My ‘walking the talk’ moment on our environment

Litter Outlives You by Velvet Elevator (2009), Flickr

Having lived for years in African countries and loving the wonderful sunny climates there, I became very negative towards Ireland’s natural environment and was very cynical and irritated when people would constantly comment about how ‘green’ Ireland is. Of course it is – it’s always raining.

The opportunities for glimpsing the sun are rare.

However, I have recently come to realise that I have never fully appreciated the many wonderful opportunities that we have in Ireland to experience our natural environment, despite the weather.  The country really is beautiful and there are a multitude of places to visit, things to see and experience – that often cost us nothing.


Cartoon: on affluence and the environment

No shortage of future innovators in science for development at Young Scientist Exhibition

Future engineers, scientists and researchers are in no short supply of creative solutions to the challenges of global poverty, reports Patsy Toland from this year’s Young Scientist Exhibition in Dublin.

Eight years ago, when the notion of Development and the Third World first made its appearance at the Young Scientists Exhibition, I was working for Self Help Africa’s secondary schools Development Education programme where we faced two main challenges:

  1. Where could we meet a lot of dedicated teachers and students who were willing to give their time and expertise to the issues facing the developing world?
  2. How could we get people to realize that many of the solutions to the issues facing the poor of the World needed research, development and innovation – not just fund-raising?

So of course I ended up at the Young Scientists Exhibition to find out – with literature about many issues that young people could tackle as part of the event!


Update: The Irish development education resources audit and IDEA’s new campaign

Happy New Year to our readers (teachers, students, newbies and veterans)!

For those out there who have been wondering why we’ve been laying low these past few months you will be interested to know that we’ve been hard at work on a research project seeking to audit development education resources produced in Ireland from 2000-2012.

The findings of the audit will be published in February which you can sign up to for the news and links to the online version at and find out more information about the terms of reference for it. For those who enjoy their research reports of course!

New publications will also be added to the resources catalogue once the audit is done so keep sending them in to us and we’ll be placing them online in the coming months.

In other news, IDEA (the Irish Development Education Association) has been running a public awareness campaign called What is Development Education? since last October that’s worth checking out. You can join the discussion on the campaign Facebook page, on Twitter @whatisdeved  or #whatisdeved and see their video below.

The possibilities for teaching global development are endless: a primary school teacher’s reflection

Francesca Hunt reports on using virtual technologies as a teaching tool for exploring world development issues with her primary school class.

Screenshot of pupils filling in ‘forest info’ boxes

It is not unusual to observe a 5 year old using their parent’s smart phone to play games, take photos and videos. Neither is it unusual to find a 5 year old navigating a laptop, desktop, tablet or an interactive whiteboard.

If this is what a 5 year old is capable of then what can we expect from senior primary school students and how can we advance their technical proficiency through education?

This is where development education comes in and formed the basis of my technology and learning master’s dissertation in early 2012. (more…)