The question of finding the right blend of face-to-face and online learning when it comes to teacher professional learning, was explored at St. Patrick’s College, DCU on Tuesday (August 23rd) with an attendance list made up of principals, teachers, academics and policy makers. The animated discussion could have continued well into the afternoon.
The ENTELS project (a teacher-training, research and development project funded by the EU Commission’s Erasmus + programme), presentations and group-discussions were central to H2 Learning’s half-day symposium.
From 9:50am, presentations were delivered by our own Aedamar Frawley, who gave an overview of the ENTELS project, and Dr. Terry Maguire from the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, who examined whether there is a need for blended learning and if so, what is the right blend?
Following a brief questions and answers session and a coffee break, the teachers who used the tools that came about from the ENTELS project, took to the podium. The teachers, Carrie Archer, Catherine Smith and Michael O’Donoghue expertly explained the challenge that educators can expect when they use technology in the classroom, as well as the various ways it can both intensify and simplify the teaching and learning process.
Next came the breakout sessions, which had the whole group break into four colour-coded tables. Each table had a question to deliberate over a 20-minute duration.
- What are the key ingredients for teacher professional learning in the 21st century? (Blue)
- What can be done to promote greater teacher participation and interaction in online professional learning? (Green)
- What is a good blend for online teacher professional learning? (Red)
- How can professional learning be sustained beyond fixed course timelines? (Orange)
With the help of Padlet, a collaboration-based app, people at each table were able to condense and document their own thinking. A feedback session followed and a panel comprised of teacher, Carrie Archer, Dr. Michael Hallissy (H2 Learning), Prof. Linda la Velle (Plymouth University) and Dr. Terry Maguire, offered their reflections on the feedback.
The day concluded on a lively note, when circled groups carried on their conversations as they had lunch. Thanks to everyone for their contribution to this crucial conversation.