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The teachers of Ireland constantly seek to improve the teaching and learning experiences both in and outside of formal lessons through the integration of digital technologies. The recent (October 2016) ESRI report Teaching and Learning in Second-Level Schools at the Advent of High-Speed Broadband, for instance, outlines that school principals and teachers see a wide array of benefits of ICT on student learning. These include enhanced student participation and achievement, greater collaboration among students, meeting diverse student needs, and allowing greater differentiation and tailoring of approach. It also highlights the importance of “promoting collaboration, within and across schools and teachers” (p.140).
This idea of collaboration and connections with regard to digital technologies is also evident in a number of recent policy documents. For instance, the Digital Strategy for Schools 2015-2020 outlines that “a number of education reform initiatives are underway to ensure our education system can meet the challenges of the 21st century [and that] this reform programme targets Early Years Education right through to higher education and further education and training” (p.15). Elsewhere, the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning’s Roadmap For Enhancement In A Digital World 2015-2017 recommends that a “multi-level approach to foster digital literacy, skills and confidence among students at all levels of education needs to be developed”.
This important concept of making connections between the many participants, partners, players and pioneers at all levels of education (formal and informal) has been at the heart of CESI’s mission since its inception in 1973 (for instance, the CESI Mailing List with its 1,600 members). To that end, we are delighted to announce that the theme for our annual conference in 2017 will be Making Connections: transformation through technology and teamwork. The conference will provide an opportunity for the sharing of approaches, of ideas that have worked and those that have failed – indeed some of the best learning comes from this – and for those that are ‘works in progress’. Conversations around common interests, learning from each other, making connections with people we wouldn’t otherwise meet – all are part of the wealth of this much anticipated annual event.
The CESI conference is a calendar highlight for those who are interested in integrating technology into their teaching and learning and this year promises to uphold the high standard that has been set by previous CESI events. The conference features a mix of presentations and hands-on workshops, high-profile keynote speakers and opportunities to engage with educators from all levels of the Irish education system.
TeachMeet CESI (#tmcesi)
The conference will be preceded by the now-traditional TeachMeet CESI event, which will be held on the evening of Friday 3rd March at the Regency Hotel, Dublin 9.