It makes me very happy to see Teachmeet tentacles spreading across the country, and the latest TM was in Letterkenny last evening. There was never a doubt once word for out that Fiona Farry, Maggie Greene, Susan McCarthy, and Finnbar Boyle were on the case that TM Donegal would be a cracker. The LYIT venue, infrastructure, and hospitality worked really well, and Gallagher’s Hotel was just the spot for aprés-meet chat and catch up.
Both the audience and presenters comprised the wide cross section of educational sectors that makes TM so special – we all learned something what “the other levels” are up to, as each presenter shared a snippet of their current experience. Fear a’ tí Finnbar did a terrific job channelling his inner Marty Whelan and kept us all on our tenterhooks! After the initial welcome by LYIT’s Paul Hannigan and Keynote address from QUB’s Aishling O’Boyle, the digital lottery matching took over, and here is a summary of the order of speaker and topics called to the podium…
Damien Quinn (“Oh I do hope I’m called out first” – how jammy can a fella be?) – iPad apps for SEN education – which to choose and how to use
Maggie Greene – Hour of Code 2014
Martin Bradley – LYIT technology Dept working introducing robotics to local schools, and on a modest budget
Roisin Crawford – www.stemaware.com – Fantastic ideas, and role modelling, to introduce engineering to students, and exhorting us all to “be stretched”
Frank Schlindwein – Customised Math Cubes to foster divergent thinking in arithmetic operations – wonderful!
Michael Carey – LYIT, CS Masters course at the Institute
Liam Porter – Local journalist who is writing books and stories with students in Primary Schools
Kelly Kirkpatrick – Ambassador for Mathletes, overview of Khan Academy
Nigel McKelvey – Coderdojo in Letterkenny
Rory Reynolds – Digital Schools of Distinction Award
Mags Amond – Fakebook as a revision tool, incorporating a shameless homage to @russelltarr of classtools.net
Raghnall Quinn – A whirlwind tour of how he uses all things Chromebooks & Google Apps for Education at second level school in Dungloe
John Heffernan – Cool Tools for History Teachers – Photosynth, UDL, Project Widow, Aurasma, thingful.net, Storyboard That
Chris & Joe from Digital Media Choices – interactive iBooks and very magical multimedia
One quirky unique thing about this TM is the global reach it had – Fiona was livestreaming, and tweetbacks told us we were being watched in Cavan, Dublin, Australia, Mayo, a beehive (don’t ask), and in Antarctica. Maggie’s boyfriend Danny McFadden from Annagary is currently spending 18 months there! Check it out here. Mmm…might have him present from there to #cesicon!?!?
And we had a cross generational reach as well – witness three of our Cavan Coderdojo ninjas watching the stream on their Mum Cara’s computer in Cavan!!
As ever, TM Donegal sent everyone away with increased knowledge of, and respect for, each others’ way of working. Lucky the students and colleagues who will reap the benefit of it all on Monday morning and beyond. Fiona, Finnbar, Susan agus Maggie – go raibh mile, agus maith sibhse go leir!!
SHAMELESS PLUG PLUG FOR SEOMRA RANGA MOVEMBER APPEAL!
Every primary teacher in Ireland has the benefit of the valuable work done, and shared with all, by Damien Quinn of seomraranga.com
It is high time to give something back – donate to his Movember challenge fund here, and do it NOW!
Postscript – The meeting was made aware during the evening of the tragic accident that had taken place locally. Many in the room were affected by it. Our thoughts and sympathies are with the local community as they mourn together.