26

Jan

Robert Boyle and the origin of “chemical analysis”

Yesterday was Robert Boyle’s birthday (happy birthday Bob!) and in Twitter chit-chat, an interesting nugget emerged from Prof Damien Arrigan. He recalled reading that it was Boyle who first coined the term chemical analysis. Pointing me to the source, a READ MORE

22

Jan

The role of prior knowledge

One of the main challenges in teaching first year university students is that they have a great variety of backgrounds. A quick survey of any year one class will likely yield students who have come straight from school, students returning READ MORE

14

Jan

Outcomes of #Flipped Lecture Trial

Last semester, I trialled a flipped lecture in my Year 2 module on Chemical Thermodynamics. This work will be presented at DIT’s Learning and Teaching Showcase in January, and an accompanying flyer is below. Overall, it has been a very READ MORE

09

Sep

ChemEd Ireland, DIT Kevin St on Sat Oct 11th

ChemEd Ireland is being held at Dublin Institute of Technology Kevin St on Saturday October 11th, 2014.  The 33rd Chem-Ed Ireland Conference returns to Dublin on Saturday October 11th from 9.30 am to 4pm at Dublin Institute of Technology Kevin St. Campus READ MORE

20

May

How difficult are Gas Law questions?

At last – a way to quantify if you are asking a nasty question or not! Problem solving imposes a cognitive load on novice learners. Even if the problem is simple (often called exercises, if they involve routine algorithmic tasks), READ MORE

13

May

Blogging Chemistry Education

Education in Chemistry launched their new blog earlier this year and the editorial staff there were good (brave?) enough to give me a platform to post articles on the theme of chemistry education. There are at least three posts per READ MORE

08

May

From tomorrow, 9th May, the 2014 Spring ConfChem begins. ConfChem is an online conference, and the theme of this one is “Flipped Lectures”. The conference abstract is below. Each week, two papers are discussed, and my paper “Student Engagement with READ MORE

08

May

Teaching the history of chemistry at school

The following question was part of the Leaving Cert Higher Level examination paper in 2010: There are many problems with these questions, worth 4.25% of the Higher Level paper. They are, of course, completely reliant on recall. There is no READ MORE

25

Apr

Plagiarism: Detection, Prevention, Monitoring

I attended the National Forum for Enhancement of Teaching and Learning seminar on plagiarism organised by Kevin O’Rourke at DIT’s Learning Teaching and Technology Centre. The meeting was interesting as it covered three aspects of plagiarism (in my opinion): Plagiarism READ MORE

21

Apr

So-called “Radical” education reforms

In the week of the teacher conferences, Minister Quinn’s special adviser has earned the large pay packet this morning. The Irish Times, Independent and Examiner all carry details of the changes planned for the Leaving Cert grading system. “Leaving Cert READ MORE

01

Apr

Peer Pressure

I should be convinced about peer teaching but I’m not. Educators who I respect and who advocate the benefits of peer-tutoring, Peerwise and well, general peeriness, have demonstrated improved grades where lecturers use one of a multitude of peer activities. READ MORE

03

Mar

What happens during a lecture?

A question always likely to give strong response is whether PowerPoint should be used in lectures. Those advocating its use point to a more organised lecture where the structure has been thought out in advance. Those against it say that READ MORE

24

Feb

Four Years A’Bloggin’

Four years ago this week, I imported my few posts from my old blog “Electrified Chalk“, and “Is this Going to Be on the Exam” was born. 138 139 posts later, it is still trundling along.  There have been quiet times and active READ MORE

18

Feb

Education in Wicklow: My New Book

My new book on a history of education in County Wicklow is published this week. It’s a great present for your history loving friends, múinteoirs of all ages, and the person who has everything. The book blurb is below, and READ MORE

17

Feb

How To Disagree

Sometime last year,  a comment was left on one of my articles which said that I was being simplistic and my argument was childish. It was the first and only nasty comment I got, and it took me by surprise. READ MORE

13

Feb

Under the shadow of Section 37

The saddest thing about watching the David Norris interview released by RTÉ Archives this week is that while it was broadcast before I was born, it took until I became an adult for what he was campaigning for to become READ MORE

10

Feb

Implementing the Flipped Classroom

The magazine Education in Chemistry has launched a blog, and I am a guest contributor. My first article covers the topic of Flipped Lectures, and along with the information in the post itself, some really useful tips and interesting discussion READ MORE

09

Feb

Thank You, Iona Institute #TeamPanti

When Ireland first started to tackle the issue of immigration two decades ago, there were regular letters to the editor of the Irish Times from “The Immigration Control Platform”, which were an advocacy group against immigration. Their message was simple: READ MORE

03

Feb

Removing Religious Instruction from Schools

It wasn’t meant to be this way. When the National School system was formed in 1831, the rules stated that while the bible could be read in class, no comment was allowed in class time. Any comment from Protestant or READ MORE

30

Jan

I have written to the BAI and urge you to do so too.   To the members of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, I wish to lodge a complaint over the recent apology provided by RTÉ and subsequent compensation paid READ MORE

28

Jan

Research output of Irish Institutions 1980-2009

I thought it would be interesting to compare some Irish institutions by examining their research output over the last three decades. This is first measured by number of publications, and then by considering the relevance of these citations to the READ MORE