Journal

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

I asked Chat GPT about computers which were used in Irish schools in 1972

In 1972, computers were still relatively rare in schools, especially in Ireland. However, there were a few models of computers that were used in some Irish schools during that time, including:

  1. IBM 360: This mainframe computer was widely used by businesses and government agencies, but some schools in Ireland also had access to it.

  2. DEC PDP-8: This mini-computer was also used in some Irish schools. It was relatively affordable and could be used for a variety of tasks, including programming and data analysis.

  3. Commodore PET: This was one of the first personal computers to become widely available. It had a built-in keyboard, monitor, and cassette tape drive for storage.

  4. Apple II: This personal computer was also popular in schools during the 1970s. It had a colorful display and a wide range of software available.

It's worth noting that not all schools had access to computers in 1972, and those that did often had only limited access. Many students during this time would have learned to program using punch cards and other primitive methods, rather than on a personal computer.

What kind of computers do you think will be in use in Irish schools in 2072?


I asked Chat GPT how I could write more interesting essays

Today, I asked Chat GPT who I could use AI to help me more interesting essays. Here's what it came back with:

AI can be a powerful tool to help you write more interesting essays in several ways:

  1. Topic Generation: AI can help you generate interesting and unique essay topics based on your interests and preferences. There are several AI-powered tools available that use natural language processing to analyze your writing and suggest relevant topics.

  2. Research Assistance: AI can help you research and gather information on your essay topic more quickly and efficiently. With AI-powered search engines, you can easily find relevant sources and identify key concepts and ideas to include in your essay.

  3. Writing Assistance: AI can help you improve the structure, grammar, and overall quality of your writing. There are several AI-powered writing assistants available that can analyze your writing, identify errors and suggest corrections, and provide suggestions for improving your writing style.

  4. Style Enhancement: AI can help you improve the style and tone of your writing to make it more interesting and engaging. Some AI-powered tools use natural language processing to analyze your writing style and provide suggestions for how to make it more interesting and engaging for your readers.

  5. Plagiarism Checker: AI can help you ensure that your writing is original and not plagiarized. There are several AI-powered plagiarism checkers available that can analyze your writing and identify any instances of plagiarism, allowing you to correct them before submitting your essay.

Overall, AI can be a useful tool to help you write more interesting essays by assisting with topic generation, research, writing, style enhancement, and plagiarism checking. However, it is important to remember that AI tools are not a substitute for critical thinking and writing skills, and should be used as an aid rather than a replacement for your own efforts.

I think AI would be useful in helping me write more interesting essays by following the about steps. Instead of scouring through loads of different websites looking for certain information, AI could return the information I am looking for in a relatively quick timeframe. It could be very useful for feeding in my finished essay and telling me how to reword my essay to make it more engaging to the reader.


Today, Chat GPT told me how I could use AI to learn faster.

Here's what Chat GPT told me about ways I could learn faster...

Artificial intelligence (AI) can help you learn faster in a number of ways:

  1. Personalized learning: AI can personalize your learning experience by analyzing your strengths and weaknesses and tailoring the content to suit your needs. For example, an AI-powered language learning app can identify your grammar mistakes and give you targeted feedback.

  2. Adaptive learning: AI can adapt the pace of your learning to suit your level of understanding. By monitoring your progress and analyzing your learning patterns, AI algorithms can adjust the difficulty level of the content you are learning, ensuring that you are neither overwhelmed nor bored.

  3. Gamification: AI-powered learning platforms can gamify the learning experience, making it more engaging and motivating. By incorporating game-like elements such as badges, points, and rewards, AI-powered apps can motivate you to learn more and achieve higher levels of mastery.

  4. Intelligent tutoring: AI-powered tutoring systems can provide you with immediate feedback and support, helping you to overcome learning obstacles and stay motivated. These systems can use natural language processing (NLP) to understand your questions and provide you with personalized responses.

  5. Smart content curation: AI algorithms can help you to find the most relevant and useful learning materials from a vast sea of information. By analyzing your learning objectives, past performance, and interests, AI algorithms can recommend the most appropriate content for you to study.

Overall, AI can help you learn faster by personalizing the learning experience, adapting to your needs, motivating you to learn, providing feedback and support, and curating the most useful learning materials for you.

AI for Faster Learning. (openai.com)

I would be slightly worried about the advent of AI in relation to taking over future jobs and also where it gathers it's information from.