Friday, October 22, 2010

Exploring Learning Through Virtual Worlds

How can virtual world software open our eyes to new types of learning? This animated video explores the potential of hypergrids in education - a fascinating concept. Fore more information click here.

Friday, October 15, 2010

ICT Funding Announced

Minister for Education and Skills, Mary Coughlan, has annouced that €20 million will be made available over the coming weeks to secondary schools to fund the purchasing of ICT equipment for their classrooms. The funding is the first tranche of funds to be made available to secondary schools under the government's Smart Schools - Smart Economy strategy. The funds will be available to nearly 700 secondary schools with each will receive a basic grant of €1700 along with €63.45 per pupil. While this is not a huge amount of money, it should be enough for schools to purchase a number of computers and projectors - for the ambitious some iPad's, iPods, interactive whiteboards or visualisers. So far, €42 million has been provided to both primary and secondary schools for ICT equipment since the November 2009 announcement, but is still somewhat short of the €150 million pledged. The Minister said she was committed to providing further resources to schools stating "these new grants will enable post-primary schools throughout the country to equip their classrooms with appropriate technology, to enhance teaching and learning". The fund announcement coincides with the launch of the very first Irish Teaching and Learning Festival which gets underway this morning in the Citywest Conference Centre, which is sure to provide plenty of information on what to spend this money on. 

While these funds are gratefully received, ironically the government are expected to make significant cuts to education in their upcoming budget. Read my previous post on why cuts to education never heal.

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Irish Teaching & Learning Festival

The Irish Teaching and Learning Festival is the first ever interactive conference and exhibition focusing on the future of education in Ireland. It takes place this weekend in the Citywest Conference Centre, on Friday 15th and Saturday 16th October. The event consists of a large exhibition centre, with displays from a wide range of commercial, teaching and learning organisations including 3M, the Centre for Talented Youth, Edco, Gointeractive, and many many more. In fact there over 80 exhibitors displaying their wares at the festival, aimed at all sectors of education including primary and secondary teachers, parents, principals, parents and management. There are also a whole series of workshops and seminars to allow everyone involved in the educational process in Ireland to air their views and share ideas. Many of these workshops will focus on the incorporation of technology, using podcasting, animations and film making, and on the effective use of interactive whiteboards in the classroom. Here are the seminars I'm most looking forward to:
  • Friday 12pm - Advice for schools on purchasing ICT equipment - Tom Lonergan - NCTE - Creativity Suite
  • Friday 2pm - Enquiry Based Learning Instruction in Junior Certificate Science - Joanne Broggy UL - The Promethean Demonstration Suite
  • Friday 3pm - Keynote Address - Lord David Puttman - Keynote Theatre 
  • Saturday 10pm - “Why doesn’t anyone tell me anything around here?” - How Cloud Computing is transforming schools - Simon Lewis Anseo - Creativity Suite
  • Saturday 1pm - Interactive White Boards: A Literature Review, National and International - David O’Grady - UL - Promethean Demonstration Suite
  • Saturday 3pm - Virtual World Primary Schools Project - Using 3d Immersive Technology for the Support of Exceptionally and Twice Exceptional Students - Margeret Keane & James Corbett - - Keynote Theatre
The event is sure to be an excellent opportunity for teachers to explore new ways of bringing innovation into their classroom and to share ideas with teachers with similar aspirations. I'm certainly looking forward to networking with peers with similar ideals. To obtain free admission, delegates must register their interest on their website: For a complete programme of events click here or here to read their latest press release. I hope to see you there! Follow the ITL Festival on Twitter here.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Phil Beadle's Teaching Tips

Following on from Julian Girdham's review of Phil Beadle's "How to Teach", here is a short video of Phil outlining his "Top Tips for Teachers". Just a quick few words on Phil Beadle - he's an English teacher, a former United Kingdom Secondary Teacher of the Year in the National Teaching Awards, and a double Royal Television Society Award winning broadcaster for Channel 4's 'The Unteachables' and 'Can't Read Can't Write'. He writes a column called 'On Teaching' for Education Guardian. How to teach is his third book. His first was serialised in The Telegraph and his second has been used by Liverpool and Manchester United football clubs. He has been on Richard and Judy twice - now that's and achievement! I currently reading "How to Teach" and enjoying every sentence.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Guest Post - Phil Beadle's "How to Teach" Reviewed

To celebrate World Teachers' Day 2010 Julian Girdham, from the award winning SCC English blog, has prepared a guest post for More Stress Less Success reviewing Phil Beadle's wonderful book "How to Teach". Julian's blog won the International Edublogger Award for Best Group Blog in 2008 (coming third in the same category in 2009), picked up nominations for the prestigious Golden Spider Awards in 2008 and 2009 and has been nominated for an Irish Blog Award in 2009 and 2010. It's an essential tool for the modern English teacher. Visit or  and explore!

It feels appropriate to be writing a quick review of Phil Beadle's How to Teach on World Teachers' Day. One month into the school year, the new teachers to whom it is directed may already be feeling besieged and panicky, and old lags like this reviewer may have found that that giddy post-summer-holidays-everything-is-going-to-be-different-this-year feeling has dismally trickled away. The very title of Humphrey's blog suggests that one of the key things that teachers have to combat is stress of different kinds: well, no better way to do this at the start of October than to treat yourself to Beadle's book.

First of all, behind the bland dull title (surely not the author's own), this is a several-laughs-a-page read. It's also hilariously cynical, brutally honest and helpfully practical about the profession. The chapter headings are also dull - 'Management of Students', 'Methods and Organisation' and the like. But then you start reading. If you're a new teacher, you're delighted to hear a voice that isn't ridden with educational jargon or management-speak. If you've been in the classroom for some years, you chuckle and nod, knowing that he's so often simply right. In fact, you'll nod so much your head might fall off. The book has been written for the British market, and bears the scars of his deep frustration with a system which has messed those teachers around for decades, but Irish teachers shouldn't be complacent. Our inspection system might still be relatively benign, but things can change, and current economic and public pressures see Irish teachers under increasing externally-imposed pressure.

World Teachers Day 2010

Today is World Teachers' Day, an annual event to celebrate and recognise the work of teachers worldwide. The day is organised by UNESCO and Education International and it is described as a “significant token of the awareness, understanding and appreciation displayed for the vital contribution that teachers make to education and development”. World Teachers’ Day aims to mobilise support for teachers and to ensure that the needs of future generations will continue to be met by teachers. This year's tag line is "Recovery Begins With Teachers" and looks at how the work of teachers can help in alleviating the hardship of social, humanitarian and economic crises worldwide. 

Obviously, as a teacher, I completely support this concept and often feel that the Irish public don’t truly appreciate the work of teachers and the role they can play in bringing Ireland out of recession and build our economy going into the next decade. Saying that, I believe teachers, their unions and the pointless Teaching Council are extremely inept at promoting our profession and the work we do. But today is not about moaning, it’s about patting each other on the back and saying “good job”. It is also a time to remember our 30 million colleagues worldwide, many of whom have to work through hardship and crisis in order to carry out their role as educators. While it's easy to complain about the lack of resources in Irish schools, it is important to remember those that teach without chalk, copies, pens or even classrooms. These are the true teaching heroes. To send an appreciative message to a colleague or teacher you know, why not fill out a E-CARD on the World Teachers’ Day website! Visit!