Logo(s), LEDs, leaders, and locks.

Logo(s), LEDs, leaders, and locks.
Had to do some serious dictionary checking for the first two there. I think I’m in the clear.

CESI, Code Week EU, and TeachMeet have all combined to make the last three weeks a bit of a whirlwind of adventures. (But in a good way, as it involved meeting and working with some of the best people on the planet.)

Adventure #1: When Ian Stuart sent out the call about a TeachMeet at the 2017 Scottish Learning Festival, I put my name in the hat almost immediately. SLF ’08 was where it began for me, and I was curious to go back, and talk to whoever would turn up this time. (Say what you like about RyanAir, it makes these kinds of adventures possible).  Turns out, as it did back then, that it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I was sorry John Johnson couldn’ae be there; but to meet up with David Noble again was a treat. Ian and Drew Burrett ran a cracker of a TeachMeet, engaging us equally with the presenters and the other attendees. I’d volunteered for a nano 2 minutes (slides here), and within those two minutes I got what I was seeking – a chance to point to the research I’d done to date, and to informally seek ‘permission to proceed’ from the tribe. I felt I’d been granted that there and then by the positivity in audience reaction, and later when reading the loveliest online comment from the very John Connell whose critical online commentary way back when was very influential in my decision to forge ahead with a PhD on TeachMeet. (Seldom been so gutted as I was that evening to find out he’d been in the room as I rushed off in a  Cinderella dash to my return plane. Hold on to the glass slipper, John, I’ll be back for it.)

Adventure #2: The CESI symposium on Leaving Certificate Computer Science was the brainchild of John Hegarty, made real by himself leading the CESI Executive worker bees. We were treated to a bravura performance by our own Elizabeth Oldham on the deja vu ‘intro / outro’ cycle of Computer Science in the Irish curriculum. Anna Walsh (NCCA) and Jake Byrne (Bridge21) ran us through what it entailed and how it might look in the classroom. Richard Millwood introduced our new CESI LC CS Community of Practice development project, which he will lead with the help of some google funding. Pat Seaver as Fear a’ Tí kept us all moving through our discussion and feedback tasks. I was pleased as punch to be a living ‘here’s one I made earlier’ for Turtlestitch code, wearing my brand new hot-off-the-Brother-machine embroidered butterfly aqua sweater. It was a sort of ‘pinch me’ did-it-really-happen day for some of us – this adventure is only beginning, and it it great to be part of it.

Adventure #3: I was lucky to be magician’s assistant at Richard Millwood’s presentation , LED By The Heart, to the AGM of the Art Teachers Association of Ireland in the National Gallery of Ireland. ATAI president, Nadine McCormick, her committee, and 200 art teachers (including CESI’s own Fred Boss) made us most welcome, and engaged in the art-meets-science activity with enthusiasm and grace.

Adventure #4: My colleague and friend Alan McCullagh and I were asked to represent Code Week EU at the Tallinn Digital Summit Expo. What’s a girl to say – no, I won’t go meet all 27 Prime Minters of Europe, I won’t meet thousands of Estonian families, I won’t go to the ball? So, off we went with an arsenal of coding ideas – Pi-tops, Beebots, Lego WeDo, Turtlestitch, Micro:bit, Calliope, Beetleblocks, Sonic Pi (DJ Alan McPi played a stonkin’ algorave on Saturday afternoon) – and a bucket of LEDs, batteries and labels. Alan and I were treated like VIPs from beginning to end by our Liaison Officer Kaidi. Although the two Expo days were physically exhausting, it was very very exciting to stand in a room with the Estonian President Kirtsi addressing the seated PMs of the EU – think school assembly with added media presence. Our humble booth seemed to please the attendees as much as did the hi-tech 3G, Human Brain, 3D printed heart, VR and AR displays.

Adventure #5: It was a treat to attend the first day of the Access21 Impact Conference at Google on Friday last, as many of my Bridge 21 friends have been involved in design and delivery of the teacher CPD and student lessons. To hear the Access21 alumni speak  was a particular treat – having just seen the 27 leaders of the EU in action, it was arresting to hear the leaders of the future speak so eloquently at such a young age – watch out for Megan Atkinson and Carly Bailey, coming to a leadership role near you, very soon.

Adventure #6: Féilte at the RDS celebrates all things teacherly. It gave me a chance to catch up with James Crook and to deliver him the Scratch book from Bordeaux in which he features on the heroes page!  I first enjoyed the TeachMeet in the RDS library – Ciara Reilly and Kathleen Byrne did it again – got lots of new teachers introduced to the format, kept us presenters all in line and on time, with good humour and fun thrown in. I did a nanopresentation (one slide here) to show the idea of BreakouEDU, but to my shame I had to admit to the mortler of having locked one of the keys INSIDE the box, so it is off to get the bolt cutters before anyone can use the kit, shame on me. Then I legged it upstairs to join in the Researchmeet@Rang Bianca – thanks to Carmel, Leonard, and Conor of the Teaching Council for curating this one – where I used my allotted 5 minutes to share my first year’s PhD work on TeachMeet (slides here), and then heard what others of the Irish doctoral cohort are up to. The other plus of Feilte of course, is wandering around meeting friends, having the chats and the catch up, lunch with the astonishing Seomra Ranga, and being captured for an interview by the superheroes of the Youth Media Team.

Adventure #7: An invitation took us next to Twitter Towers to celebrate the birth of a new super-cute Code Week logo emoji! Twitter’s Ronan Costelloe was hosting a Coderdojo for the students of Marian College Sandymount with their teacher Mitch, so Ronan, mentors Isaac and Tim, and Coderdojo Foundation’s Rosa Langhammer all joined in the photo shoot fun.

Finally the best bit of the day – shared both some good Italian food shared and the journey home to Cavan with my friend Catherine Fox.

Now for some hibernation time with family.

Did I mention I have a PhD to research and write? Bye bye for now, adventures…

 

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