Building better – “What have we learned from the pandemic and what will we do with it?”

The panel discussion draws out the experiences of teachers and students from primary, post primary, further education, and third level of teaching and learning in a pandemic.

The Panel will consist of:

Ailbhe Ford is a primary school teacher with interests in digital learning and technology in education. She teaches in St. Kevin’s G.N.S. in Tallaght and also lectures in the Froebel Department part-time in Digital Learning.

Mark O’Dea is an Engineering teacher, Year Tutor and ICT Coordinator in Kilrush Community School, Co. Clare. His teaching career has come full circle as he is teaching in the school he attended as a student.

Catherine Fox is Deputy Principal in Dunboyne College of Further Education, a post she took up in Sept 2020. Previous to that she was an Assistant Principal in Cavan Institute and spent the 3 years prior to joining Dunboyne as Head of Marketing and Communications with Combilift, a forklift manufacturing company in Monaghan.

Pam O’Brien is a lecturer in the Information Technology Department of Limerick Institute of Technology. She is a passionate advocate for the integration of technology in education and is the organiser of this event.

Sam is a 5th class student in primary school.

Mia is a 1st year student in secondary school.

The Panel discussion will be moderated by Dr. Conor Galvin.

Breakout Sessions

Hassan Dabbagh – IT Support, How  Covid-19 has changed the workflow for the Better

“A look at the support workflow before and after Covid-19” and tips that you could use in your school.

Hassan Dabbagh is an Educational Technologist, with extensive experience in working with teachers on an individual and on a whole school basis, Hassan enables teachers to get the best from the technology they have available to them by eliminating the ICT issues that impede the use of technology in a school setting.  With a background in eLearning and a wide-ranging portfolio of experience in the area of educational technology he has worked with both primary and post primary schools to facilitate the authentic integration of technology into the school setting.  Hassan has presented at a number of national conferences on topics ranging from ‘Creating an ICT roadmap for your school’ to ‘OMG the Google is down, Troubleshooting your network’.  He has an understanding of education and school systems in Ireland as well as having a comprehensive knowledge of technology.

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Ciara Reilly – Online tools to record reflective learning

This session will explore the use of Loom, Screencast-O-Matic and Zoom to record reflective learning videos made by and for the educator and the student. Attendees will be shown how such use of video aligns to the Digital Learning Framework, arming teachers with the capacity, confidence and technological self-efficacy required to make their own videos to assist their own practice. 

Ciara Reilly is an Assistant Lecturer in Digital Education at the Marino Institute of Education, working across various undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. She was previously a primary school teacher in St. Peter’s Primary in Bray and has also worked as an Advisor in Digital Technologies for the PDST Digital Technologies team. She is a Doctoral student in Digital Learning in DCU. She is a regular commentator on education matters, appearing on RTÉ Radio, Newstalk and the Irish Times.

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Aengus Byrne – Teaching coding in TY using VEX Robots

“In 2019 St. Brendan’s Community School became involved with Offaly County Council’s STEM initiative. The STEM initiative  encourages innovation through STEM and the establishment of a VEX Robotics Competition is just one example of this strategy. Traditionally a lot of employment in Offaly was with the ESB and Bord na Móna, from now on there will be little opportunities for young people in these companies. The VEX Robotics Competition garners Offaly’s strong heritage in science and engineering. Students involved in the competition develop skills critical to their future such as teamwork, innovation and critical thinking.

VEX V5 is a STEM learning system is designed to develop crucial problem-solving skills and computational thinking that will serve students through secondary school and beyond. This programme seeks to complement the already excellent work being undertaken in schools in these areas whilst also providing another platform/programme for students to learn and more importantly enjoy.

Aengus will discuss what VEX Robots are, what they can do and the positive impact that they have made, to not just his school but also primary schools in the area.

He will also demonstrate an example of a lesson and how it offers huge opportunities for cross curricular activities/links.”

Aengus Byrneisis the Assistant Principal & Digital Lead in St. Brendan’s Community School, Birr. He has over 15 years teaching experience & 5 years working in industry as a network administrator. Aengus teaches Computer Science, Geography and History. He is an MIE Expert, an MCE and a National Geographic Certified Educator. Follow Aengus on Twitter @AengusByrne

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David Dalton – Taking the corporate network to a school environment is now urgent in Covid Times.

With the huge increase in the use of mobile devices and platforms such as Microsoft Teams for remote learning, it is more important than ever that your school’s ICT infrastructure is working properly. Users returning to school from home will now be sharing their internet connections with potentially hundreds of users instead of a small few. Learn some clever tips to identify potential problems with your systems and improve the overall speed of the internet and network within your school.

David Dalton holds an MSc in Computing (Digital Forensics & Security) and has 30 years of ICT experience. David and his team at IT Systems are supporting education clients across Ireland.

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Sinead O’Sullivan and Siobhan O’Sullivan – Using the Flipped Classroom Model to support active student engagement.

This breakout session will provide an overview of the flipped classroom model and enable teachers to explore how the model supports personalised learning. While most teachers adapted quickly to the seismic change in their practice in March 2020, many observed that the issue they struggled with most was building and maintaining student engagement. We will focus on empowering post-primary teachers to plan for and use the flipped classroom model to support active learning and engagement in post-primary subjects. Practical tools and pedagogies will be explored and we will discuss how to design learning experiences, whether physical or virtual, that work for our students.

Sinead O’Sullivan and Siobhan O’Sullivan are both seconded to the Digital Technologies for Teaching, Learning and Assessment Team of the Professional Development Service for Teachers (PDST). They work with school leaders and teachers throughout the country to integrate digital technologies into teaching, learning and assessment in a meaningful way, to improve learner experiences and outcomes and teacher practice while also supporting schools in developing their digital learning plans. They both assist schools participating in the PDST’s Digital Portfolios initiative. Sinead is seconded from Mercy Secondary School, Inchicore, Dublin 8. She is a teacher of English, History, Digital Literacy, Maths and was also co-ordinator of the JCSP and Special Educational Needs department in her school. Siobhan O’Sullivan is seconded from Malahide Community School, Malahide Co. Dublin. She is a teacher of Business and Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme, which she coordinated in her school.

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Niamh Brady – Online Accessibility Features and Assistive Technology for the Classroom

This session will show you how to make the most of technology to support and enhance learning particularly in the area of SEN. It contains practical methodologies and strategies to help you use digital technologies meaningfully in your own context.

Niamh is currently working as a special class teacher in St. Mark’s Special School in Newbridge, Co. Kildare having spent 14 years in a mainstream setting.  She is passionate about all things STEAM related and successfully completed the Postgraduate Certificate in 21st Century Teaching & Learning (STEM) in 2019 from Trinity College Dublin. As well as her daily teaching, Niamh regularly delivers her own CPD courses along with facilitating courses for the PDST Technology in Education and Discovery Primary Science and Maths. Furthermore, Niamh is a Creative Associate with the Creative Schools Initiative. She is working in partnership with Donore NS in Co. Meath and supporting the school to deepen the arts and creative opportunities for their pupils. Niamh is in her final semester of a Higher Diploma in Science in Computing in TUD Tallaght and is looking forward to new opportunities after her course. Follow Niamh on Twitter @MsNiamhBrady

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Cormac Cahill – The Year that Was-Adventures from a Primary School

This presentation is a look back over the year that was, looking at the things that Cormac tried that worked and those that didn’t, the odd ideas that were attempted while online and hopefully a little on the lessons learned from our extraordinary year.

Cormac is a Primary School teacher working in Carrigaline Educate Together National School when not working from an attic in North Cork.

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Catriona Healy – Switched On: Progressing Switch Skills with SEN Students

Switch skills are a basic in classrooms for learners with multiple or significant disabilities. Switches give children (and adults) with limited motor skills the ability to control nearly anything. Yet, most learners get caught in a “cause and effect” loop as educators don’t know where to go from that point. Switch use should be about moving from learning what the switch does to learning to use the switch to do things that are meaningful to the learner.

Catriona Healy began her career teaching in primary schools where she taught each class grouping in schools countrywide. She then spent 3 years teaching in a school for students with mild/general learning disability before securing a permanent position in St. Francis Special School in Kerry where she has taught students with moderate/ severe and profound disability as well as students with autism, Angelmans Syndrome and challenging behaviour. She completed a Masters in SEN in 2005.

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John Heffernan – TELing FET

Minister Harris has referred to FET (Further Education and Training) as the uninvited guest at the education table. In the past few years, there has been a huge growth in the range of courses and technology used within the further education sector. Good progress has been made in recent years to build capability in technology-enhanced learning (TEL) across FET, focusing on using technology in pedagogical approaches to teaching and learning, and using tech-led approaches to the provision of education and training. This presentation will look at the integration of TEL into FET sector at present and into the future.
John Heffernan is the TEL coordinator with Tipperary Education Training Board. John started in IT before starting his teaching career. He has worked as a teacher, teacher educator in a number of teacher education colleges and with the NCTE (now PDST TiE). He also worked on a number of innovative ICT projects in a progressive school district in Virginia.  During the pandemic, John has been involved in a number of transatlantic projects involving Virginia Tech, ISTE, and Digitalpromise.
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