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 a few that I’d recommend.
1. CESI Mailing List
CESI is the Computers in Education Society of Ireland and was established in 1973. For the last number of years they have run a mailing list where teachers can post questions and answers about educational technology. There are over a thousand members and it is one of the best ways to get to know who is who in the edtech world.
The CESI mailing list can be found at the CESI web site.
2. Twitter #edchatie
Every Monday night from 8:30 to 9:30pm during term time is #edchatie night where teachers all over the country (and beyond) discuss all aspects of Irish education. Led by Fred Boss (@fboss) these weekly chats are known as the best CPD in Irish education.
Follow the hashtag #edchatie for more information.
3. EdBlogsIE / Primary Teaching Bloggers Ireland
There are now loads of teachers blogging in Ireland and now there are networks for these teachers. The first is EdBlogsIE, which is run by Nigel Lane and syndicates all Irish Teacher Blogs. The second is a relatively new one, which is a Facebook page for Irish primary teacher bloggers. They both provide a good supportive community and worth checking out.
4. EdTech Conferences
The best place to meet other techie teachers is at a conference and there are a number of these that happen throughout the school year. The two biggest are the CESI conference, which has been held in Galway for the last few years, and the ICTEdu conference, which is held in Thurles. There are others around the country and it’s well worth keeping your eye out for them.
The final place on the list is probably one of the most amazing experiences you’ll ever have as a teacher – a Teachmeet. A Teachmeet can best be described as a Show and Tell for teachers. Everyone meets in a room and there is a list of teachers who have pre-booked to give a 2, 5 or 7 minute presentation on a topic they are passionate about. It’s quick, intense and great fun. They happen all over the country throughout the year and can be run by almost anybody. Already this year, there will be Teachmeets at Féilte, the INTO Principals’ and Deputy Principals’ Conference and the Educate Together Ethical Education conference. Teachmeet Ireland is a web site hosted by two Irish teachers and they run many of these events. If you do nothing else this year, go to one Teachmeet. You will not regret it.
Teachmeet Ireland have a website with more information about Teachmeets.
6. Teachnet Blog
Of course, this list wouldn’t be complete without this blog! This is one of the finest places to find the latest news and ideas on everything related to educational technology.