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Sabine’s Snapshots from CESI 2012

February 27, 2012
CESI 2012 conference: TEACHnology

Is it really only 72 hours since I arrived in Portlaoise for the 2012 conference of the Computers in Education Society of Ireland, and just 48 hours since I came back from it? “Teachnology – Merging teaching and technology in schools”  was its motto.

Friday evening was spent in the function room of the hotel where (pretty much) everyone was staying, where a so-called CESImeet took place: Short, snappy presentations about a wide range of topics, all to do with technology and education. Followed by a conference day in a state-of-the-art secondary school. That’s where I spent this weekend, 23/24 February, and here are a few snapshots from those twenty-four hours. Subjectivity guaranteed!

Great and other moments

  • The anticipation on the way there, meeting people you know from #edchatie on Twitter in the car park, the hotel lobby, the lift.
  • Nerves, nerves, nerves when Mags Amond, bean an tí  for the CESImeet, set that virtual fruit machine spinning: At first, you didn’t want your name to come up, please, please, not me, not yet…. then you think you cannot possibly wait any longer. And then you’re on and then you’re gone. I did a short input on SurveyMonkey, by the way. Because I like using it.
  • The feeling that you could listen to those 2, 5 and 7 minute presentations for a lot longer. What a great format CESImeet is!
  • On Saturday morning, finally arriving in Portlaoise College for the CESI conference after an involuntary tour of the town – I won’t rely on my mobile maps app so fully the next time.
  • Listening to two impressive, thought-provoking and at the same time very different addresses, the keynote by @saorog aka Stephen Howell and the capstone by Steve Wheeler aka @timbuckteeth who I had particularly been looking forward to. Excellent!
  • Not being able to make up one’s mind where to go for workshops / presentations as there were always at least three that I really did not want to miss – at the same time.
  • Following the ones I could not go to on the #cesi12 Twitter hashtag. Fun!
  • Chats in queues for tea and food. [Could the lunch perhaps be staggered the next time, though? Just asking…]
  • Practically everybody knew what CoderDojo does, even though they did not even exist a year ago – five or more of us take our kids there, and at least two CESI-ites present are actually involved as volunteer tutors. What a way to spend your Saturday, fair play!
  • The Limerick CoderDojo actually has the rule that the kids can only play games there that they programmed themselves.

Aha moments. Food for thought.

  • @_conorgalvin (Conor Galvin, UCD) put it to us during CESImeet that politicians might well be making education policies on the basis of their own vaguely remembered learning spaces, plus what they know as parents / uncles / aunts about today’s schools. What are we educating for? The economy? The new elite / middle classes? What does that mean for our approach to ICT and education?
  • Could we use social media during our classes? One (third-level) educator tried it and shared his findings with us: I really enjoyed the presentation by Peter Tiernan (@pt_phone_home – classic Twitter handle, methinks)  on his positive experiences with Twitter and 1st Years in DCU.
  •  And then there was Catherine Cronin’s presentation on “Digital identity, privacy, authenticity” as explored with her 2nd-year students at NUI Galway. Who are we online? Who do we want to be online?

Tools and apps to use (only a very small selection):

Web sites to check out, initiatives on the web – some new, some I was glad to be reminded of:

  • [This is a PS, I had forgotten to include it in the first draft:] Edmodo offers great possibilities for setting up an on-line learning network for your class. Mags Amond, who ran a highly practical and engaging workshop on it,  says her class are now asking her to upload things on it, plus it is a lot easier to follow up homework (“assignments”) that are late. Prettier than Moodle, and with a look-and-feel reminiscent of Facebook – which seems to impress children.
  • An alternative to Twitter in the classroom: – thanks to Jeanette James ( @7Mrsjames) for the suggestion. Jeanette actually followed the #cesi12 Twitter conversations from Australia!
  • Teachers can still sign up their classes for (thanks to @DeputyMitchell –  for a goggled presentation via Skype) [Apparently he always wears goggles when skyping etc.]
  • describes itself as “The World’s Biggest Blogging Project” – @DeputyMitchell being responsible for it. Looks very interesting! ” As soon as Feb 29th
  • 2012 begins in Tonga, the will open up for posts for one day only. This blog will capture posts from all over our planet on this rare day until midnight in the Western Pacific.” I think I might try that…
  • For virtual learning spaces, meeting across boundaries – even in the flesh! – @_conorgalvin says all teachers should at least look at, if not participate in
  •  @JmsCrk – one of the people behind free software Audacity – is looking to crowdsource an Irish translation of the current Audacity interface. for details.
  • Know Scratch? Have a Kinect for your XBox? Would like to connect the two? Or would you just like to give the children you’ve taught Scratch to an added reason to program? Stephen Howell @saorog has made his Kinect2Scratch software available to all on

Others have done justice to the fantastic Steve Wheeler, whose blog I’ve been reading for a good while now, who gave the Capstone (meant to be the Keynote – airplanes and automobiles intervened, but it worked well as the endnote) and Stephen Howell’s keynote. I’ll leave it at this… For more on CESI 2012, do look at these:

CESI goes on!

If you’re not on it, do join the CESI mailing list. Great stream of information. I love the daily digest.

See you in Tipperary? ICT in Education Conference 2012

  1. Excellent analysis Sabine! Thanks for the great links. I thought the constant stream on Twitter throughout the day was brilliant! It was strange seeing the bodies attached to the floating heads!

    • Thanks for your friendly comment, Julie! Twitter really did add to the conference. Amazing tool, isn’t it?

      • It really is a great tool. I’m new to Twitter myself and I’m quite unsure how I functioned before it! I missed Peter Tiernan’s talk on Twitter in education but there’s definitely potential there.

  2. Thanks for the kind thoughts about I have not been described as a mammy before (except when the children in school have that embarrassing moment where they call me mammy by mistake)

    • Ah now, Simon! It’s not you who’s meant to be the mammy here – it’s the site! 😀
      I’m sure there are many, many teachers in Ireland who like me have learned loads from your and Rozz’s great site.
      As to the youngsters and forgetting who the teacher is… Awwww…

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