Genially and Wordwall

Dominique Senard and Elaine Power

Wordwall is an online resource which offers a free or subscription service and allows you to create interactive or printable activities including quizzes, match ups and word games. Users can create a community of learners, monitor progress and also share, adapt and use activities created by other educators.

Genially is a free website that allows you to create interactive presentations, infographics, games, escape games, portfolios and much more. Genially lets you add lots of interactive elements to your slides, integrate websites, videos audio files, Google maps etc. There are hundreds of templates to choose from and the possibility to create resources from scratch. The two can be integrated. These tools can be used at primary, secondary and third level in the classroom, for homework and for information sharing.

Dominique has been teaching for the past 20 years. She is now a French teacher in Cork, a PPLI associate and the author of a HL LC French textbook. She is passionate about teaching, learning new skills and sharing ideas. Elaine is a French and Geography Teacher in Millstreet Community School, Co. Cork. She is a PPLI associate.

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Bridging Scratch to Python with Pytch

Glenn Strong and Ben North

Pytch is a new free programming environment we are building that is designed to act as a bridge from Scratch to Python. It has an emphasis on supporting what we’re calling “Scratch-oriented programming” – working in Pytch means writing programs using Sprites, animations, and sounds. The idea is help learners write the kind of fun and interesting programs they are used to writing in Scratch while also starting to learn about programming in Python. Pytch is in active development, and we have been testing it with transition year classes. In this session we will give a brief introduction to the web-based Pytch environment, explain the design goals of the system, and how it could be used with students familiar with Scratch to introduce text based programming in Python.

Glenn Strong is an Assistant Professor in Computer Science in Trinity College, Dublin where he has over 20 years experience as an educator. Recent research projects include “OurKidsCode”, developing creative coding workshops on a national scale, and “Pytch” developing a system to bridge Scratch and Python development, both funded by Science Foundation Ireland. Other research interests include Functional programming and Formal Methods. He has directed the M.Sc. in Interactive Digital Media, and chaired grassroots organisations supporting Free and Open Source Software.

Ben North is a Research Fellow in Trinity College, Dublin.  He has a long-standing and strong belief in the importance of empowering people, particularly young people, to create their own technology.  He has recently returned to academic research to work on Pytch, after a period in industry, where he worked with statistical modelling and analysis, combined with software and systems engineering.

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An evaluation of teacher collaboration and the impact of technology in the post-primary MFL classroom

Till Weyers

Teacher collaboration, along with reflective practice is considered as one of the primary ways to improve teacher professionality and in turn better school quality and nurture healthier teachers. Despite the importance of collaboration, realising it in practice has proven challenging and collaboration is still not undertaken enough. This study explores different ways of teacher collaboration, focusing attention on the collaboration between student teacher and cooperating teacher in the MFL classroom in an Irish post-primary school context. The aim is to investigate how to improve teacher collaboration, e.g. through the use of technology, both in terms of its direct impacts on teacher collaboration and in turn the enhancement of teaching and learning. This small-scale study will use a qualitative research approach. It relies on the experience of the author during placement in the last two years, drawing data from observations and a reflective journal, as well as ‘expansive learning’. Finally, a design-based approach will be used for implementing and reflecting on the use of immersive technology in the MFL classroom as an example of multi-stakeholder collaboration and reverse mentoring by the student teacher.

Till Weyers is a final year student teacher in German, PolSoc and CSPE, completing his PME in the School of Education at UCD. He is interested in how technology use in education can improve teacher collaboration, teaching and learning. His focus is on using Immersive Technology such as Virtual Reality in the MFL classroom to provide richer learning experiences.

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Jigsaw Schools Hub – having trust in online resources

Anne Maree Barry

Jigsaw Schools Hub is for Irish teachers and school staff in post-primary schools and teachers of 6th class students in primary schools (12yr olds). Its purpose is to provide easily accessible, high quality, evidence-informed interactive mental health resources and materials for use in the classroom to promote student mental health and wellbeing. With over 21K users of Jigsaw Schools Hub, in less than a year, how do we evaluate and trust that teachers/school staff and students have increased their mental health literacy?
The trust of Jigsaw as a brand is currently 71%. Can this trust in the brand and in services generate trust within a digital learning process and in the classroom?
Jigsaw Schools Hub released a Youth mental health and wellbeing toolkit, March 2021 and a School transitions toolkit in June 2021. Each toolkit has a specific section, which focuses on different aspects of mental health and wellbeing. The content is divided into video resources, animations, worksheets, real-life scenario videos and class room activities e.g. debate prompts. In September 2021, a newsletter was introduced to a cohort of email contacts. The newsletter (4K readership) highlighted school staff upskilling in eLearning courses in supporting student mental health and wellbeing, eLearning and new video content being added to the hub. The user data is measured using analytics and campaign monitor.

Anne Maree Barry is the Digital Education Coordinator at Jigsaw, the National Centre for Youth Mental Health, Ireland. Her ethos is to create learning opportunities for others from her own experiences thus shaping specific future modules for participant and audience learning. For the past decade plus, she has been able to continue her artistic film practice whilst developing her skill set as a valuable and innovative educator.

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The Digital Divide: Policy, Planning and Parents

Declan Qualter & Deirdre FitzPatrick

The integration of digital technologies into teaching, learning, and assessment was accelerated by Covid-19 school closures and has since continued to be a central tenet of the learner experience. These school closures shone a light on the digital divide between families of low and high Socio-Economic Status (SES) (Carroll & McCoy, 2021) and compounded the inequities in social reproduction between those families who have access to resources necessary to respond to the crisis (Mohan et al, 2021). Parents with limited educational capital, or lack of access to digital resources, face challenges in supporting their child as we transition to a post-Covid learning environment with greater emphasis on VLEs (Cedefop, 2020, Devitt et al, 2020). This is significant as parental involvement in their child’s education is a determining factor in student engagement and outcomes (McCoy et al. 2014, McCoy, 2018, McNamara et al, 2021)
Student engagement in distance learning during the period of school closures in 2020 varied. Teachers in DEIS schools were three times more likely to report low student engagement compared with those in a non-DEIS context (Devitt et al, 2020). Cedefop (2020) reinforced this point by reporting how learners from disadvantaged groups were less likely to engage in online learning.
Several factors influenced student engagement with learning during this period including SES, access to resources, communication from school, and level of parental involvement (Devitt et al, 2020a). Additionally, a lack of support at home was seen as a barrier to engaging with online learning during period of school closures in 2020 (Ibid).
This presentation will focus on policies aimed at narrowing the digital divide and the consequential influence of these policies on school planning. The presentation will also outline the genesis of an intervention programme developed by LOETB and Trinity Access which is aimed at reducing the digital divide for parents.

Declan Qualter is the Schools’ Support Coordinator with Laois and Offaly Education and Training Board. He is on secondment from his role as Guidance Counsellor and teacher of Business Studies in Portlaoise College. Declan is also a PhD candidate in UCD where his area of research is on an intervention programme in post-primary schools aimed at narrowing the digital divide.

Deirdre FitzPatrick is a Teacher Fellow with Trinity Access, Trinity College Dublin. She is seconded from her role as guidance counsellor in Drimnagh Castle Secondary School. Deirdre works supporting DEIS schools and schools with low progression to further and higher education to tackle the educational divide through the implementation of evidence based programmes. She is also a teaching assistant on TCD’s Postgraduate Certificate in 21st Century Teaching and Learning which promotes the use of ICT in primary and post primary classrooms.

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Flipgrid for the language classroom

Therese Eagers

Flipgrid is a wonderful tool that allows students to respond to tasks using a video platform. It promotes collaboration and allows the teacher to provide feedback quickly and personalised to each student. It is a tool that engages students and gives them a way to track their progress. It’s wonderful for language classrooms but is useful for all subjects.

Therese Eagers is currently working as a language teacher, as well as associate with PPLI and as part of the dept of Ed in UCD on the PME

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Staying in Mainstream Education

Dylan (10) and Mia (14) Goldbach

Two young students explain the importance of resource teachers and special needs assistants in mainstream classrooms. Dylan (10) has overcome challenges in primary school and wants to share his perspective about the simple things that help him stay with his friends in third class. Mia (14) offers a sibling’s perspective. She cites essential classroom structures that have helped her friends sustain their progress as students in classrooms she shares.

Dylan and Mia attend schools in County Tipperary.

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If technology is the answer, what’s the question?

Hassan Dabbagh

As an educational technologist working in school I often get asked “what is the best device to do…?” – or “do I need an iPad to do that?”. He will try to answer some of these questions for you.

Hassan Dabbagh is an Educational Technologist who has extensive experience working with teachers on an individual and whole school basis. He enables teachers to get the best from the technology they have available to them which allows them to enhance their teaching in new and inventive ways.

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Findings from a pair teaching project to introduce coding in primary schools

Natasha Kiely and Pam O’Brien

In this session Pam and Natasha will share their experiences of delivering a project to introduce coding at the senior end of primary school. The project involved a pair teaching approach with 40 teachers and more than 500 students taking part.

Pam and Natasha are lecturers in the Information Technology Department on the Thurles campus of the Technological University of the Shannon. Both presenters have more than 20 years experience of lecturing at third level combined with engagement with students and teachers in primary and secondary schools in their region. This wealth of expertise and experience gives them a unique perspective on many aspects of education.

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But the lighting of a fire

Stephen Howell

Creating accessible educational content in Microsoft Office 365 with AI.

Stephen Howell has over 20 years experience in software engineering, lecturing, program management, and the education industry. He is currently a Senior Program Manager for Microsoft Azure Engineering in Dublin. In this role he is a trainer, content developer, and program manager on technical courses. Stephen is an advocate for neurodiversity awareness and improving accessibility in technology for all. He has been the Microsoft Ireland Diversity and Inclusion Disability ERG Chapter lead since July 2019.

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Digi Tech for Languages and EdPuzzle

Sandrine Pac Kenny

Sandrine will showcase the Digi Tech for Languages website which helps teachers evaluate their own digital skill set and suggests ways to learn more. She will then present EdPuzzle, a tool which uses videos as a base. It can be used for flip learning, assessing students. It already has a database of resources which you can use or adapt to your needs. This will be suitable for primary, secondary and third level attendees.

Sandrine joined PPLI in September 2018 on secondment from her post-primary French and Spanish teaching post. She is currently managing the PPLI associates and looks after support sessions for language assistants and cooperating teachers as well as digital technology tools for teaching and learning. She is also developing resources for teachers and guidance counsellors and promoting languages as part of the Languages Connect awareness raising campaign. In her school, she was involved in running the French exchange and creating a shared space for the French and Spanish departments and subsequently the MFL department.

Sandrine is a qualified and registered post-primary French and Spanish teacher. Originally from France, Sandrine has lived in Ireland since 1993. In 2009, she moved from Dublin to Wexford, where she is now based. She is interested in the use of digital technology to enhance students’ participation, communication, and autonomy.

Behind the Screen

David Dalton & Eugene McDonough

A Q&A Session with two of Ireland’s leading IT for Education Experts who take a holistic approach to the world of Information Technology in the Primary and Secondary school education sector. 

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.

Eugene has been involved in the CoderDojo community since he co-founded CoderDojo Limerick in 2011 and started the DojoCon series of conferences in 2013. He returned from the CoderdDojo Foundation to IT Systems in 2016 to support their Education client base across Ireland.