Today I ask David R. Pollard, an educator in Dublin, Ireland our question: “What did you do in school today?”
This series of blog posts includes responses to our question from educators from all over the world, of all content areas, in all grade levels, and in various teaching assignments so that together, we will have a better understanding of what is happening TODAY IN SCHOOL. For more information about this series or to write your own response to the question, please visit this page.
Over one year ago, I stepped off a blustery street in the centre Dublin City into the warm aroma of Bewley’s coffee. In doing so, I reached a Twitter milestone. At a round wooden table to my right sat two women. Two faces that I recognised from my personal learning network, Ruta Danyte and Lorna Keane. I had never met anyone from Twitter in person, so this was exciting, particularly as we were there to discuss the prospect of Ireland’s first EdCamp. After an enthusiastic conversation, we decided to give it our best efforts. Unfortunately, that year threw up some challenges to each of us in our personal, academic and vocational lives. Despite the green light from EdCamp co-founder, Kristen Swanson, the call was made to let the idea of EdCamp Ireland slide until we had time to give it the energy it deserved. EdCamp Ireland is still in the pipeline, although the task of its care has mainly been handed over to other Irish educators.
2015 arrived and with it came new concepts, innovations and opportunities. I was busy researching the topic of learner feedback for my Masters in Learning and Teaching when I received the e-mail from Ruta in May. She expressed her desire to organise Startup Weekend Education in Dublin. Ruta’s view was to encourage collaboration between ‘techies’ and educators, providing them with the opportunity to share their knowledge and skills. I admit, I delayed my involvement for a couple of months, but once I had dumped my dissertation on my supervisor’s desk I was ready for a new challenge.
Again, the scent of coffee greeted me as I arrived at the meeting place. This time it was Roasted Brown’s coffee. Different coffee. Different challenge. Ruta and I deliberated over the resources we would need to provide for ‘techies’ in order to expand their understanding of educational frameworks, the roles of educators and current trends. After this meeting, I drew up a rough draft surrounding these topics and devised steps educators must take before integrating new technology into their classrooms. In addition to Ruta and I, Nubi Kay, Daniel Paul and Nana Adeniyi completed the organising team. I was inspired by the online team discussions that took place on Google Hangouts and Skype. Concepts, challenges and solutions flowed, making the meetings exceptionally productive.
It is now August and the dates have been confirmed. Startup Weekend Education will take place on 27th -29th November. There is much to be done, but the conversations have been invigorating. It will be hosted close to Samuel Beckett Bridge, at the Bank of Ireland, Grand Canal Square. The Bank of Ireland is also sponsoring the event, so now it is up to us to make sure the plan becomes a reality. Posters, videos and t-shirts must be designed and created. Judges, mentors, and most importantly, guests have to be recruited. The real work starts here, but the first Startup Weekend in Ireland dedicated entirely to education is gathering momentum. I have a funny feeling I’m about to hit a steep learning curve. I cannot wait.
David R. Pollard is an Irish educator with a passion for learning and teaching. He has just completed his Masters in those two topics, focusing his research on learner feedback. As a result, he welcomes constructive feedback in his classroom, as he believes it is an essential part of his development. David also welcomes feedback on this post. You can connect with David on Twitter @ or on LinkedIn.