It wouldn’t be March is we didn’t have the annual transit of planet #cesicon, and its satellite #tmCESI, across the education horizon. Three weeks have passed since, so better jot down the happenings while the memory still holds!
Thanks to the CESImeet team – Sarah Jayne Carey, Susan NicReamoinn, and Catriona Lane – we had a great evening in the ballroom of the Regency Hotel. Details of the speakers and topics will be loaded to the Irish TeachMeets wiki in due course. I was delighted to see both Dughall McCormick and Martin Bailey, NAACE buddies, had flown over to join us; and equally happy to meet CESI friends from all over Ireland. (We should have done a county check – I suspect there was someone for every county jersey there. Next time.)
I did a nanopresentation about the nanosecond – a modern take on the Grace Hopper version, using ‘scoobies’. In the Soap Box breakout we made some binary bracelets using the same scoobies and some ‘hama’ beads. The only downside to leading a Soap Box is missing the other 4 – Danny Murray, Richard Millwood, Jake Byrne, Stephen Howell, and each had a group in thrall. The upside is watching out for the one or two people who combine the Law of Two Feet with a touch of fomo and manage to get around to all the breakout demo corners!
We also had a mini BreakoutEDU challenge to each table to get folk in the humour for the workshop next day. There was huge variety in the presentations, I’ve never seen such fast and furious note-taking and picture snapping. I really enjoyed Martin Bailey’s live appsmashin’ demo, between the Geordie accent and deft screen swiping I was pushed to keep up!
To get a more dynamic feel for the vibrancy of the day, have a look back thru the Twitter posts at twitter.com/#cesicon. The full CESI conference programme is hanging on the website, and it well worth a look to see the variety, breath and depth of what a group of volunteers can out together when working with a shared vision. Both keynotes, Brendan Tangney and Anne Looney, were superb food for thought and action.
One lovely moment was the Bianca awards – Pauline and Gerry Grogan were there with Miriam Judge to present two awards sponsored by DCU in honour of Bianca’s outstanding career. Claire Daly and Mark Baldwin were the worthy recipients of a bursary each, one for research and one for teaching. A runner up award was made to Maggie Green.
Being involved in two workshops meant little time to zip around and see what others were doing, but the atmosphere seemed to be one of happy campers teaching and learning in equal measures. That mad mix of primary, secondary, further and third level education that is one of the CESI hallmarks, was evident as folk passed in the corridors. The now ever present red t-shirts and white pergola of the Youth Media Team were there – teenagers professional in every way, interviewing and live blogging throughout the day.
Pam O’Brien, Paul O’Callaghan and me presented a BreakoutEDU workshop straight after lunch. It was a packed room, four lively teams tackling a series of code cracking challenges. The competition was fierce, and there was evident skullduggery in certain corners. We should have recorded it – the soundtrack would not have suggested 40 teachers in a classroom at a conference! The pictures show that those who almost broke out had as much enjoyment as those “Saturday Wasters” who did break out first.
The stand out experience of the day for me was the ‘unconference’ session co-hosted by CESI & the CT4L (computational thinking for life) cohort – Richard Millwood, Nina Bresnihan, Elizabeth Oldham, John Hegarty, agus mise freisin – from Trinity College, Dublin. Prompted by the recent announcement of imminent Computer Science for Leaving Cert, it took place in a (foreshortened) Open Space Technology format. Deftly curated by Richard, it was as intense and productive an hour as ever spent at any CESI conference to date. Data gathered is on post-production, and will be published as soon as humanly possible (can’t trust the machines!!!). (And timely use was made of the PDST A3 whiteboards we’d received at #tmwellbeing the previous Thursday night).
All in all,#cesicon 2017 rocked. Meeting good friends – never enough time to talk! – is such a highlight. Making new friends is a delight.
Busy times ahead for CESI, summed up nicely by this quote:
Who knows what will be happening by the next transit of #tmCESI and #cesicon 2018? Whatever you do, don’t blink – it’ll be round again very quickly.