Catching up and fulfilling promises

Earlier this summer I promised two educator-blogger-friends that I would be more reflective on this space – hope you’re happy now @squiggle7 and @moloneyking! Both said ‘it’s simple – just start typing!’ There is a lot to catch up on – LOB11, Midsummer Night, Michael Wesch at DCU all need posting on the shelf where I put things I know I will want to remember long after I forget – so better get going.

John Davitt sounded the bugle again for the second unconference Learning on Beach ’11, and this year I didn’t have to leave the party early. Three long days and late nights of the most amazing blend of analog and digital learning, in the most mixed weather the west of Ireland can offer (see our collective Flickr pics for evidence – TOG 50 warm gear one day, Factor 50 sun cream the next), with as amazing and wonderful a group of people you could ever ask to be with. @katherinedavitt followed us politely and gracefully with her cameras and sound equipment, and recently posted her summary video:

It is difficult to quantify what is learned at an unconference like this – (hey Lobsters – maybe we need to coin a new educational scientific unit?) – because it goes way beyond conventional knowledge, skills or attitudes into the realm of confidence and certainty and determination…and love and fun in learning. Thanks to John D, Angela, Katherine, Susan (and family), Sarah, Richard, Andy, John M, Tim, Mark, Jamie, Dughall, Vicki, Emma, Sean and Matthew. You are all amazing teachers and worthy people, and next year cannot get round quick enough. 


Two ‘firsts’ collided on Midsummer’s Eve for me – my first visit to the Olde Franciscan Abbey in the centre of Cavan town (despite having lived here for over 30 years now – ouch), and my first time at Shakespeare’s play A Midsummer Night’s Dream (at the risk of sounding too luvvie, after a lifeltime at dramas). The family packed up picnic chairs and golf umbrellas and headed out (with what seemed like every other family in town), all available digits crossed to ward off the rain.

Director Kevin O’Conor did some inspired casting (none better than placing Paul Cox as Quince!), and used the structure of the Abbey brilliantly in the staging.

The rolled up scroll containing programme notes, the hundreds of jars of tealights designating the perimeter of the three stage areas, the metals braziers ready to be lit at dusk, the canopy of really old broadleaved trees – each added to the atmosphere created by Philip Doherty’s Gonzo Theatre company. What really drove the show to a higher level was the live and original soundtrack woven through the performance – Darragh Slacke and Robert Perry delivered a primeval pulse from start to finish. Loved it! 

The audience was the most heterogenous I have ever seen at a drama event, and the most appreciative. The best moment of the evening came when one of the ‘players’ within the play did a fabulous play on words and accents, turning Shakespeare’s ‘odious’ into the broadest Cavan ‘ojoius’ imaginable. Brought the house down.

At one stage it really really poured rain – I hunkered down in my beach chair under my golf umbrella, couldn’t see a thing but could hear it all. When it eased off and I emerged, I was surprised and delighted that no one had left. Sign of a great show methinks. 


3 June 28th 2011 – Professor Michael Wesch at DCU!
Having long ago been mesmerised by his viral video The Web Is Us/ing Us, it was great to be able to attend Michael Wesch’s Keynote at Diverse in DCU. It did not disappoint. He is as good a story teller in person as he is online. His surprisingly humble delivery accompanied stories of the amazing impact the use of technology can have on society. Listening to him speak of his own reaction to the explosive growth of The Web video alone would have made it worth the journey to hear him.

I was really taken by this example of turning something on its head to drive a point home – watch the two videos in turn. Will definitely use this with my TY Multimedia class this winter.



Everyone in the auditorium was there because they had some interest in ICT in education – Michael Wesch gave us plenty of pause for thought – hopefully the results of those thoughts will filter through our schools and classrooms.


(btw thanks to DCU and the NCTE for organising this session, as the original conference price was way beyond budget!)








One response to “Catching up and fulfilling promises”

  1. MoloneyKing Avatar

    Hi Mags,The blog is fantastic, well done!Michelle

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.