Word of Mouth at Optic Fibre Speed Gets Citizens Online

Fibre Optic cable

As the national effort to get every household in Ireland online by 2020 continues [“Minister for Communications Denis Naughten has claimed Ireland will be the first country in the world to bring broadband into every home” (See https://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/ireland-will-be-first-in-world-to-bring-broadband-to-every-home-minister-1.3202180)] Irish Rural Link is reporting great achievements in its Getting Citizens Online initiative. Using the simplist technology ‘Word of mouth and community mobilisation’ Mary Keys of Irish Rural Link, and the team of ICT trainers, have brought the ‘IT Skills for Farmers’ free computer classes run for 5 weeks, one 2 hour class per week, to local venues all over Ireland.

According to the Getting Citizens Online webpage the main objective of Getting Citizens Online is to get more people online especially people who have never used the computer before. Getting Citizens Online focuses on particular target groups such as:

  • Age profile 45+
  • Farming communities
  • Small business owners (<10)
  • Unemployed persons
  • Persons with disabilities
  • Disadvantaged groups

To date, Irish Rural Link has delivered this type of Internet training to over 4,500 participants around the country for all different age groups particularly to most isolated areas including the islands. Delivering to the most disadvantaged is a challenge to which Getting Citizens Online has significantly risen. Those who deliver education to disadvantaged groups have much to learn from the IRL Getting Citizens Online experience.

Michael Kenny (michael.kenny@mu.ie)


Continuing to study ….

Learning after College

Progressive learning after college is both challenging and expensive. Peter Maguires’ article 26/09/2017 explores this:

Education once took a fairly linear route: primary, secondary, college and work. Those days are gone. Now, postgraduate education – also known as fourth-level – is increasingly common, while almost every job will require at least some ongoing professional development. And, whether it be out of interest, a desire to upskill or perhaps to change career direction, legions of graduates will return to education many times throughout their lives.

Read more at https://www.irishtimes.com/news/education/finished-college-it-may-be-time-to-hit-the-books-1.3227805?mode=amp.

Michael Kenny (michael.kenny@mu.ie). Disseminate freely

Tips on securing a Job – FET Teaching Graduates

Tips on Jobs

Camilla Fitzsimons and I are conducting a brief survey on the success of graduates from the Higher Diploma in Further Education in getting work.  We are asking past graduates to tell us in confidence if they have work, if it is part-time and full-time, if it is in the area they desire/studied for, or it is in an alternative area because they have to work to earn a living.  Ultimately we want to know if the professional diploma is delivering professional employment for the people who invest their money and time in the course.

Peter Maguire presents an interesting article in the Graduate Options supplement of the Irish Times on Tuesday, September 26 titled “Top 12 tips to help you get the job offering you want”.  It is valuable to have this information.

Additionally a workshop on the employment of non-traditional learners as part of the EMPLOY Erasmus+ project  noted that the CV and interview preparation process provided by the careers development office of the university is appropriate for a traditional graduating students, but is not appropriate for a mature student who already has significant experience that needs to be acknowledged and presented in the best possible way in their CV.  The preparation of a CV for an experienced person requires time and a specialist knowledge that the a general careers office, though willing, cannot provide.

Michael Kenny (michael.kenny@mu.ie)

Further Education & Training (FET): What is IT?

FET P Maguire Article 2017

Peter Maguire presents a very good article in the Irish Times on Tuesday, September 26, 2017.  In this article he summarises “All you need to know about your options in the diverse further education and training sector”.  The article gives a valuable summary of the wide FET range addressing access programmes, apprenticeships, community education, further education, interest and night courses, massive online open courses, springboard courses, & workplace learning.  He also summarises grants and supports under the sub-headings BTEA & BTEI, childcare, disability, and maintenance grants.

You will find the article online at https://www.irishtimes.com/news/education/navigating-the-world-of-adult-further-education-and-training-1.3227747

Michael Kenny (michael.kenny@mu.ie) Please disseminate freely.

DIMA Pilot Blended Online Learning Training Course Workshop, Maynooth University in Ireland

The Department of Adult & Community Education at Maynooth University in Ireland is one of six partners in the DIMA project, developing e-learning material and a toolkit for adult learning policy makers.

Four hundred Irish adult learning and policy making practioners were invited to participate in the DIMA pilot blended online learning training course during May 2017. Almost one in four responded positively and thirty-nine (39) actually participated and provided feedback by the 30th June 2017. The 39 participants comprised adult learning practitioners, Education and Training Board (ETB) policy makers, educational technologists and Higher Education (HEI) academics.

Given the time of year (end of academic year), geographic spread and workload the high level of interest in this pilot training was evident. A user- led process was designed to facilitate their participation with the technical support of CARDET, Cyprus.

Feedback was collected through face-to-face (14 participants) and online (9 participants) workshops on Tuesday 20th and Tuesday 27th June 2017.  Feedback details are available in the National Implementation Report, Ireland, or from the DIMA website.

Photo: Dima Pilot course participants receive certificates of completion on Tuesday 20th June 2017

DIMA Disclaimer

Maynooth Education Forum – Recognising the 12%: Ethnic Minorities’ Trajectories through the Education System

MU Ed Forum

Maynooth Education Forum – 16 June 2016. Recognising the 12%; Ethnic Minorities’ Trajectories through the Education System

Now in its fifth year, the Maynooth Education Forum is an open space where an invited group of education policymakers and stakeholders come together to exchange ideas and reflect on key issues in education. The 2017 Education Forum is recognising the 12% of migrants in the Irish Education system and we would be honoured if you were to attend and add your voice to the discussion.

This year’s Forum seeks to promote progressive change by:

  • Exploring how migrants are faring in the Irish education system and seeking to understand their lived experience
  • Sharing best practice from other countries
  • Understanding how teachers and the education system can adapt to cater for migrants and identify supports required for teachers

Keynote details are below, and you can register your attendance here.

Keynote speakers:

Dr Zelia Gregoriou, University of Cyprus, is a philosopher of education. Her research has explored the need to rethink intercultural education with regards to curriculum and pedagogy, policy frames, and research methodology.

Prof Irena Kogan, University of Mannheim, is project director of the Children of Immigrants Longitudinal Survey in Four European Countries, focusing on the intergenerational integration of the children of immigrants in Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.

Prof Frances McGinnity, ESRI, with colleagues has conducted a large study of migrant children in Irish schools. She is currently collaborating with EU colleagues on a project examining early socio-cultural integration patterns of migrants

Dr Victoria Showunmi is Senior Lecturer in the Maynooth University Department of Education. Her research focuses on Gender and Educational leadership and Black young women and their wellbeing through an intersectional lens.

Register to attend: here (Please circulate to potentially interested parties)

Further information: www.maynoothuniversity.ie/MaynoothEducationForum


See Blogpost on Matters FET at https://fetireland.wordpress.com/

: European Life Long Learning Project. The DIMA project A practical toolkit for monitoring Adult Education strategies, policies and practices.

  Follow us on Twitter  @mu_aced

Michael Kenny, Lecturer, Department of Adult & Community Education, Maynooth University (Ollscoil na hÉireann Má Nuad) Click here

INVITE become a member of the DIMA project e-Learning Expert Review Group


Last week I started inviting a number of adult educators to become a member of the DIMA project e-Learning Expert Review Group. The DIMA project (http://dima-project.eu/en/) “A Toolkit for Developing, Implementing and Monitoring Adult Education Strategies” is a two year project, 2015-2017, involving 6 partners/5 countries, (See http://dima-project.eu/index.php/en/partners), to investigate and design a toolkit to support policy makers in the field of adult/further education.

The toolkit is underpinned by a 10 hour online learning course comprising 9 modules. The project partners are currently testing the appropriateness of the course. To do this the project partners are seeking an expert review group who will, between now and the end of June;

  1. Review the online course
  2. Complete a feedback form
  3. Meet in sub-groups (F2F or virtual), to offer more detailed feedback on the online course/toolkit, advise on content, and explore additional support to Adult Education policymaking.

If this might interest you the project partners invite you to be a member of the DIMA Online e-Learning Expert Review Group. Members will have first access to an online toolkit and course for adult/further education policy makers, and, get an insight into a simple online content delivery method.

If you are interested in participating, please let me know by blog feedback or email to michael.kenny@nuim.ie. I will send you course access and details. If you cannot participate, perhaps, you may suggest a person(s) of equal expertise whom I should invite.FET_profile_pic

I will keep you up to date with progress. Thanking you,

Michael Kenny, Lecturer, Department of Adult & Community Education, Maynooth University (Ollscoil na hÉireann Má Nuad) Click here

DIMA Disclaimer

Widening Participation Maynooth University

Maynooth University is consulting its departments in the preparation of a new strategic plan up to 2020.  The Registrar, Professor Aidan Mulkeen, highlighted to us at a recent briefing that the new strategic plan seeks to re-balance the student body to be more reflective of Irish society.  This means proactively and deliberately realigning the student intake mix to reflect the communities that make up Irish Society.

Maynooth University is proud that the student body has 4% more of targeted socioeconomic groups and 5% more mature students among its student population than the average %s across all the higher education institutions (HEIs) in Ireland.  However, “We could do better”.

The National Access Plan, http://www.hea.ie/en/policy/national-access-office/national-plans-equity-access-higher-education/2015-2019-access-plan, adds focus to Maynooth University’s bid to widen participation in HE.

The Department of Adult and Community Education, https://www.maynoothuniversity.ie/adult-and-community-education, is a leader among Maynooth University Departments in reaching out to a more diverse target group.  In this post I am asking those of you working at the coal-face of Further Education and Training (FET) and Community Education (CommEd) to submit suggestions on how the University can facilitate more graduates from FET and CommEd to access Higher Education (HE).

I attach an online Suggestion Submission Form. There is only one question in it: “Two suggestions to facilitate graduates of FET or CommEd into HE”. It will take 3 minutes to complete.

It asks for your name, email address, and to select if are you responding about FET learners or CommEd learners? (If you want to respond re both complete the form for a second time)

Responses will come directly into a database. All responses are confidential to me and will not be identifiable in any way. I will use responses to inform a submission from this Department.

The online address to get directly to the response form is https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdXZSnunEfyS91pR5uzc8q5IzXLyFyVqEDb1KSnu_3HKBp17g/viewform?usp=sf_link

I will start preparing the submission on May 29th so there is one week for responses. Any suggestions welcome.

Michael Kenny, Lecturer, Department of Adult & Community Education, Maynooth University (Ollscoil na hÉireann Má Nuad) Click here

AONTAS Pushing out Boundaries

AONTAS Seminar march 2017

AONTAS  are delivering a seminar ‘The European Union: Solidarity in a Time of Uncertainty’  from 10am – 2pm at the Ashling Hotel, Dublin, Ireland on the 10/03/2017. This will be the closing event of the AONTAS Adult Learners’ Festival (6th – 10th March 2017). Information on the Festival at: www.adultlearnersfestival.com.

The seminar will discuss the role and value of the EU in adult learning policy and practice. David Mallows, University College London and UK EPALE thematic coordinator will deliver the keynote address. Dr. Jane O’ Kelly, Dublin City University will partake in the panel discussions along with Zvonka Pangerc Pahernik of the Slovenian Institute for Adult Education and EAAL National Coordinator in Slovenia. For the agenda click here: http://www.aontas.com/download/pdf/aontas_eu_seminar_agenda.pdf.

The seminar will be streamed via Facebook Live on the AONTAS Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/AONTASAdultlearning. It is a way of opening access.

We educators must be at the cutting edge of using this medium. It is increasingly the way people are accessing information and engaging in debate. Increasingly we need more uptodate information but we are restricted in time and resources to personally attend information events. Appropriate use of IT is proving equitable access. It is great to see AONTAS lead on making seminars like this available generally. Increasingly AONTAS is the go-to organisation for policy, access and practice in adult education.

I applaud their professionalism and innovation. personally I will miss my opportunity of inputting directly into the strategic direction of AONTAS as I will have to step down from the AONTAS Executive at the next AGM on May 24th. However, I will continue to input …

AONTAS LogoMichael Kenny