Monday, 13 March 2017

Making Connections - Computers in Education Society of Ireland

On Saturday the 4th of March 2017, I had the good fortune to travel to the 2017 annual conference of the Computers in Education Society of Ireland (CESI) at the St. Patrick’s Campus of Dublin City University.

The theme of this year's event was on "Making Connections: Transformation through technology and teamwork", inspired in part from two recent policy documents. Firstly, the Department of Education and Skills have published their Digital Strategy for Schools 2015-2020 report, setting out a vision
clear vision that is focussed on realising the potential of digital technologies to transform the learning experiences of students b - See more at:
focussed on realising the potential of digital technologies to transform the learning experiences of students - See more at:
focused on realising the potential of digital technologies for enhancing student learning, and secondly, the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning’s Roadmap For Enhancement In A Digital World 2015-2017 that recommends:
 “a multi-level approach to foster digital literacy, skills and confidence among students at all levels of education needs to be developed”.
Against this policy backdrop, the focus in two of the keynote sessions was on mainstreaming technology in education, with inspiring keynotes from Brendan Tangney, Bridge 21, Trinity College Dublin (see slides), and Anne Looney, Interim CEO of the Higher Education Authority in Dublin.

Both the venue, the organisers (including my colleague Kate Molloy), and the conference team conspired to showcase the best use of technology in action by streaming, captioning and tweeting events as they unfolded. The Youth Media Team interviewed several of conference speakers and have made podcast recordings available. Other slide resources were shared by the PDST on and more individual links to follow up were also posted to Twitter (Iain MacLabhrainn's presentation on All Aboard included).

The flagship Lego® Education Innovation Studio (LEIS), was a particular highlight, with Deirdre Butler of DCU giving us a tour of the facilities, and the inspiration behind allowing students a space to create, make, and build.
Lego® Education Innovation Studio in DCU

In the sessions I attended, innovation was clearly evident - in using educational mobile apps, animations, minecraft, iPad coding, digital storytelling, and more. A summary Storify of tweets is here (note this isn't a comprehensive catalog of the conference hashtag tweets), and a link to all the conference abstracts is available online.
@Seomraranga - a whirlwind tour of the best educational apps   

@michaeliteach using the iPad to make a drone fly   
The All Aboard digital skills map on display (developed by colleagues in CELT)
Many presentations were informed by action research and displayed considered pedagogic reflection on their use. Several presenters were researching practice at masters or PhD level, whilst others were deeply involved in enhancing their classroom practice in a variety of educational contexts. It was the first CESI event I had the opportunity to attend, and look forward to connecting again in future. 

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