The CESI, Computer Education Society of Ireland, Conference took a slightly different format this year as Irish teachers were unable to take any time out of school. CESI organised a ‘Meet’ on the Friday evening and then full day of presentations and workshops on Saturday.

The Friday ‘Meet’ saw myself and Hester give a short presentation each on the A09 project and ways in which Irish schools can link up with Camara. Presenters were brought up at random using an on-line fruit machine (we need to introduce this to our team meetings!). I’m sure it isn’t new to students today, but we were able to test a ‘Who wants to be a millionaire’ type hand held voting system. Our questions were CESI related but it’s easy to see how teachers could use the device in class, giving students a safe environment to share opinions or be tested!

In an attempt to try and keep, colleagues and I are now twittering (www.twitter.com) It’s like blog under 140 characters, much less detail about life, but more frequent. We’ve been told it the new craze, so far I think the kids would find us a bit dull!

After 3 different taxi drivers and 3 customers were consulted we were able to get to Coláiste de hÍde, Bóthar Chaisleáin Thigh Motháin (I am able to translate Bóthar – Road, but that wasn’t really much use to any of the taxi drivers), for part 2. Saturdays Opening Keynote was presented by fellow Scot and Brought Ferrier Laurie O’Donnell, Director of Learning and Technology Scotland. The Glow project which allows teachers to share resources and lessons across Scotland, reminds me a little of what Camara would like to do with our Moodle site, although of course on a MUCH smaller scale. I think we’re in the right direction.

Apple’s John Heggarty followed with a seamless presentation that put our Friday evening powerpoint to shame!

The afternoon saw Cormac, Hester and myself in various different workshops. After which each of us would return with new ideas and suggestions of how Camara can develop its ICT programme in African schools.
To me the CESI conference is an exciting event with passionate teachers and presenters who want to open ICT opportunities and support to students and other teachers. As a young adult who used computers a little in secondary school and further at University, this technology was very much been a way to write essays and send email. Research was done in the library with stained and dusty old books. Today the relationship that students have with technology is very different, they expect and want more.

It’s there in the classroom no matter what lesson. Students in Ireland have embraced it and teachers are recognising this opportunity. Bringing ICT to schools in Africa is essential but we do need your support and guidance!