Fred Boss is an education officer with NCCA (National Council for Curriculum and Assessment). This is a space that was built to house the weekly online chats (every Monday night 8.30 – 9.30pm) of Irish educators ( primary and post primary teachers and third level (college and university) lecturers) as they discuss all things education. Despite there being a heat wave when he had his Leaving Certificate Art History examination, he went on to student Art at the National College of art and design, and progressed to becoming an art teacher.
Here Finn and David met up with Simon at last nights CESImeet. We asked him some questions about Educate Togetherschools and his many websites. He gave us some really good answers. Simon runs a number of sites for Irish school and about education in Ireland such as Anseo.net . He also runs half-marathons! 🙂
As part of CESImeet and FEILTE Helen Bullock [ @HowILearn ] released her new open source book How I Learn which shows about different learning methods.This is a ‘crowdsourced’ book with lots of interesting things said by the contributors about the ways they learn. We enjoyed talking to her very much.
Bianca Ní Ghrógáin was talking at ICTEDU2013 in LIT Thurles about ‘Flipping your classroom’. She spoke about making fun educational videos to show her classes to learn in a different way. She would use Go Animate, Powerpoint, podcasts, Moviemaker and PlanetNutshell to explain topics to the children. The children can then make their own little videos to show other children. They would even want to make a movie to teach their teachers and parents topics that they aren’t familiar with!
Bianca likes the fact that you’re focusing on learning and not focusing on the technology itself. Flipping the classroom has made the children she teaches more confident and they wanted to teach each other.
Eugene McDonough, Geraldine Exton and Mags Amond gave a really interesting talk aboutCoderDojo.
A CoderDojo is basically group of young people who want to learn about coding that gets together regularly with mentors and the children learn about how to make programmes, make presentations on their work in front of the other children and problem solving skills. They learn why a computer does what it does and it’s a practical way of thinking. In this group kids are allowed to be the experts and are allowed to show that they are smart.
There are specialised Dojos. For example, there is one for autistic children and there is also a female-only group called the ‘Dojo Divas’ here in Ireland. In the United States there are also some girl-dojos. Facebook have donated laptops to the dojo groups that Eugene, Geraldine and Mags talked about today. They then showed us a slide of what the children thought of CoderDojo. Most of the children liked it as they made new friends and they could make their own games and programmes and it was up to you to make it.
In our interview with Minister Ciaran Cannon TD we found out that he loves technology, and doesn’t have a single piece of paper in his office! When we asked him about school he said that his favourite subject was Physics and Music, we also found out that he plays piano. He said that he would definitely like to see more technology access in schools. His favourite app is Spotify, which he uses to download music regularly.
When we asked him why the government doesn’t do more about sites like ask.fm he said that ask.fm doesn’t create bullying it’s people who go onto this site causing harassment and trouble. He said it’s bullying that needs to be addressed in schools more than the site.
Willie McTiernan and Martin Owen presented on the Racing Academy Software at ICTEDU2013 in LIT Thurles. Racing academy is a game to teach people physics by using a simulated car and drag race. It has options to change your car (You can choose the engine, colour, brakes, tyres and gears). Once you have chosen your car you race it. At the end you can see a graph of your speed and your opponents speed.
Willie and Martin also presented on other resources at ICTEDU 2013:
Open source physics
This shows students different resources for science. It has resources for chemistry , biology and physics. Watch out because it is in Lithuanian but if you use Google chrome you can translate it
This is a resource that show simulations of different things in science. It costs money to get an account but you can get a free 30 day trial
Molecular model for an ideal gas
It shows students that molecules obey Newtons law of motion. Molecules move in all directions in equal probibility. There is no interactions between molecules.The molecules bounced off the walls.
Interactivate rabbits and wolves
This demonstrates how predator/prey interact with each other. It shows the population of wolves, rabbits and grass. As the rabbits eat the grass the grass population drops. As the rabbit population grows the wolves start eating the rabbits. Then the wolf population grows.
It is a great way to show the food chain. You can change the parameters and see how it changes the simulation.
Chris Hickson is a primary school teacher. Today was his very first time visiting the conference. He came because he wanted to hear others views on the different uses of technology. He said that he is enjoying the conference, and rightly so.
Pam O Brien helped organise this conference and helped find many of the 32 speakers. She is a lecturer in maths here at LIT Tipperary, Thurles Campus and says that this conference will give first, second and third level educators a chance to share their ideas.