Féilte interview with Fintan O’Toole

Youth Media Team members Brídín and Jack interview columnist and author Fintan O’Toole, Deputy Editor of the Irish Times.

The @fotoole Interview

Fintan understands the problems facing the education system as his wife is a teacher. He understands the challenges teachers encounter at the moment, particularly as they face cuts to funding and resources. Within fifteen minutes of Fintan’s lecture beginning, over 100 tweets flew out of the audience, establishing #féilte as one of the foremost trending hashtags today during this celebration of World Teacher’s day. Fintan was interrupted several times during his talk by enthusiastic applause from the audience.

Fintan believes technology can make learning easier and better. However, sometimes nothing compares to quiet time just reading about a topic. Technology can be hyper-active and can distract us from thinking deeply. His time in Primary School was not enjoyable as corporal punishment was still the norm. He didn’t feel safe in school but he did say he had some really wonderful teachers. In his opinion the best thing that has happened to Primary Education is the end to violence towards children. How we treat old people and children is the measure of how well our society is functioning.

Ultimately we want students to be confident, creative and critical and they inherit these characteristics from teachers, who need to model this behaviour. So we need to trust teachers. If Fintan was Minister for Education, he would trust teachers to use their Croke Park hours as they see fit. It is very insulting to say that you don’t trust them to use their time wisely. Teachers should be given freedom to innovate in their classrooms and not become box tickers.

Interview with Helen English from eTwinning #Feilte

eTwinning is the community for schools in Europe.  It offers a platform for teachers who are working in a school in one of the European countries involved, to communicate, collaborate, develop and share projects with other European schools. The eTwinning action promotes school collaboration in Europe through the use of ICT in the classroom by providing support, tools and services for schools. Helen English shared her thoughts with Éadaoin.

Interview with Rozz Lewis #Feilte

Rozz Lewis loves writing and reading (and talking!). She has written articles for the Irish Times, Sunday Times, INTOuch magazine, writing.ie and co-edits and writes for Anseo.net. She left being a principal to become a teacher, as she wanted to be more involved with teaching and learning. She teaches English as a foreign language in Portlaoise, in the new Educate Together school, something which she finds very rewarding. She loves English, as well as SPHE and art.

Interview by Seán and Éadaoin de Burca.

Interview with Fred Boss #Féilte

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.

Interview by Seán and Éadaoin de Búrca

The Flip in Tipp


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.

Here’s Steph’s interview with Bianca

Youth Media Team

Sínead & Kate & Steph

Talking Coderdojo at ICTEDU


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.

Youth Media Team


Sínead & Kate