Latest schools tech to feature at learning festival


7 Oct 2010

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Graham Byrne, the head of Promethean’s businesses in Ireland and Scotland, has asked parents to get involved in the upcoming Irish Teaching and Learning Festival.

The first Irish Teaching and Learning Festival will take place in The Citywest Conference Centre in Dublin on Friday, 15 October, and Saturday, 16 October, and will be sponsored by Promethean.

Byrne said inspiration was drawn for international events, particularly the Scottish Teaching and Learning Festival, when creating this gathering for Irish educators and parents.

“Although there are a number of educational events, there is nothing that was a genuinely independent event focused on educators, parents and the betterment of the education system as a whole in Ireland,” said Byrne.

The festival has two major components – informing and exhibiting. Many key speakers will be there to talk to the public about what is happening in the education sphere, both nationally and internationally.

Keynote speakers include Oscar-winning producer and advocate of education causes, Lord David Puttnam, who will be speaking on how to best meet the needs of a new generation of learners.

The list of speakers also includes Dr Theo Lynn, director of the DCU Leadership, Innovation and Knowledge Research Centre, Leo McCloskey, vice-principal of Termoncanice Primary School Limavady and Joanne Broggy, the project officer in Teaching and Learning in Science in the National Centre for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching and Learning.

The Irish Teaching and Learning Festival will also host more than 50 exhibitors, offering original ideas and best practices on learning and teaching, with a particular focus on technology. Promethean said they will be showcasing ‘The Classroom of the Future.’

“We’ll be bringing in children from local schools who will be taught using the latest interactive technology,” said Byrne, noting that this will include learner response systems and 3D tech.

Collaboration and involvement

Byrne emphasised the need to encourage teachers to share and collaborate on new ideas to improve the standards of teaching and learning, particularly digitally.

“I don’t think there’s any question about the quality of the digital content that’s being produced in Irish classrooms, but the challenge we have is getting teachers into a mindset where they will share that with other educators,” said Byrne.

Byrne also said he wanted to encourage parents to attend the festival in order to see what educational practices are out there that their children could learn from

“We want (parents) to have visibility of what’s happening in the state and we want to encourage them to get involved,” said Byrne.

“We want them to understand how important this is from the point of view of their children’s future and how important it is that the Irish education space does embrace technology so that we don’t simply get left behind in terms of the economic environment globally.”

The festival will run from 9am – 6pm on both days.

Visitors can register online at www.itlfestival.ie.