#GE16 and Primary Education: Class Size

I won't be voting for a party based on promises of reducing class sizes but it seems to be the thing that politicians believe is the number one issue in education. Ultimately, once one hits around 18 pupils, anything above that has little impact, i.e. the difference between 30 and 25 is negligible. Anyway, despite this research, most people correlate that fewer numbers gives more attention to individual children. (Mathematically, 30 pupils get about 9 minutes per day on average and 25 pupils get 11 minutes - anyway, I digress) At the IPPN conference, the politicians took to a game of auction politics, with each party saying they would lower class sizes. By the end of it, we wouldn't have been surprised if we had no children in our class, such was the nonsense of it all. The dust has settled and here are the class sizes that the parties have...

IPPN 2016: Principals Meet Politicians

2016-01-28 17.20.05
This year's IPPN annual conference was more than a little bit political with no less than seven politicians taking to the stage over the two days. Every year I give a summary of what I got up to. I try to spend a good bit of time in the Expo and miss out on some talks but it gives me a chance to see what sort of resources are going to be available to me this year. In terms of technology, it was all about touchscreen panels  with about 5 companies exhibiting their version of the "new Interactive Whiteboard." I can't say I'm completely sold on them yet as I'm not sure how long they last when they are in full use in a classroom. There were a few companies selling Apple stuff and their stands were generally all glossy and lovely. I didn't have any need to speak with them as I am not going to buy iPads any time soon. Tip Tap Tap were there and I...

IPPN Expo Preview

The IPPN conference is coming next week. The conference has seen a change in that the minister for education is going to be at the official opening of the conference rather than the morning after, which seems to be aimed at launching the various political parties' education election manifestos. We're also going to have to put up with an appearance from Enda Kenny. Every year I take a look at the exhibits and highlight some of the more interesting ones that may escape our radar. All the familiar faces will be there so I won't be earmarking them - I'm looking at new companies offering potentially interesting products for the classroom. Stand B2: Playchimes.ie Outdoor wall games are becoming popular in schools and this company are offering a free €50 voucher just for coming along to their stand. I'll be interested in seeing the various wall...

Anseo.net Review of 2015

2015, as always, has been a very busy year in primary education. Every year, we look back over some of our articles throughout the months to see how the year shaped out. The world of technology was a quiet enough place with very few new gadgets capturing the imaginations of teachers. 2015 seemed to be a year of consolidation and figuring out what to do on all the devices we have in classrooms. Outside of the edtech world, equality was the buzzword of 2015. Anseo.net got involved in the Marriage Equality debate and continues to highlight the many inequalities in our education system. At the end of 2015, it's good to see a number of groups such as Education Equality and others putting pressure on everyone to recognise that a school day in the life of a child is not always an equal place. January is the month of the IPPN conference for principals...

CESI Conference 2016 Announced

The CESI (Computers in Education Society of Ireland) Conference 2016 has been announced. It will be held in DCU on Saturday, February 27th, the first time the conference has been held in a major university. The annual CESI Teachmeet which takes place the night before will be in the Regency Hotel, Drumcondra on the 26th. Spread the word!

The First Ever Educate Together Conference for Teachers!

Educate Together have lots of conferences throughout the year. There's the main AGM where all members get to vote on the running of Educate Together and there's the principals' conference. There's usually conferences on ethics and this is for boards of managements, principals, parents and teachers but Educate Together have never run a conference solely for its teachers. That is until now. For those of you not in the know about Educate Together's Ethical Education Programme, here's some information from the conference web site. Governed by the Educate Together Charter, all Educate Together schools are: Equality-based, i.e. all children having equal rights of access to the school, and children of all social, cultural and religious backgrounds being equally respected, Co-educational and committed to encouraging all children to achieve...

5 educational technology networks you need to join

Educational technology use has exploded in Irish schools over the last five years and almost every primary classroom in the country uses technology in some way everyday. It's hard to believe that only 10 years ago, less than 4% of schools reported to use technology on a daily basis! However, in Ireland, this journey has been quite haphazard and it is rare to find two schools with the same technology. Thankfully, over the years, a number of networks, events and groups have been established for teachers to talk to each other about the use of technology and to share tips and ideas for their use in the classroom. Here are 5 that I'd recommend. [caption id="attachment_10063" align="alignright" width="302"] cesi.ie[/caption] 1. CESI Mailing List CESI is the Computers in Education Society of Ireland and was established in 1973. For the last...

RIP: Bianca Ní Ghrógáin

It is with terrible sadness that we learned that Bianca Ní Ghrógháin, a wonderful teacher, colleague and friend had passed away over the weekend. Bianca represented everything that was right in primary education. She pushed the boundaries everyday and her armour of talent was vast, in particular through her use of technology. She inspired teachers to try out things that seemed impossible and improbable. https://vine.co/v/O2PFm7YxiI1 Her Makey Makey workshops (above Vine from user Cara) became a must-see at edTech conferences and her quick-fire Teachmeet talks where she would introduce a dozen ideas in less than ten minutes became legendary. I remember the first time I saw her show a video of how she turned some children in her class into a "human piano" using Makey Makey. You nearly felt like every single person in the room would...

Excited Festival Panel Discussion

I was invited to be on a panel discussion at the Excited Festival on Saturday with Mona Akmal from Code.org, Keith Krueger (CEO of the Consortium for School Networking) and Ciaran Cannon (founder of Excited) to talk about coding and creativity hosted by Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabháin. The event took place in Dublin Castle's conference centre about 50m from the courtyard where the historic referendum for Marriage Equality was being announced. Inside the room were over 100 educators sitting around big tables looking up at a big stage with armchairs and us. We were asked to respond to Mona's very interesting presentation on how she got involved in Code.org. She spoke about creativity and, interestingly for me, she set a challenge for everyone in the room. She asked us three questions: [su_quote cite="Mona Akmal"] Think of a problem...