Featured in Irish Times Féilte Preview

We were delighted to be featured in the Irish Times’ preview of the Féilte event tomorrow in the RDS. We’ll be showcasing 10 simple ways to use technology in the primary classroom. Here is the text from the article. Thanks to Peter McGuire for choosing to feature our work.

irishtimesfaeilteThe life of a teacher: short working days and long holidays interrupted only to complain about Junior Cert reform. That’s the popular narrative about what Ireland’s teachers get up to, but, behind the scenes, educators are always working on innovations and ideas, developed through online networks, local education centres, and teacher union groups.

Some of those ideas will be on display at the annual Féilte Festival of Education, which will feature more than 50 workshops and showcases from across the primary and second-level sectors.

Visitors will also find a selection of speakers and panellists, including journalist Matt Cooper of Today FM’s The Last Word, Prof Barrie Bennett of the University of Toronto, and Tomás Ó Ruairc, director of the Teaching Council. This is just the second year of Féilte, but it is already establishing itself as a significant and popular event in the educational calendar, with demand for tickets outstripping supply.

We had an advance look at just some of the most interesting innovations and ideas in Irish education today.

1 Ten easy ways to use technology in the classroom

How can teachers use Twitter hashtags for class project work? Can computer programming make PE fun? How can a mobile phone be used for maths trials?

Technology is no longer an optional extra, it is an essential resource for effective teaching, but some educators have struggled to stay afloat in a rapidly changing landscape. Wife and husband Rozz and Simon Lewis, both practising primary-school teachers, have been running the popular education website Anseo.net for eight years. During this time, they have used the internet and social media to encourage children to creatively collaborate and communicate.

“Technology has transformed the way we do everything, and primary schools are no different,” they say. “Even with a lack of infrastructure and resources, however, there are creative ways to use technology to enhance learning. We got 100 classrooms around Ireland tweeting about visual arts during Digital Art Week. Children created games that respond to their body movements using the Scratch computer programme, which we used to fun effect during PE class. We also used mobile phone technology to take photos of shapes, caption them, and upload them to the blogging platform Tumblr [see classroomcaptions.tumblr.com].”

During Féilte, they will showcase 10 easy ways to use technology in the classroom. There will also be an online brainstorm, where teachers can post their ideas for using technology in the classroom. All the ideas will be collated and developed into a crowd-sourced user guide for schools.


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