2014 will be remembered more in secondary schools than in primary schools due to their teachers taking strike action against the reforms set by the Department of Education. It appears it will also be the story of 2015 for secondary schools, but what will primary schools remember most about 2014? In our annual review of the year, we look back briefly at some of the stories on Anseo.net that grabbed the attention of our readers.
January was a busy month for Simon as his school had a Whole School Evaluation. He thought it might be useful for other schools to blog about his experiences and told the inspectors that this is what he would be doing. A number of articles were written on the WSE and, thankfully, the whole process was relatively painless. Rozz decided to explore the issues around Fitness to Teach with two articles on the topic. Coming to the end of the month, the concept of POD reared its head into our radar. Simon also caught up with the comings and goings of the IPPN annual conference including a post dedicated to Ruairi Quinn’s speech, which, as predicted was his last at an IPPN conference.
February saw the annual CESI conference with our usual reflections on one of the finest conferences on the education calendar. We also followed up from an #edchatie discussion on whether schools are to blame for us not speaking Gaeilge? March saw new anti-bullying procedures introduced in schools with many questions outstanding. Simon also attended the Microsoft Summit, a rather disappointing day from a primary school perspective.
April’s focus was on three conferences. Simon attended the Educational Studies Association of Ireland (ESAI) conference for the first time, a very interesting experience. The other conference was the INTO congress, which almost grabbed the headlines after Sheila Nunan and Ruairi Quinn exchanged ill-advised quips but, (possibly thankfully), were usurped by the even more ill-advised efforts of one secondary school teacher who decided to brandish a megaphone during Ruairi Quinn’s speech that even the union leaders couldn’t defend. On a more serious note, questions such as whether primary school teachers should have Honours Leaving Cert Maths was explored and the role of religion in primary schools. The third conference was Tech Week, where Simon attended showcasing Digital Art Week.
There were 2 conferences in May, the ICT in Education Conference in Thurles and Ciaran Cannon’s Excited Festival of Learning. We also had time to review the tablets on offer to primary schools. In June, we reviewed the more interesting summer courses available to teachers. We also examined tablets in more detail to see how exactly they are useful to primary schools. In other news, the NCSE decided to make plans to reform the way it allocates resource positions. We had to have our opinion!
Ruairi Quinn’s inevitable resignation came in July and we reflected on his tenure. Aside from that, we looked at Pinterest, Snapchat and Google Classroom. We also pondered on Ireland’s Human Rights’ Record in Education. August was awash with ice bucket challenges and Simon wasn’t able to escape a nomination or two. The annual job hunt was also on so Simon gave some tips for those who were looking for substitute work if they weren’t successful. At the end of the month, we were fairly quiet as we welcome our first child into the world. Emrys was born on 25th August.
In September, we gave a short guide to religion in primary schools, which might help those muddling their way through how it all works. POD was also back on the agenda with it becoming compulsory for schools to use it from next year. We also looked at why Broadband is the single biggest issue in primary education in 2014. In October, only a few weeks into the world of parenting, we attended the Teaching Council’s Féilte Festival, where we had a stand.
November was the month of the Web Summit, which Simon attended. We also looked at mobile devices in the classroom. In December, we decided to end the year with a prediction of the demise of the iPad, or more so the potential of the Chromebook! However, by far the most popular post on Anseo.net this year was one that responded to Ciaran Cannon’s call to introduce teaching of coding into schools. We’re hoping to continue this conversation in 2015.
We hope you enjoyed the year on Anseo.net and thank you to all our readers for your support in 2014. We look forward to writing lots of new articles in 2015 and hope that you’ll join us.