I got roped into a discussion last Friday about Behaviourism, Constructivism and Constructionism in the modern primary school classroom. The participants were a mix of CESI, PICTTIUR and “free agents” who had gathered for a demo of new affordable touchscreen in Drumcondra Education Centre. The PICTTIUR contingent were adamant they were only there to gather information and then spread the news informally in their after school “pub meetings”. The others were intrigued at the new model of in-service training. I on the other hand had met with southside group of PICTTIUR a year of so earlier and was aware of their novel non-structured meetup style dynamic.
PICTTIUR is the Gaelic word for “pictiúr” which unsurprisingly means picture but in this instance it is spelled with two Ts. The acronym stands for the group’s working title for the Primary ICT Teachers Integrating Useful Resources.
It would appear to be a face-to-face, socially based, primary teachers’ ICT support group. I asked them if they were Cyber-Luddites but they replied that they were not anti-online reactionaries but preferred to meet in a physical space. and exchange USB drives. A Virus Exchange Fest if you wish! The seemed to growing from strength to strength as I heard them being mentioned at the CESI Annual Conference last spring in Galway. Dr Dáithí Ó Murchú mentions the group at the end of his keynote address. They have made their mark.
I attended one meeting by invitation on the 12th of November 2013 in the Spawell Pub. The meeting was after school and was entirely comprised of women but not intended solely for women – I was informed later . There were about 18 – 20 in attendance, the majority of whom were new faces to me. Apparently they want to steer away from Education Centres and over-organised events. Unfortunately, despite being the only male present they were only interested in my mind. More precisely, they wanted a copy of the now defunct CESI Dublin members’ database. Needless to say I couldn’t oblige but I did provide them with as many ICT minded primary teachers I could recall at the time.
The main topic of conversation was the poor broadband service for primary schools in some south Dublin areas. Many complained about their slow and very slow websites which contained a lot of – you guessed it – pictures. Primary schools and in particular junior schools generate a lot of artwork and parents like to see their children’s work on display. It may have been a coincidence but the group’s name and political ambitions seemed to focused on lobbying for the increase in bandwidth to facilitate the online publication of pupil’s artwork.
I like the social dimension of ICT support offered by the group but the people I met seemed to think they were immune to malware and virus infiltration.