Home from #cesi12, exhausted but educated

The Computers in Education Society of Ireland 2012 Conference is now over and here we go again – how to take it in all you learn and remember all you learn and remember to use all you learn and remember to reflect on all you learn…and then it’s next year already?

This year’s CESImeet was a real treat – the house was packed, the bar was open, the ideas generously shared were amazing. Apps for creative teaching and learning, freely available resources to strengthen literacy and numeracy, sensible ideas for using all the amazing technology available now, three calls to arms (a Science Hack Day, translate Audacity code to Gaeilge, and the big blog on Feb29th.net), stories of students getting to build their own learning from Junior Infants to Degree level…it went on and on. The fact that 100 teachers from all sectors would gather on a Friday night and sit and stand and wander and show and tell and listen to each other amazes some people – not CESI people though – CESI people know the value of this form of social CPD (priceless!). The swapping of information and offers of support between colleagues went on through supper and well beyond. We had a terrific streaming facility, and the satellite gremlins stayed away to allow us receive video calls from the UK and NZ. A truly global CESImeet covering two hemispheres. My sincere thanks to everyone who gave so generously, and pardon me for not naming names here,  – I’d have to list all 100 of us.


The Saturday conference itself was another wonderful learning day. All I can say is the programme was so strong that even a grounded flight that delayed our Keynote Professor Steve Wheeler (@timbuckteeth) did not slow the train – our Capstone speaker Stephen Howell (@saorog) gallantly moved forward and simply blew us away with his Kinect2Scratch creativity; watching Stephen is like seeing stand-up comedy crossed with a seriously deep educational philosophy lecture. I have declared my admiration for Stephen’s teaching in a previous blog, but it only grows. (When Prof Steve finally did get to Portlaoise he got a fairly robust Irish welcome along the lines of “well follow that me boyoh”. Ah but sure he did!)
It was a treat to meet the teachers and exhibitors who attended the conference, and again the mind was boggled as to what to attend. And the problem with signing up to give a workshop is that you can’t get to the visit with the other people timetabled against you. By the end of the afternoon, when we gathered for the now Capstone Keystone, we were all singing the same tune – ‘can’t wait to get to try these ideas in the classroom’. After the amazing Steve Wheeler had (i) demostrated his Superpower of tweeting while still on stage presenting and (ii) well and truly catapulted us into the futures (note the plural) that are coming at us, CESI chair Adrienne Webb closed the conference by inviting Stephen Howell once again to the stage to show us the latest Teacher Productivity App (patent NOT pending). You had to be there, but it absolutely took the house down.
At the close of the weekend at our AGM the Executive for next year was elected, and all I can say to us is “well follow that me boyoh”. Looking forward to #cesi13 already…








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