CESI Meet 2012
So about me for the CESI people who may not know me I graduated with a Journalism degree from Griffith College in 2009. After this I took up an internship writing for Irishdeafkids.ie
During this time I was introduced to the world of captioning, writing and technology.
I learnt a lot and in 2010 decided to move on and took part in Webactivate. A government funded program aimed at getting Irish businesses online.
This course introduced me to the technologies involved in online media which I had never learnt in my traditional print-based media degree.
After Webactivate I took up a work-placement with City of Cork VEC.
I became part of a small team of six who worked at creating the City of Cork VEC iTunes U learning platform. While others worked on platform creation and meeting with teachers my duties were in the photography, final cut and graphic design area. I created all the graphics for the site as well as taking all photos later used in the items.
Our platform launched last June just four months after we began working on it. You can find it here.
Luckily for me my work didn’t go un-noticed and after the work-placement ended in September I was employed as a tutor. Since September I have taught a wide range of digital based subjects including photography, digital media technology and the internet. My classes are small and the students are usually part of Back to Education or other social welfare related programs.
As well as this I have kept up my work on iTunes U and we continue to create new content.
When I was approached to do a presentation on behalf of Irish Deaf Kids at CESI12 I said yes without even thinking.
I had not however realised how interesting and varied the speakers and event would be.
Unfortunately I had to work too late to make the Friday night CESImeet but was lucky to get there bright and early on Saturday morning.
I had been going back and forth all week trying to decide which presentations to attend so in the end brought a friend and we went to different presentations. As a result we got to cover a lot of the workshops and shared thoughts after.
The day started off with a couple of long introductions. To be honest these were great but contained too many statistics and facts that they ended up muddled in my brain. Since this was a tech event I think these speakers should have taken their own advice and done some interactive presentations instead of reading from sheets.
After that we were introduced to Steven Howell who presented on many areas but most interestingly Scratch and the Kinect. All my attempts at turning my other half off buying a connect were lost after this presentation. He was so impressed that on the way home he wanted to stop and buy one (but didn’t)
This was a perfect example of how kids and adults can get into basic coding. The ideal result would be that after the initial introduction kids could move forward and explore more. After the conference I went home and had a good play around with it and am considering having my classes uses it.
After this came a break. There were many breaks which was great as there were plenty of opportunities to meet and great and explore what the various companies on display had to offer.
A few observations on these companies.
I found the range of displays good overall but many could have been improved. For example EDCO have released a number of their publications for iPad yet had nothing to demonstrate this.
Also one representative at on stall (the name which I will keep to myself) turned around to one attendee and told them to not buy an iPad because the iPad 3 will be out in a few months and that it will contain flash. Those in the know as I would have expected her to be would by now know that the iPad 3 will be out next week and also that there is no way it will contain flash. So maybe know a little more about your products or else don’t give this info to the potential customer and try to flog them and iPad 2 while you can.
I also found some of the data packages available at some stalls to take attendance were quite outdated. I have an app for that but that’s just me.
Back to the presentations.
The next presentation I went to was “A brief history of the near future” by J. Heffernan. This would not have interested me but since I was presenting in the same room decided to go. It was a fantastic presentation. I was never very good at history in school and the thought of having augmented reality in the history classroom is fascinating. I also enjoyed how he looked at the past and future developments in technology which was great. The presenter used a lot of videos which I found captured my attention and made it interesting.
My favorite part of this presentation was the result of a question by one attendee who expressed his fears about being allowed to use technology in the classroom. Heffernans response was do it now and explain later. This is exactly how I work so it was nice to see someone else with the same ideas.
After this there was our presentation. As mentioned above I spoke on captioning and was delighted to receive such a positive response. There were many questions and attendees seemed enthusiastic and willing to give it a go. Hopefully they will spread the word.
Download my presentation here.
After lunch we went to the workshop on developing e-learning resources. This was great although I did understand the frustration of some students when their presentations failed. My one bit of advice is if it failed at CESI maybe work a little more on it because if a teacher uses it and it fails they may not try again.
It was however nice to see how students can build such interactive whiteboard programs for the classroom.
The final presentation we went to was ‘Creating a mobile app for your school’ by Simon Lewis. I was really looking forward to this one having created mobile apps previously but had that feeling that maybe it was not all it seemed. My feelings were proven right when Simon right out admitted he had brought us there under false pretences. He showed us appmakr which is admitedly a great way to make apps with little experience. There are however draw backs in that you need a website to begin with. I think this is great for beginners who have little experience in coding, web-design or app development from experience I have learnt of different resources including ways to do it as part of a wordpress. One of my classes made app versions of their websites (which is what I would consider appmakr to do) by using wordpress plugins. Before September they had limited computer experience and have managed to created websites and apps in under two months so there are equally easy ways out there.
Overall the day was great. I was introduced to new faces and got to meet a few familiar ones. I learnt of some new things to try in my classroom. Overall I think it was more geared towards primary teachers than further ed but it was nice to see the direction the country is heading and see that there are some teachers out there that are interested in ditching the whiteboard for computers.