Saturday, December 17, 2011

ICEP 2011

The International Conference on Engaging Pedagogy (ICEP 2011) was held in NCI yesterday and I was able to attend most of the proceedings. The conference "is an annual event that brings together researchers and practitioners in the field of third-level teaching in order to discuss means and methods of improving student engagement (from ICEP About page)".

The opening address "Effecting Change to improve the Learning Experience", was delivered by Professor Sally Brown. She gave us both an entertaining and informative talk - she even started at the end! She displayed her Conclusion slide first and then went back to the beginning. While she was stating the obvious that if we keep on doing the same thing every day that nothing will get better, she still held the audience's attention with her wit and  informed experiences. She advised us to consider changing the way we assess students, use technology, engage with students, and to embrace change. 

I missed the first break-out session (which I was supposed to chair), due to attending some presentations by some 4th year students. But I was back for the afternoon breakout session - I attended the following three presentations:
  • The Use of Mind Maps as an Assessment Tool by Robbie O’Connor (Tallaght IT)
  • Motivating Student Learning by Mark Dowling (Griffith College)
  • Embedding Universal Design in the Curriculum by Margaret Kinsella (Blanchardstown IT)
Robbie O'Connor was excellent and showed us how he uses mind maps in assessing student work on an environmental engineering course. Mark Dowling was candid about how some strategies for engaging students did not work very well. While Margaret Kinsella both entertained and informed when talking about designing educational material to suit everyone - including disabled people.

The final part of the conference was an "Armchair Session" (sadly, with no armchairs!), which was led by Professor Phil Race. The theme was "Capturing the Voice of Irish Educators" where he set us various tasks to ask questions about the things that challenged us as educators - his slides from his presentation (which includes our feedback) are available here. Our discussions varied from "what can we do when we get silence after asking a question?" to "how can we overcome a reliance on the likes of Wikipedia?".

Overall - a very interesting conference and it was also great to meet both old and new faces too.

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