Just your average Saturday

Saturday was a very busy day for Anseo.net and a very tiring one for Rozz, me and our new baby. Anseo.net was featuring in two events: Féilte, the festival for teachers organised by the Teaching Council and the Blog Awards Ireland, where Anseo.net was a finalist. With the car packed with computer equipment, freshly ironed suits and half of Emrys’ baby possessions, we set off for Dublin for Féilte.

Our stand was called 10 Ways to Use Technology in the Primary Classroom. Over the next while, we’ll be blogging about these ten subjects, which include the use of cameras, green screens and web sites. However, before it all began, we met this man.

Ryan Tubridy meets Anseo.net (though he was more interested in Emrys), Féilte 2014
Ryan Tubridy meets Anseo.net (though he was more interested in Emrys), Féilte 2014

After that, it was down to business. We had a very lovely stand given to us by the Teaching Council, which we adorned with the various tools that we use in our school: laptops, NOKIA phablets (more about these in a later post), tablets and green screen technology.

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Anseo.net’s stand at Féilte 2014

It was really interesting to meet so many teachers that wouldn’t usually come to edtech conferences and hear about their fears as well as some of the excellent work they are doing. One thing that struck me was the number of secondary school teachers that came to the stand. If there’s a second-level teacher out there who wants to do a second-level version of Anseo.net, it looks like there’s a gap in the market.

Simon talking to one of the teachers at Féilte 2014
Simon talking to one of the teachers at Féilte 2014

After Féilte ended, we whisked Emrys and our belongings to Clane in Co. Kildare for the Annual Blog Awards. Anseo.net was featured in the finals of the education category for the first time. We were not too disappointed to be beaten by the brilliant Evelyn O’Connor’s Leaving Cert English, which is still, in my opinion, the best educational blog in the country. Sadly Evelyn wasn’t there to accept the award so we have borrowed it to live vicariously through her for a while.

The Best Education Blog Award (Blog Awards Ireland, 2014)
The Best Education Blog Award (Blog Awards Ireland, 2014)

Just as an aside, for those of you sceptical of the Irish language, the image below is the reason for learning Irish in schools. I was also helping out at the Blog Awards Ireland last night and the presenter wasn’t able to read the nominees for the Best Blog in the Irish Language category. Up stepped the hero, yours truly, to effortlessly navigate my way through the urús, séamhús and letters of the alphabet that should never stand next to each other before announcing the winner in front of a crowd of people who couldn’t understand what I was saying anyway. I was then whisked off in front of the TG4 cameras to present the award and you’ll be able to see me stammering my way through it all and looking awkward tomorrow at 8 o’clock. For those who used to say, “what’s the point of learning Irish in school?” now you know!

Simon presenting the Best Blog in the Irish Language Award
Simon presenting the Best Blog in the Irish Language Award

I know this is not one of our usual blog posts but I thought we’d share a little bit of ourselves although not all our weekends are as glamorous or as tiring! However, as with most of our articles, there’s some sort of educational value to them and I’d suggest that next year more teachers need to get along to the Féilte event. Currently, the Teaching Council offer tickets in some lottery thing but I think it could easily be opened to everyone. There are some amazing stands at the event and here are three great examples:

Also, now that the Blog Awards Ireland has its own category for the first time (and isn’t lumped with Science) more teachers should enter and come along. Blogging is just one of the many ways that schools can use technology to learn and communicate with each other. Rather than keeping all those resources and learning in copybooks or laptops in the classroom, it’s great to break down the walls and share their world with the world! Thanks to the organisers of Féilte and Blog Awards Ireland for the great day.

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