Festival of Education

Last weekend, Ciarán and Kevin attended the Festival of Education at Wellington College, near London. There were a huge number of talks and activities taking place during the day so the flight over was spent working through the schedule, picking out the most interesting and planning who would see what.

Wellington College is a stunning venue for what proved to be a very interesting day. Among Kevin’s favourite events were a talk on computers and assessment by Dr Paul Kelley, a talk by Dr Eben Upton on the Raspberry Pi device and an inspiring talk by Lord Adonis on the ongoing need for reform. Lord Adonis said that educational nostalgia was a problem because there was no golden age of education in the past. The golden age, he said, is ahead of us!

Ciarán started off the day by attending Conrad Wolfram’s talk, “Stop teaching calculating, start teaching maths”, and was especially taken by his enthusiasm for change and reform. Later, he was further inspired by the amazing Matthew Syed and his presentation on mindsets and positive re-enforcement, “never praise talent but always praise effort“. Another well-known speaker, Melody Hossani, spoke about “Enterprise and Life Skills Innovation” within the classroom. This particularly resonated with our own programme here in Bridge21 and it would be great if an opportunity arose to work with her in the future.

There were several demonstrations of how technology could be used in an innovative way for learning. Google set up a technology-rich “collaborative classroom” that included round tables, laptops, projectors, big comfy bean-bags and a carpet that looked a lot like grass! There were second level students on hand in this classroom to show off some of the project work they had done. You can check some of it out here.

Another highlight of the day was visiting the Mandarin Learning Centre, which came complete with a Koi pond and a Zen garden!

We barely scratched the surface of this brilliant event but we’ll make sure we attend both days next time around. If you’re interested in education, we highly recommend this one!

P.S. There are many fine education events here in Ireland but we’re not aware of any that are quite like the Festival of Education. An Irish Festival of Education could be very interesting and beneficial for all involved. Just a thought…..

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