IASSEE Annual Conference 2005

20-21 June 2005
Stranmillis University College, Belfast

The fifth annual conference of IASSEE, the Irish Association for Social, Scientific and Environmental Education, was held in Stranmillis University College, Belfast on 20th and 21st June 2005. IASSEE is a group of teacher educators working in the areas of geography, history and science education. Around ten institutions north and south are represented within the group. Many of us have a special interest in the teaching of these subjects in the primary school.

The conference had 32 delegates and speakers as well as some additional visitors.

The keynote speech was, fittingly, given by Professor Richard McMinn, Principal of the host institution, an historian and a member of the SCoTENS committee. The title of his presentation was ‘From the Tagus to the Lagan: Curriculum change in Northern Ireland in a European context’ in which he described the limited impact and visibility to date of the European Union’s Lisbon Objectives for education, but indicated the clear linkages between the Objectives and the revisions to the Northern Ireland curriculum for schools, which will be phased in from 2007-2008 onwards.

The rest of the programme on Day 1 dealt with issues such as contested societies, human rights, the interactive whiteboard, development education and creative ICT. Day 2 had a focus on Science education, reflective journals and the experiences of new teachers. The conference ended with a discussion of achievements so far and future plans for IASSEE’s ongoing research into student teachers’ perceptions of and attitudes towards the subjects of Science, History and Geography.

The conference speakers and the titles of their presentations are listed below.

Alan McCully (UU) Educational responses in a contested society

Brian Ruane (Amnesty International) Human rights education in primary schools: The Lift off Experience

Tracey Cuthbert (Braniel PS) Use of the interactive whiteboard in the primary school – a demonstration

Richard Greenwood (Stranmillis UC) A report on M.Phil research by science teacher Lynne Ellison on pupil and teacher perceptions of the use of interactive whiteborads in the teaching of Science in a Lisburn grammar school

Barbara Gill and Claire O’Neill (DICE) Workshop – Teaching about disasters – a development education perspective

Deirdre Butler (St Pat’s) Empowering Minds – creative ICT and CCTs: Science meets narrative in the digital age

John McCullagh (Stranmillis UC) An investigative approach to primary science through school-college partnership

Lisa Corrie (Year 4 Bed student, Stranmillis UC) Literacy and Science

Elaine Regan (University of Limerick) Students’ views of the science classroom experience

Geraldine O’Connor(CICE) Reflective journals and what they indicate about student learning in Science, History and Geography

Susan Pike (St Patrick’s College, Drumcondra) New teachers’ experiences in teaching primary geography