CESI Meet 2010 – Portlaoise

Last night was the beginning of the first CESI conference outside of Dublin in years.  As is now the norm, it began with a TeachMeet in the Heritage Hotel in Portlaoise.  As my wife and I checked into the hotel, we bumped into one of the organisers, he was panicking in a good way.  They were over-subscribed.

Things got underway at about 7:20pm with a new host, John Heffernan, who did a sterling job.  With a Twitter feed (#CESI2010) in the background, all the Twittering community were able to interact as people gave their short presentations.  There were a number of interesting ideas presented by the dozens of speakers.  I’ll just go through some of them here.

Clonezilla, (Ronan Herron), is a tool that allows one to copy an image of a computer and save it onto any computer.  Essentially this allows schools with hundreds of computers to be managed by very few configurations.  This means that if a computer system goes weird, rather than spending hours trying to fix it, the original image can just be copied back on the computer and voila.

Photostory is a brilliant little tool from Microsoft that lets little and big people create stories from photographs they’ve taken.  By adding sound and music and maybe some narration, a mini-film can be made with ease.  Anne McMorragh’s infant class made a Photostory about what primary school kids are doing – including blogging, using Nintendo Wii and podcasting!

John Heffernan brought us back in time to a virtual Streetscape of Pompeii.  It would be a great tool for teaching history.

John Hegarty went to Mombassa for the charity Camara.  His video was inspiring with so many happy faces.

Neil O’Sullivan showed us some handy ways to search in Google.  There’s a number of symbols (pluses, minuses, hashtags, asterisks, etc.) that can whittle down your searches to better results.

John Farrell showed us loads of Maths Games for Primary level, which he ahs collected on his school’s blog.  I’ve been following John’s school’s blog (http://askeabns.wordpress.com), for some time and it’s grown into a super resource.

Ninjas’ and Bratz Dolls’ Daily Routines through French was Joe Dale’s presentation of stop-animation in the classroom.  Scarily, the boys who had made the ninja video knew far too many brands of gun for comfort!

Although there were six 15 minute sessions, I chose the one on Puppylinux by Nigel Metcalf.  It was great to see how one could run a decent flavour of Linux on really really old computers.  My Pentium One computer will no longer be ‘just a doorstop’.

I gave a talk on cloud clomputing, which I think went down well.

After all the talks was the networking and the old adage of what goes on tour stays on tour must apply.  However, one thing I did enjoy was a chat with Marion from St. Munchin’s NS and Kerry from Balbriggan ETNS, where I showed them video conferencing using OnlineMeetings.  They were amazed at the easiness of the whole thing and we’ve set up some meetings with our schools over the next few weeks.

CESI Meet 2010 was a great success again and I’m looking forward to part 2 today – the conference.

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