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Summary of Keynote Speeches

During the morning session Professor Sarah Moore, Associate Vice President Academic at the University of Limerick, addressed the topic of enhancing teaching and learning in Irish higher education in her keynote speech. She focused on the work of the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching & Learning in Higher Education(www.teachingandlearning.ie), and particularly on the challenges of teaching for transitions, whether from school to college, from undergraduate to postgraduate, or between college and work and national and international settings.

“Many students find transition to Higher Education extremely difficult and many seriously consider dropping out in the early weeks of their programme,” commented Professor Moore. She added that it was important for education institutions to question whether they actively nurture a culture of belonging and help students to adjust.

The second keynote address was provided by Professor Linda la Velle, Plymouth Institute of Education, Plymouth University. She introduced the delegates to a new international collaborative project, the Education Futures Collaboration, for those working to improve the quality of education through evidence-based practice and excellence in teaching in learning. The Education Futures Collaboration provides an online infrastructure to connect educators, teacher educators, policy makers and academics and allow them to exchange knowledge and ideas.

“The EFC philosophy is to promote a reflective and collaborative way of working to build and share evidence-based knowledge for educational practice,” said Professor la Velle, adding: “Our goal is to support teachers’ professional judgement with evidence and to further professionalise teaching.”

Professor la Velle highlighted two key tools developed by the Education Futures Collaboration. The first was” MESH” Mapping Educational Specialist knowHow  (www.MESHguides.org ) which aims to produce and publish translational research in education on a global scale, through mass participation as in Wikipedia. In addition the Education Futures Collaboration has set up EdComms (www.educationcommunities.org), an online community for educators looking to share and find research about effect educational practice.

Parallel Research Workshop

Developing critical literacy through digital media

Mary Kelly, Deputy Programme Director for Hibernia College Higher Diploma in Arts in Primary Education

This workshop reported on a project looking at how children’s literacies are socially constructed and selective. Over a six-week intervention programme a group of children were supported in developing skills which would help them evaluate and interpret information in a critical way.

 

Library System Presentation

Audrey Geraghty, Hibernia College Librarian

An overview of the extensive online library facilities in Hibernia College, followed by a practical demonstration to highlight some key resources, which together with the new improved library search engine, allows users to browse, retrieve and share useful online materials.

Presentations

Master of Arts in Teaching and Learning Graduate Presentations

Graduates of Hibernia College’s MATL programme presented their research findings on topics including:

  • the viability of online homework
  • how principals manage ICT in Irish primary schools
  • use of the programming language ‘Scratch’ to promote learning opportunities
  • managing increasing ethnic and cultural diversity in Irish classrooms

Master of Arts in Teaching and Learning Poster Presentations

Graduates of Hibernia College’s MATL programme also presented their research findings through poster presentations on topics including:

  • the inclusion of pupils with Special Educational Needs
  • perceptions of receptive language disorders among teachers
  • supporting school re-entry for students following traumatic brain injury
  • the transition from primary to post-primary for pupils with autism