Back again…

Last  year, 2014, had been on and off for me in terms of eLearning Island. I will start to engage my readership again in 2015 and document some of my insights as I increasingly engage with educators in my role as a Team-leader with Junior Cycle for Teachers.

Blogging (via Edublogs) and micro-blogging (via Twitter) are an interesting symbiotic mix, Twittersince there is usually a healthy relationship between the two. Twitter is often a source of my inspiration, while Blogging very often reflects my interests and vice versa. For the past two months or so I have really only operated in the Twitter space and I have become somewhat frustrated with my lack of time to develop longer blog postings.

I have noticed though that Twitter can become somewhat of a bubble – I say in by bio “…hopefully not an echo chamber…” – but a lot of what reaches me is what I like to hear. Now that is not necessarily a bad thing, provided of course I think it through – and that is where the frustration of not creating longer blog postings comes in!

So here’s to 2015 – the year of the longer blog posting!

I am doing a lot of thinking about Key Skills, Key Competences, Twenty-first century skills, call them what you will: three related  blog postings caught my attention over the holiday period

  1. Steve Wheeler on Preparing our Children for the Future
  2. EDTOSAVETHEWORLD on But are we preparing them for College?
  3. Matt Acevedo on The Case for Group Work   on the Blackboard blog

Wheeler’s posting on seeing children as creative individuals rather than as commodities is 3515990945_889a0aa139_man engaging foreword to my 2015.

He writes “The problems our students will encounter when they reach adulthood will be unique to their generation, possibly created by the new technologies they use, and no amount of knowledge acquisition from today’s curriculum, nor teaching from today’s experts, can prepare them for that.”

There is a huge challenge as children in Ireland enter college experiencing what the Economic and Social Research Institute refer to, as the mismatch between Secondary and Third Level Education (Leaving School in Ireland: A Longitudinal Study of Post-School Transitions (2014 here). It is interesting to read about this from another perspective. EDTOSAVETHEWORLD points out “When college professors {…talk…} about what preparation students lack when they enter higher education, they rarely say the ability to quickly copy notes. Instead they highlight competencies like reasoning, problem solving, and disciplinary thinking.

Acevedo addresses one of the most challenging skills, competencies, abilities when we are required to work together in groups, “Group projects in courses provide an avenue to promote and foster interpersonal skills within a subject-specific context or a condition that models real-world scenarios.” Acevedo’s solution (at Third Level) is not necessarily one we could advance at Secondary Level here in Ireland (Peer evaluation of group members) but his blog is well worth reading, in terms of making us think about what we might do!

Just some thoughts to kick eLearning Island off! Happy New Year Everyone.

Photo Credit: The Group by  Greg Lobinski via Flickr





  1. Donal O' Mahony

    Patrick – Thank you for your comment. I like your reference to Fullan – I wrote a little about his work with Maria Langworthy in a post earlier this year You might like the document referenced there. They also use an example of good practice from Clontuskert, National School here in Ireland. It is great to see that there are teachers working away at the C21st Skills despite what you aptly call our “exam and points driven edu culture.”

  2. Patrick Hickey

    A great post. I look forward to reading the links provided. Michael Fullan’s 6 Cs of 21st century learning and literature around them are well worth a look at in this regard. Our exam and points driven edu culture is very much to all our detriments – can we blame both students and indeed teachers for being so bored with their work. Communication, sharing ideas and problem solving are key 21st century ones. Yet rote learning and recall in a how fast can you write contest is the be all and end all of Irish Education. It’s a very poor reward for our young people.