Interview with Siobhan O’Sullivan from the Professional Development Service for Teachers (PDST)

Developing Digital Literacies

 Siobhán’s presentation outlined the need for today’s learners to become proficient in the critical consumption of information. This included the acquisition, selection, management and presentation of content.  She highlighted some of the capabilities that search engines offer to explore and filter specific information on the Web. Siobhán also outlined several alternative search engines to Google such as instagrok , which presents search results in a mind map format. The full presentation can be accessed on

Youth Media Team

The Google apps educator

We spoke to John Hegarty who is the IT coordinator in a second level school in Kildare. He promotes the use of Google apps in the learning space. Among the benefits are that it is free, is web based and will work on any device. Any drawbacks are quickly outweighed by the benefits of facilitating communication and collaboration. The apps themselves are just a tool. The creativity comes from the user. In his school school one way it is widely used is in transition year to create and manage a portfolio of work and activities. At present John feels that the use of IT is unlikely to develop until the new Junior Cycle is in place.

Youth Media Team

The Key is a Creative Teacher

As part of the Innovation Academy Entrepreneurial Educators programme, we were tasked this afternoon with interviewing Stefania Bocconi from CNR, Institute for Educational Technology. Stefania’s project is entitled Creativity and Technology Approach to Innovative Learning and Teaching Practices. 

Stefania gave a short presentation on her research into the creative classroom via Skype. Ironically, the technology failed during the interview with Stefania and Dr. Conor Galvin stepped into the fray. Conor explained the outcomes of the research, which sets out key dimensions and building blocks for developing the Creative Classroom in primary and secondary education. Conor stated that although the developed framework offers a useful guide, the feedback from teachers across Ireland suggests that it is more aspirational than practical. Conor concluded that the key to the Creative Classroom is a creative teacher, and that we need “more teachers that take the chance more often, even if it’s chaotic and messy”.

Hacking Education: the growth of a global movement.

“It’s a special moment” – that moment when a child who has worked on a project for several hours is ready to share it with people they care about. Ken Whelan, a volunteer with the CoderDojo movement describes the transformative educational experiences that children have every week. For Ken this is learning by accident, it’s not a typical classroom situation; this is different. Children are challenged not spoon fed. They define the task; they find the solution – they learn by doing.

Clearly this is what children want. CoderDojo is now a movement involving 30,000 children in 700 centres around the world.

The technology, Arduino, is inexpensive and a perfect way to start the process whether it’s creating code to control Google Earth or a real-world drone – the Coder Dojo ethos is that cost should never be a barrier to learning.

I feel embarrassed as I have never heard of CoderDojo before. I also feel that I have not been in touch with the teaching of technology for my daughters sake.
I really like the idea that CoderDojo is not about the tech stuff but more about the understanding of learning and thinking. This is a great example example of ‘Learning by doing’ in a learning space that reflects the students needs.

THE interview with THE Fred Boss of THE edchatIE!!!

Our group interviewed Fred Boss of #edchatIE. We went in with a wide range of Twitter usage, varying from none at all to daily. Sandra was under the illusion that Twitter was another Facebook, however, under the guidance of Fred she is now convinced that Twitter will help her with ALL her problems! John set up his Twitter account last night, and stumbled through the process, but feels that, with Fred’s input, he is more confident and sees it as a useful tool in the classroom. Róisín and Rachel were already familiar with Twitter, edchatIE and indeed, Fred. We learned about the origins of edchat, which began in the US, spread to the UK and now has been active in Ireland for four and a half years. We learned how Google forms play a central role in the democratic selection of topics to be discussed. Hootsuite is used to remind followers that the discussion is about to begin, and Chirpstory is used to collate the tweets, which Fred then turns into a PDF for future reference for all participants. Fred told us Twitter can be a really useful tool within the classroom as a class account can be set up and used to stimulate discussion on the topic being studied. He cautioned that the schools AUP would need to be consulted before such use in the classroom. Tweetdeck which is found within Google Chrome Apps, allows the teacher to keep tabs on multiple classes and topics at the same time. Completing the interview, he directed us to the website where we can see the many education-related hashtags that are in use internationally. Why not check out our interview with Fred for all of this and more! Thanks Fred!

Youth Media Team