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February 2023

March 2023

Shaping the future of second level education in Ireland

The world is changing rapidly and education needs to keep up with it.

When it comes to secondary level education here in Ireland, I feel we are slow to adapt to a rapidly changing world.

So, I’ve devised a list of recommendations that our second level educators need to take on board if they want the Irish education system to be ranked as amongst the best in the world:

  • More emphasis should be placed on critical thinking and problem-solving skills. The world is becoming more complex as technology develops at a rapid pace. Students need to learn to analyse information and evaluate evidence more effectively. Project based learning could be used to develop students critical think skills letting students work on real world problems and developing solutions.
  • Creativity and innovation should be fostered more. I feel the second level education system is still too rigid and is slow to evolve. Students should be encouraged to think outside the box more and take risks. Creative thinking needs to be encouraged more in the classroom instead of learning everything by rote. This only produces a workforce of drones who all think the same way and limits future innovation. Opportunities should be provided to students to work on open ended projects where they can explore new ideas.
  • Technology should be incorporated more in the classroom. I currently feel not enough schools are teaching coding skills at second level. This is a vital skill that too few students leave second level education not knowing enough about. Digital literacy skills are vital for students to succeed in their future careers. More digital resources need to be provided in the classroom instead of forcing students to buy expensive and heavy textbooks. Schools need to provide more opportunities for students to work on technology related projects instead of writing yet another long essay.
  • More focus needs to be placed on individualised learning. The current system is a ‘one size fits all’ system which fails some students. Students have different learning styles and the education system needs to start taking this into account. Students should be offered personalised learning plans similar to the professional development plans given to employees in a workplace.

With the right guidance and the right support from our second level educators’ students can develop the skills needed to succeed in an ever-changing world.

(Thanks to Chat GPT for assisting me with the above points).


Ebooks vs Print Books

A little bit about MakerMeet Ireland

MakerMeet Ireland is an annual event that brings together makers, educators, and technology enthusiasts from across Ireland to share their ideas, projects, and experiences. The event is typically organized by a team of educators and technology advocates who are passionate about maker culture and its potential for promoting innovation, creativity, and learning.

At MakerMeet Ireland, participants can attend keynote speeches, hands-on workshops, and interactive exhibits that showcase the latest trends in maker technology, education, and entrepreneurship. The event provides an opportunity for makers of all ages and backgrounds to connect with each other, share their knowledge, and collaborate on new projects.

MakerMeet Ireland is often organised around a theme, such as sustainability, creativity, or social impact, to focus participants' attention on particular areas of interest. The event usually features a diverse range of activities, from 3D printing and robotics to art and design, and attracts a broad range of participants, including educators, students, entrepreneurs, and hobbyists.

MakerMeet were present at the EuroPython Conference in October 2022 at the Convention Centre in Dublin.

They worked with young students helping them to build an interactive snake game using Python, Raspberry PI and some tinfoil!

I fully agree with Chris’ statement in the video that Python should be taught to primary school students as they tend to absorb information much quicker at this age so that by the time they progress onto third level they are already accomplished coders.

Check out the video below:

View some photos below from the 2016 ICTEDU Conference which MakerMeet was present at where the kids made critters from wine bottle corks.

ICTEDU meets MakerMeet Critters