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March was an unpredictable month, when it was never clear what might happen.
[Tracy Chevalier, Girl With A Pearl Earring]


March 1st >>> Driving home after the annual recharge that is the CESI conference weekend. Skin on hands raw and sore from the industrial strength hand sanitisers in The Sheraton Hotel and Athlone Institute of Technology, provided out of watchfulness against this new virus. A watchfulness which had prompted a return to long abandoned daytime talk radio for Covid-19 news updates, and a return to the more controlled atmosphere of the car from the lottery that is dense public commuter transport. Head full of thoughts about the delights of the weekend just spent with wonderful people…

  • Friday night’s TeachMeet, #tmCESI curated by Sarah Jayne Carey and Mary Jo Bell, which I spent as an observer as part of my PhD field work.open asynchronous professional development
  • Saturday’s #cesicon action included a morning TurtleStitch workshop co-hosted with John Hegarty; a midday panel discussion about Open Asynchronous Professional Development with Catherine Cronin, Rebecca O’Neill, Pat Seaver, me and a theatre full of educators from all over Ireland who engaged in debate, a debate which continued into Bryan Mathers’ compelling ‘Visual Thinkery’-fuelled afternoon address, a good summary of which is here in CESI Secretary and panel convenor Kate Molloy’s reflective post-conference blog post.

March 2nd – March 30th>>> Ch-ch-ch-changes. Mostly unexpected.

  • change for hashtag #edchatie – came unexpectedly when curator Fred Boss announced that the Monday night chats would cease, leaving the # as a 24/7 timeline for tagging education matters. At the suggestion of Eoghan Evesson, we had ‘For One Night Only’ a final Monday night valedictory #FredChatIE to say thank you to Fred.
  • change of pace – increasing isolation leading to instinctive then instructed cocooning – staying home instead of going to college lab or local library, private St Patrick’s Day parade in the backyard, watching as our caretaker government moves to take more and more care but worrying it might not be timely enough for the most vulnerable, marvelling at the ingenuity and generosity of those getting on with helping us get over this as a population, and rewriting the entire list of what is important or necessary.
  • change of language – a sobering morning reading ‘the’ research paper by Neil Ferguson & co at Imperial College – mitigation, suppression, surge, rebound, social distancing, cocooning – and realising that the only variable that will matter until a vaccine is deployed is capacity of the ICUs across the country / the world
  • change of ‘venue’ – conversations and meetings in Skype, Zoom, Blackboard, Teams, Meet, Hangout, Jitsi (btw, for me it is a big ‘ugh’ to the word virtual as in VLE; and as for incorporeal to describe meetings, it is a louder ‘ugh squared’).
  • change in education infrastructure – a totally ‘flipped’ system, not even over a weekend but over a single Thursday night began with the 12yo granddaughter arrived home with all her books – all 22kg of them. The new hashtag-du-jour becomes #EdShareIE, suggested by Amanda Joliffe, a place where the suddenly-displaced teachers, teacher-trainers, and providers could point ideas and resources at. Frazzled and frantic for the unprepared, even a bit so for the prepared, but generous sharing from those for whom this was not a new experience; proud of my teaching colleagues who are triaging their way into a new situations simultaneously at home and at work.
  • change in pedagogy – and so a month that had begun with a relaxed discussion about emerging Open Asynchronous Professional Development became a global rollercoaster of urgent talk of how to ‘deliver’ school through a screen. It seemed to only worry about how to quickly change teacher’s ‘stand and deliver’ from a podium to ‘sit and deliver’ from home office chair. It was a little dizzying – one of the reasons I considered OAPD to be important is that it can be “in your own time, in your own space, in your own way, at your own pace”. Couldn’t it / shouldn’t it be the same for teachers and their learners? The way Catherine Cronin describes open education practice – allowing that it is ‘complex, personal, contextual, continually negotiated’ – seems to me to be a very fair way to proceed for all education, whether it is situated online or offline. And reading other who have been “at this” for a long time who share their wisdom … of the many, these are four that resonated with me:
    > Leigh Graves Wolf A reflection on teaching in online EdD enviroments
    > Donald Clark Ton of tools and 10 things to do if you’re new to online learning…
    > Nick Jackson The Dawn of New eLearning
    > Steve Wheeler Face-to-face at a distance
    And so to stop my head either exploding or imploding, the calm genius that is Bryan Mathers drew another ‘think’, this time for Open Asynchronous Pedagogy. I like it. The idea, and the image. And it arrived on my screen with five minutes of a posting of the poem by one of my favourite educators. And that made me very happy.open asynchronous pedagogy

“a stirring
of power
to go on
towards the space
of sharing.”
[Michael D. Higgins, Take Care]


March 31st > and so cocooning continues until further notice. Holed up, on hold, holding on. Ding dong – special doorstep deliveries. Chats through the window. Washing hands and washing windows!

But it won’t be forever. ‘Til we get to the other side, do as Miggledy says, tabhair aire, take care.


audacity

7 minute listen, ums & ahs, mistakes and all


Creative Commons License
long march towards a place of sharing by mags amond is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.



 

Teachmeet reports front cover

TeachMeet10Report as PDF

An IPA analysis of findings of an open survey which invited global participants to share examples of impact in the first ten years of TeachMeet.
Email any errors you spot to amondm@tcd.ie 😉

Creative Commons License
This work by TeachMeet Collective is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

 



Selected data TeachMeets UK & IE 2013-2019

TeachMeetsSelectedData2013-2019 as Excel

TeachMeetSelectedData2013-2019 as CVS

Creative Commons License
Selected Teachmeet data 2013-2019 by Mags Amond and Richard Millwood is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

 



TeachMeet[AUS} report cover

TeachMeet[AUS} report cover

TeachMeetAustraliaAnalysis2014

© Reproduced with permission – Matt Esterman on behalf of TeachMeet[Aus}

 



The length and breadth of TeachMeet experience in the 60 respondents to the ‘TeachMeet 10’ survey is both wide and deep, as can be seen when it is mapped placing length on a Rogers diffusion scale, and breadth on a Wenger Trayner deLatt levels of experience scale:

Temporal and experiential profile of "TeachMeet is 10"survey respondents.

Temporal and experiential profile of “TeachMeet is 10″survey respondents.

My eye caught a recent call from #femedtech for contributions to a Quilt of Care and Justice to be put together and displayed in April at OER20

I made a decision to stitch a square at home; and as it happened an opportunity arose during a special workshop to stitch another. Both have been dispatched to and received by Frances Bell who is coordinating the project.

Square 1 is an homage to a Logo icon Cynthia Solomon, who has been a computer science educator for many decades. I love to listen to her tell the story of developing turtle Logo and introducing it to children, and I appreciate the fact that she puts education value before everything else. The circle of hearts in the centre is a Turtlestitch design by Cynthia who nowadays collaborates with another awesome teacher, Susan Klimczac, at the South Boston Technology Centre. The turtles are a wave to Andrea Mayr-Stalder, the creator of the open source programming tool Turtlestitch.
The red and gold fabric fabric was sitting, already cut in to a pinked circle, with the sewing machine of my late mother Angela, whose machine sewing was my first introduction to technology and first lesson in watching a woman doing it for herself. I have no idea what her plans for the swatch were, but I think she would approve of where it is going to end up.

Square 2 evolved during a collaborative exercise which evolved during a visit to Nano Nagle Place in Cork Ireland, a centre dedicated to social justice, having been invited to bring them a Turtlestitch atelier. Led by Richard Millwood, a group of us – Debbie, Danielle, Sorcha, Naomi and me – took the Nano Nagle logo and worked out the maths together in order to code the design, and watched together as it stitched out. The black-on-black french knots, hidden in plain sight, were added by me later to represent the fact that due to Penal Laws in 18th century Ireland, Nano (who grew up to be the founder of the Presentation sisters) had to be sent for her own education in France, and when she first began educating the youngsters of Cork it was in secret.

I am following the story of this #fenedtechquilt with delight and look forward to seeing it finished and displayed later in the year.

Definition of community (merriam-webster.com)

1a unified body of individuals: such as
athe people with common interests living in a particular area …
ba group of people with a common characteristic or interest living together …
ca body of persons of common and especially professional interests
da body of persons or nations having a common history or common social, economic, and political interestsea group linked by a common policy
fan interacting population of various kinds of individuals (such as species) in a common location

2 aa social state or condition; bjoint ownership or participation; ccommon character ; dsocial activity; 3society at large


Community was the theme of the CongRegation unconference in Cong, Mayo, Ireland over the weekend of November 23rd. A hundred or so gathered to discuss  “all of the above” and bringing to the table concerns they had for their community, local and global.
The format of this unconference is simple – blog your way to attend, join the four sequential huddles randomly assigned to you over the day, tell your story in turn, and get talking togethers.
(More details on rules of engagement are here, and the 2019 submissions are here).
I have been chairing these huddles now for several years, and the conversations run wide, deep, and rich – here is a snapshot of the day in Danaghers …

Huddle 1 – In the first huddle, discussion ranged across ideas for investing in knowing the community before the bad times, so we are ready for those bad times. Can we gamify community formation? How do we connect people in remote areas, deal with local issues? is there a connection between the life cycle and the deployment of social media? A theme which recurred throughout the day was the importance of the ‘after worship’ chats in a community, the decline of the Mass / after Mass chats at the church gate was mentioned as a variable. The strongest theme point emerging early in the day was that there are very many meaning for the word community (as seen by reading the blog posts submitted by attendees on that topic).
Huddle 2 – this discussion centred on communities working towards a purpose –  ranging from agile use of online communities for education, social justice and activism, journalism, the ‘Overton Window’ concept leading to a discussion of the contrast between being a customer and a citizen. The importance of being clear about purpose was deemed as the most important need for a community, but the one most often missing or skipped over.
Huddle 3 – this discussion ranged from rural Africa to rural Ireland. We listened to the story of the growing of a community of computer science educators across rural Africa, supported initially by philanthropy but increasingly being left in supported local hands; a success story centred on obvious need . This contrasted with the description of the visible decline in many rural Irish towns. Examples of how some communities have countered this were cited  – communities, many helped in their transformation by the energy of some “blow-in” volunteers, who leverage the energy of the school-gate community, communities who carry out an appreciative inquiry as a starter activity upon which to make a plan.
Huddle 4 – this huddle centred at first on the story of the bee colony – we learned a lot about life of the queen, workers, and drones in the community of the hive! We also spoke of the difference between face to face and online communities, and how they differ. Stepping back from the ‘milestone validated’ community was also a topic; and it took us into discussion of the importance of learning to develop self-acceptance and prioritise it above acceptance by others in our community – something which was agreed can take many of us a lifetime.

In summary

The recurring theme of the four talks around community that I experienced can be summed up thus:
community is contextual, it is important that the purpose of each community is clearly defined and declared.
Throwing my chairing notes into a word cloud generator returned this talk bubble … problems and solutions swapped, cares and concerns shared, over a hundred people gone back to their home communities richer in spirit than when they left. It can only be a good thing.

Cong19 - threads of four huddle conversations

Threads of conversation from four huddle conversations in Danaghers Hotel at CongRegation 2019

Aprés-Huddle – the social aspect of CongRegation is a very important part of the value it offers participants – sharing breakfast, lunch, dinner and “afters” together, joining in the maker meeting, the poetry slam, the tin whistle lessons, the daftness walk in the forest, the strange quiet post-pub musical shenanigans – all of these activities which ‘unconference the unconference’, injecting opportunity for unpredictable mayhem and fun into the weekend.
Thanks to Eoin Kennedy for curating and evolving this unique gathering.
See you next November, whatever the topic.
cong-collage2019.jpg
#Cong2019 Goodbye picture at the Cross

#Cong2019 Goodbye picture at the Cross

I’ve had ethics on the brain for a while – building and submitting the ethics submission for my PhD research has been done and delivered. Awaiting approval is providing a short period of slacking off relative calm and a chance to catch up with the real world.

So when on November 12 I read a tweet (which quickly grew to be a long thread) from someone I really admire, the banlaoch* that is UK researcher and senior academic Trisha Greenhalgh, both the content and the context stopped me in my tracks. I had time to react and reflect on the fact that this had happened, that it had happened to someone at the top of her profession, and that it had been done before her professional peers. Ugh.
[*banlaoch = the Irish term for a female warrior or heroine]

Screenshot 2019-11-26 at 15.16.58

A couple of weeks later, this subject of ‘conduct unbecoming’ during post-presentation discussions arose again for me, as it became part of the exit conversation among researchers attending an IPA (Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis) colloqium at the Technological University of Dublin. I recounted the recent experience of Prof. Dr. Greenhalgh, and my dismay at the unethical behaviour towards her of the Chair who should have been steering everyone’s behaviour by example. It also brought to my mind the times the exact opposite was in place, and and the rules of engagement are declared openly at the beginning of a meeting, conference, or seminar. I am now thinking that declaring the rules of engagement should be the formal opening action of every meeting, providing a point of reference to anyone at the meeting who may need to to call out inappropriate behaviour by anyone (including the Chair!). Hopefully it would be like one of those ‘break glass in case of emergency’ things, never needed but unambiguously available if necessary.

Photo by Brett Sayles on Pexels.com

Reflecting on all of this, here is my personal appreciation of the upfront declaration of expected ethical behaviour … an important part of my research journey is being in the company of others working in the same sphere as me – my supervisors, my fellow PhDs, and special interest groups – formal and informal – that form around a topic of interest to me. One such SIG is the Network for Educational Action Research in Ireland. I attend meetings of this group several times a year. Each meeting starts with display of the same slide – a summary of the ethical stance of the group and the agreed standards for procedures and protocols. These are also openly declared on the NEARI website, and combine the particular values of the group with the universal values espoused in the Teaching Council of Ireland. I find this practice offers a professional reminder to all present of the expectations we have of each other, and infuses the meeting from the start with a collegiate atmosphere. The ritual aspect of the practice acts as a subtle personal safety blanket for me – I am assured that the meeting will be steered by a Chair guided by a moral compass visible to all. It is a practice I would like to see more widely adopted at the meeting of other special interest groups in academia and education.


The NEARI statement that is displayed at the beginning of each NEARImeet is online at
http://www.eari.ie/neari-network-for-educational-action-research-in-ireland/neari-ethical-statement/

Screenshot 2019-11-26 at 21.28.53


mags amond holding and looking into a bevelled mirrored framed by a mosaic of white, silver and coloured tiles

here’s looking at me looking at me at 60!

It is a busy time, turning 60 – that happened on October 17th, and probably will continue as an excuse to celebrate for a whole year! Lots of cake and cards and gifts, and special times with friends and family – lots to be thankful for.

In the learning world, lots of people to be thankful to this autumn – Mean Fómhair, Deireadh Fómhair, September and October in Galway, Dublin and Cavan – people moving each other, and me, ever onwards …

Rang Bianca – On September 28th, all the meets (Teach-, Research-, Lead-, Student-, Breakfast-) were on the programme at Féilte in NUIG; special mention for the annual inclusion of Rang Bianca, it is momentarily startling but lovely to see it each time:

NeariMeet – Also in NUIG that day was the latest NeariMeet hosted by Cornelia Connolly and curated by Mairin Glenn and Bernie Sullivan of the EARI group.

nearimeet2019

NEARImeet hosts, presenters, and discussants, NUIG, Sept 2019.

I presented an update of my research plan to use IPA (interpretive phenomenological analysis) to make sense of data generated during imminent field work among TeachMeet participants (slides are at link above). The feedback was very helpful to me, as was hearing the progress being made by other researchers Jean McGowan, Jane O’Connell and Ciara O’Donoghue. The cycle of reflection and sharing with peers, fostered by Mairin Glenn, Mary Roche, Catriona McDonagh and Bernie Sullivan has been a terrific motivational and developmental scaffold for me moving onwards on the doctoral research journey.

Féilte TeachMeet – I was yoyo-ing (yo-yoing? yo-yo-ing?) back and forth across the newer sections of my alma mater campus to also attend the Féilte TeachMeet – thank to Phil Fox and Sinéad Kelly this was a vibrant affair – an attentive and curious audience, seven short sharp smart presenters – not much more one could ask for. Phil made a remark about her observation of TeachMeets to date…there is quite a lot of emotion involved among presenters…food for thought, that!

Learnovation – October began in Croke Park, representing CESI, with chair Adrienne Webb, at the Learnovation summit (thank you Peter Hamilton for the invitation). I really enjoyed learning from Gavin Henrick – so much to learn about accessibility and inclusion in presentations – and from Martyn Farrows of Soap Box labs who gave a terrific overview of AI (the artificial intelligence AI). It was good to add CESI’s voice to the dynamic discussion on CS in education that took place in the afternoon.

Index Survey launch – An academic launch on a Monday morning, in a cinema, with film, music, memoirs, and even dancing – who could say no? I was chuffed to represent the university students of the 70s, especially when I found myself between Martin Downes of the 50/60s and John Hurley of the 80s! Thank to Catherine Cronin and Terry Maguire for this imaginative kickstart to a very important piece of work. My nano stream of consciousness contribution pointed to my just-in-time first meeting with a computer at the very end of the very analog 70s ….

I spent the years 1976-1980 in UCG, entering the year when Elvis died and punk was born, the youngest member of a student body with a leader called Speedie who mustered us higgledly piggledly into a socially conscious army in support of the presidential poet prophet you may know as Miggledy. Lucky me.
I studied for a BSc and HDip in E, the subjects low tech mathematics, analogue biochemistry then a year of lectures on education history – trying to decipher projected notes handwritten in yellow marker – TP in The Jes interspersed with hours and hours of projects making amazing admirable acetate audiovisual aids for the overhead projector.
Look a’ me!
But then
approaching the last stroke of midnight before it was time to head out into the The Real World – a nun, who’s name to my shame I don’t know – asked if we would like to try out the new COMPUTER … and in the beating blink of the phosphorescent green/yellow eye of an Apple 2e (BASIC, drive A, drive B, floppy disks that were proper floppy), came the life changing tech turning point for me.
The end became the beginning.
History. Epiphany.

Lucky me.

MathsMeetIE – for Maths week 2019, a Maths TeachMeet hosted at Microsoft by Stephen Howell and Caoilinn Tighe and curated by Pamela O’Brien and Neil Butler (who’s workshop on Japanese maths games has me now addicted do SkyScrapers). My nanopresentation was a shout out for a crossover between Maths and Art citing Turtlestitch and the fabulous visualisations of Joachim Wedekind using SNAP! The deepest satisfaction of this event for me (apart from yet another birthday cake) was seeing The Next Generation take up the TeachMeet mantle; to put it diplomatically, Caoilinn and myself “were in school together”.
The variety of ideas and activities in this rollercoaster TeachMeet were a joy to watch unfold – teachers from primary, secondary, third level and informal education all learning together. Has to be said, the Dreamspace is a wonderful venue for a TeachMeet, thank you Microsoft Ireland for such warm hospitality from Stephen, Caoilinn and Corey..

SCoTENS – This year I didn’t have to go far to attend SCoTENS (standing committee for teacher education north and south, born of the good Friday agreement), it came to Cavan. And thanks to Conor Galvin, Noel Purdy and Maria Campbell for continued inclusion of a doctoral round table at the annual gathering of SCoTENS. To present your work in progress, and see the work of others at various stages of progress from other researchers, is a most formative part of the doctoral journey for me. Both keynote speakers, Prof Marilyn Cochran-Smith, [Cawthorne Professor of Teacher Education for Urban Schools, Boston College] and Prof Paul Miller [Head of the School of Education and Professor of Educational Leadership and Social Justice, University of Greenwich] spoke on matters of equity in education (or its lack thereof) and left us with many questions to ponder. Hopefully the funding of SCoTENS will be fully restored – for teacher educators across Ireland this is a really important body, and it needs to continue the ongoing collaborations between north and south from which we all benefit.

I wrote  and posted a thread of Twitter posts this evening but didn’t stitch them together carefully enough so got a gap between no. 4 and no. 5. I am clearly better with embroidery thread than with digital thread. But I do enjoy darning, so here is the thread as it should read …

Good threads of conversation on here recently, prompted by reactions to a conference hosted at St Columba’s College by the generous @humpreyjones and @sccEnglish and attended by over 300 teachers. Focussed by title on research in education, with a vibrant program … 01/16
… have jogged some thoughts here. I wasn’t there, but the program looked great, some fabulous presentations listed that I’d love to have attended. My disquiet is about the way this franchise suggests it is somehow all shiny and new.
It is not new in Ireland  … 02/16
… From my perspective and experience we have been, and continue to be, busying ourselves  weaving sound research through primary and secondary classroom practice for quite some time – here is a list of some examples that jumped to my mind (to be sure there are many more) … 03/16
… A superb day long seminar / workshop on AfL led by Dylan Wiliam TEN YEARS AGO attended by over 200 teachers, ( organised by the Science section SLSS, predecessor of the current @PDSTie ) and funded by @SFI and  … 04/16
… Many day conference / workshops with legendary David Johnson and Roger Johnson over a three year period in which hundreds of teachers were introduced to the practice of Cooperative Learning (many of whom have gone on to study for a Masters degree in the area) … 05/16 
… A week-long summer course in Peer Mediation for primary teachers offered at Education Centres (the particular one I refer to was in Enniscorthy, and I know the positive behaviour management and negotiation skills we learned are still informing practice in schools)  … 06/16 
… At least 2 #EdCamps I know of organised in Norn Ireland – the one I attended was superb, offering a day long programme of presentations and workshops by teachers for teachers (think of a #teachmeet with more time for depth of treatment of each topic… 07/16
cc @bcripps078
… for some time now there has been really vibrant classroom action research by educators of all levels being shared via the @infoneari network curated online by @marygtroche and @mairinglenn see http://www.eari.ie/neari-network-for-educational-action-research-in-ireland/ … 08/16
… all of the @bridge21learn professional development taken by teachers (mostly in Dublin schools) is both research driven and is itself driving research, see http://bridge21.ie/about-us/about-bridge-21/ … 09/16
cc @kevinsullivan79 @ciaranbauer @jakerowanbyrne @lawlorgr
… everything I know of developed by the @ncca in the past decade has been research informed and developed in cooperation with classroom teachers and students across the country … 10/16
cc @tonyrileynz @snicreamoinn @fboss @MajellaDempsey @annelooney
… the annual education conference that has been curated by @pamelaaobrien at the Thurles campus of @LimerickIT brings the most research informed keynotes, who remain in ongoing contact with attendees; recently the most notable @irasocol and @pammoran of @TimelessLrng … 11/16
… *all* the Meets – [of course I declare a bias towards] the #teachmeets but there is also ResearchMeet hosted by @TeachingCouncil @Feilte as well as @MathsMeetIE…12/16
cc @teachmeetIRL @teachmeetsouth @makermeetIE @Dek0h @mrNeilButler @saorog
#NEARImeet
…the range of top notch science education researchers introduced to practitioners at subject association AGMs eg @irishsciteach over the years would fill a book; thinking of a memorable AfL workshop with Chris Harrison which had effect in classrooms …13/16
cc @@chrisharriKings
… other subject association AGMs are packed with workshops that offer teachers the latest thinking in research, as I found out when working with @RichardMillwood addressing 200+ ART teachers in the National Gallery a couple of years ago …14/16
…and last but not least in my world has been www.cesi.ie – the @cesitweets that has (being an unusual mix of computer education enthusiasts from all levels and sectors) been a research-informed community of practice for 45 years …15/16
cc @_conorgalvin @donenda @eoldham @jhegarty
… So: it is all good, it is all welcome, but is is not all new, and one way may not necessarily be superior to another. Keep on sharing, keep on discussing, keep on researching, keep on practicing, keep on keeping’ on … 16/16
Art teachers AGM in the National Galllery of Ireland 2017

Art teachers AGM in the National Galllery of Ireland 2017

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