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And so in-person conferences begin again – the past two weekends saw the return of two annual fixtures, ICT in Education in the Thurles campus of TUS, and the PG Student Research Conference in the School of Education in TCD.

  1. #ictedu Sustaining Education

On Saturday May 14th my car remembered its way to Thurles for the return of ICT in Education, with Pam O’Brien and her team back in action. It was good to see the Youth Media Team back on its feet, with Bernie Goldback introducing Mia and Dylan to the team. I’d had the coolest interview with Dylan the week before, and I confess he was my main focus at this conference.

The programme for the day is outlined here – I enjoyed it all, but (sorry adults!) I must confess that my favourite session was in the afternoon, when Dylan Goldbach, age 10 took us thru his education and life to date. It was a “you had to be there” experience I won’t forget for a while. Thank you, Dylan.

2. #EdconTCD (Re)building Education: Begin Again, Begin Better

Saturday May 21st I was back on the 109x bus down to Dublin. The programme comprised parallel sessions of themed Early Career Researcher seminars, PhD workshops, Lightening Talks, an advice laden panel chat, and a Keynote. 

I loved each sessions I attended – thank you presenters Derek Maher, Larissa WelHoffer and Clara Fiorentini for each sharing their research, and Prof. Andrew Loxley for his workshop for illuminating the (looming) Viva process. 

The Lightening Talks comprised 5×5 nanopresentation snapshots of research from QUB, MU, and TCD. Thanks to Patricia Nicholl, Jinzhou Ni, Keitumetse Mabole, and Clare Kilgallon who joined me in this venture. Special thanks from me to Keitumetse for introducing us to the custom of KGOTLE. And a hat tip to Ciaran Bauer for timekeeping with smiling signals that kept us in check and within our time limit.

image shows four women and one man who have been presenting together in a bright room.
the image is captioned "KGOTLE (public space for community meeting)" and features a few dozen african people inside a circular wooden fence build under a dry on a hot dry day. A dog lies asleep on the sandy ground outside the circle.
Image: author source unknown at time of writing, image available at acumenmagazine.co.za

The keynote was exactly what it said on the tin first slide, “My Thesis, Myself”, a fantastic confessional of real life entangled with PhD life, from recent graduate Dr Emer Emily Neenan. I guarantee that nobody who was there will forget this keynote.

Disclosure – I had the royal box for this presentation, a front row seat watching a child calmly ignore their Mam who is speaking about the writing of a thesis while quietly writing their own thesis.

looking down on a seated young child who is about to write into a scrapbook page which has some stickers on the page. the child's shoes are black with lunious yellow space icons.
[picture taken by @magsamond, included with parental consent and and assent of subject]

It was a heartening day of learning, meeting up again, finding out what how everyone is doing.

Thanks to Lorraine, Derek, Stefania, Amreen, Sylvia, and Fiona for making the day so nourishing for the rest of us (and that includes the food, especially the fancy sandwiches for the bus ride home).

[ps – I now realise I didn’t post any thank yous after visiting the BETT TeachMeets at the end of March – that’ll be filed under “tomorrow is another day”] No, couldn’t write them in wrong order, went back and did BETT blog post first.


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BETT was a tentative affair this year – a last minute decision back to the Excel in person for a flying visit (less than 24 hours away from home – a speedy round bus-plane-walk-plane-bus return trip from Cavan Ireland to London City). Becuse the Saturday of BETT is no more, both TeachMeets were on the same evening back to back. I took part in both, and saw very little of the rest of BETT – what I did see was a bit disconterting – there seemed to be a lot of booths with surveillance type stuff for sale.

It was different to other years, being in the centre of a very noisy late evening conference space. Both TeachMeets however were packed with good stuff from teachers of every level and sector and geograpichal locartion. The technical support was superb which helped both presenters and audience. The MCs – Arjana & Bart, Dawn & Drew – did the “hosts with the most” business of keeping the plates, and the random name picker, spinning. The running buffet of refreshments was more than welcome, as was the lovely supper in the Fox Connaught afterwards, hosted by the kindest most unassuming person in edtech, 2SimpleNigel. It was a long, relaxed evening full of rich conversations.

As Twitter threads are beoming the new blog posts, I just went back to read my reactions at the time, posted on the fly in the East End (and oooh to wordpress for the Unroll button, new to me, nice move!). Here’s the unrolled thread:

Thanks to organisers & hosts of two #TeachMeets at #BETT2022 @abfromz @BartVerswijvel @digitalmaverick @dawnhallybone @dannynic @IanStuart66 and to the presenters also the “providers!” of refreshments both during and after @2SimpleSoftware @ClassVR
#tmBETT22 #tmBETT2022

1/2

four picture college, three showing spakers at a podium - two white females, one male - and the fourth showing a napshot of a timetable stating "TeachMeet Bett, Afternoon Session and TeachMeet Bett, Evening Session.

above = 3 of many presenters from many countries
@caroljallen [UK, t’north bit] reminding us it takes more than ears to listen to a student
@elenavercher [Catalunya] showing us the magic of genius hour
@simonmlewis [Ireland] with a Principal’s post-pandemic perspective
#TeachMeet

post script – this interesting piece of history about the ‘TeachEat’ social venue @FoxConnaught – thanks to Nigel at @2SimpleSoftware for making sure we all got fed – and when the right food got to the right tables in the end it was delicious. Staff were sound too, thank you all.

a snapshot of part of a colourful digital mural, the heading is THE CONNAUGHT and the text says "Originally called the Connaught Tavern (now The Fox@Connaught) as a dockside inn, the Grade II listed building dates back to 1881. It opened to cater for passengers  disembarking on the passenger ships at the Victoria Dock. As passenger numbers declined the pub saw itself catering increasingly for the dock's labourers and it became a regular congregation point for those waiting to find out if they would be chosen for a day's work."

Originally tweeted by mags amond 🇮🇪🇪🇺🇺🇸 (@magsamond) on March 28, 2022.

Hopefully in other years there will be more time to wander about London with the fellowship that often goes to BETT together from Ireland. I was moving too fast at the time to realise how much I miss this part of the trip. Next time.


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