classrooms and labs – all in all it was lovely. The socialising was great fun each evening in central Toulouse. The people who came there were among the most committed, reflective and passionate I have even come across. Although the title says practical and pedagogy, these people are about more than tips ‘n tricks (nowt wrong with those mind you) – I’d add purposeful and philosophical to all other p words.

The programme of lectures and workshops, bookended between two lively interactive plenary sessions with Ewan McIntosh, is here:, and the #pracped16 hashtag timline is still flowing with ideas here
Lisa Stevens has posted some terrific (analog) sketchnotes on her blog here:
I was mesmersied watching Lisa build the first one during Ewan’s opening keynote. What a woman.

My first epiphany (and most affecting) of the two days was The Mantle of The Expert workshop with Tim Taylor. My brain and my heart are still working it out. It was sublime. (And I wasn’t officially mean to to be there – a series of lucky instinct-driven decisions took me there; not the first time that has worked out well for me.)
The afternoon workshop was with the creative force that is Stephen Reid – Immersive Minds – delving into the possibilities for using MineCraft with students.
The next day workshops I attended were with Ewan (loved the 5 Why/s, and What Would X Do? [and thanks for the TeachMeet chat]); and another off-piste workshop with Bryn Llewellyn (Tagtiv8) that turned out to be a cracker – as well as learning, I was definitely creamcrackered after chasing round the schoolyard playing team tag spelling and emoji collaging (is that even a verb? it is now, I guess!).
‘My’ workshop was in the final slot, and we had good fun in the physics lab – there was a lot of squeaking and squealing (loudest from Dughall, Bill, Julian and Ros, the locals had slightly more decorum), as we worked our way through the stages of the human circuit and making LED glowies. This exercise has now been forever officially renamed Chicken ‘n Chips in their collective honour.

Thank you a thousand times to Russel; and to everyone for their memorable company – les garcons Dughall, Julian, Bill, Steve, Simon, Bryn, Tim, Pete;  et les filles Lisa, Julie, Cat, Cathita, Ros, Sonia, Yasmin. Hope to see you at BETT in January.

{ And my special secret ‘take-away’ is going strong, thank you again, Julian! }

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