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DWEC & The Use of AI in the Irish Classroom

DWEC & The Use of AI in the Irish Classroom

Artificial intelligence (AI) and natural language processing (NLP) have revolutionised the way we interact with technology. One of the most exciting applications of AI at the moment, is in the education sector. Teachers can leverage AI tools like ChatGPT to create personalized learning experiences for their students.

Dublin West Education Centre has always positioned itself within the emerging technology space. We have a history of embracing technological advances and pride ourselves as being early adapters, especially when it comes to emerging technology that can be of benefit to schools and teachers. So naturally, with ChatGPT becoming such a topical subject, we found ourselves exploring it.

It was a natural and exciting prospect then, when we discovered Shannon Ahern through her Instagram account @craic_matamaitic. Shannon had one post in particular which addressed exploring the use of AI in her classroom. Shannon delivered two webinars for DWEC in the Spring term 2023 on ‘Making Learning Fun with Artificial Intelligence & ChatGPT’ which both booked out. The interest out there amongst educators is vast and through Shannon’s webinars, we have been able to support teachers to better understand this emerging technology, both in terms of what its capabilities are and what its potential is as a classroom resource.

Such has been the demand for Shannon’s expertise, we are delighted to announce that DWEC have scheduled more webinars with her this Autumn 2023, which are available to book through our website (booking links below!)

ChatGPT for Teachers - A Beginners Guide ChatGPT for Teachers - A Beginners Guide

September 25th

Book your place here!
(C ) ChatGPT for Post Primary Maths Teachers - Planning edition (C ) ChatGPT for Post Primary Maths Teachers - Planning edition

October 5th

Book your place here!
ChatGPT for Post Primary Maths Teachers - Resource Creation Edition ChatGPT for Post Primary Maths Teachers - Resource Creation Edition

October 17th

Book your place here!
ChatGPT for Science Teachers - Science Week Edition ChatGPT for Science Teachers - Science Week Edition

November 7th

Book your place here!
ChatGPT for Teachers - Advanced ChatGPT for Teachers - Advanced

November 14th

Book your place here!

Don’t just take our word for it! Join one of her webinars and experience her exciting take on the use of AI tools such as ChatGPT, as a classroom resource. Having attended her webinars ourselves, we can’t recommend them highly enough. We advise registering your place quickly though, as places are booking out fast. Book your place today via

Please keep an eye on our website and all of our social media channels (detailed below) for more information. Feel free also to reach out with any queries and/or suggestions to Zita This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or via our social media channels. We love hearing from you!

*This article may or may not have used ChatGPT as a co-author*

A Word on the Practical Use of AI in the Classroom with DWEC Facilitator, Shannon Ahern

The increasing prevalence of artificial intelligence (AI) around the globe has brought both opportunities and challenges within the field of education. Although concerns surrounding the ease of academic dishonesty have been raised, educators should not overlook the immense potential AI offers. 

As teachers, we often dedicate much of our time and energy to our students in the classroom, leaving little in reserve for planning and preparation in the evenings. Of course, thorough planning, particularly in subjects such as maths, can be the difference between completing the curriculum by June or falling short. AI can significantly reduce the administrative load associated with teaching, and can subsequently increase the quality of the planning produced. From the scheme of work to the end of module assessments, AI has helped me to produce a higher calibre of work in a fraction of the time. 

AI has also allowed me to create resources I previously would only have dreamed of. Recently, I used ChatGPT to generate HTML for a science revision game, despite having minimal experience with the language. AI enabled me to create exactly what I wanted for my website in seconds, a feat which otherwise would have required extensive hours of research on my part. 

While there are legitimate concerns that students may exploit AI to produce CBAs and Project Work, there is equal potential for them to employ it as a personal, private tutor. If used appropriately, AI can offer students the individualised instruction they deserve, which is often unattainable in larger class settings. In my opinion we need to be doing more to educate students about AI, and instil in them a sense of responsibility when using this technology. By teaching them to harness AI's potential ethically and effectively, we can unlock a wealth of opportunities for personalised learning and academic growth.

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DWEC Podcast: Teachers Themselves

An Original Podcast for Educators

"Teachers Themselves" is an engaging podcast designed specifically for educators in Ireland, and beyond. The first episode went live on September 4th 2023. Season 2 is now available wherever you find your podcasts!

Whether you're a seasoned teacher looking to enhance your teaching practices, or a new educator seeking guidance and inspiration, "Teachers Themselves" provides a platform for professional growth and fosters a community of like-minded educators. Join us as we explore the art and science of teaching, inspire each other, and shape the future of education, one episode at a time.

Hosted by DWESC Director, Ultan Mac Mathúna, and featuring insightful guest speakers, all educators themselves, this podcast offers conversational episodes focused on sharing teaching experiences, exploring the latest trends in education, and fostering a community of passionate educators.

Tune in to "Teachers Themselves" and unlock your full potential as an educator. Together, let's empower ourselves and our students for the challenges and opportunities of tomorrow. Your journey towards excellence starts here.

Teachers Themselves is a DWEC original, produced and created by Dublin West Education Centre and produced by Zita Robinson.

“No written word, no spoken plea, can teach our youth what they should be, nor all the books on all the shelves,

it’s what the teachers are themselves.” John Wooden

Season One Guests

Patrick Kirwan

Patrick Kirwan founded the Irish Schools Sustainability Network in March 2021. The network has run a series of national initiatives including the Climate and Nature Summit, 5 Minutes of Sustainability, and Bitesize Biodiversity. Patrick is now running place-based training for teachers on climate and nature education in Ardscoil na Mara, Tramore, Co. Waterford where he teaches.

Fiona Forman

Fiona Forman is an author, speaker, facilitator and trainer in the area of well-being and Positive Psychology in education and parenting. She holds an M.Sc. in Applied Positive Psychology (the science of well-being) from the University of East London. Having spent many years as a primary teacher, she is passionate about placing well-being at the heart of education, and she has seen first-hand the benefits that this brings to the entire school community.
Fiona is the co-author of Weaving Well-Being, an SPHE programme which is now in use in the majority of primary schools in Ireland. She is the author of the Welcome to Well-Being & Wired for Well-Being programmes, which are also widely used. Fiona is also the parent of 2 young adults, which has deepened her awareness of the need to equip and empower young people with the skills they need in order to build resilience and flourish and thrive in life.

Shannon Ahern

Shannon Ahern is an enthusiastic and dedicated educator specialising in mathematics and science at St. Declan's College in Cabra. With a passion for STEM education, Shannon is committed to transforming the learning experience for learners. Her zeal for mathematics is particularly noteworthy, as she believes in making maths not just educational, but also engaging and enjoyable for both learners and educators alike.
Recognising the power of social media in modern education, Shannon established an Instagram account, Craic Matamaitic (@craic_matamaitic), as a platform to connect with fellow maths teachers. Through this vibrant online community, she shares an array of innovative ideas, practical tips, and valuable resources aimed at making mathematics education more dynamic and fun without the added stress for teachers!
In November 2022, Shannon's creative journey took an exciting turn when she discovered ChatGPT. She quickly realised that ChatGPT was the ultimate tool she needed to enhance her creativity and develop her engaging resources in even less time. ChatGPT, proved to be an invaluable asset in Shannon's toolbox, enabling her to create lessons that not only play to students' interests but pique students' interest and make them curious to learn.

Mary McKenna

Primary teacher since graduation in 1982. Set up Ireland's first Autism Early Intervention class in 1999. Other roles include:
Early Years Autism Consultant at the Children’s Clinic, Sandycove, providing post-diagnostic support to young children and their families.
Consultant and lecturer with Special Educational Needs (SEN) programmes in Irish universities. These include Trinity College Dublin, University College Dublin, Dublin City University, Froebel College of Education, Maynooth, and St Angela’s College of Education, Sligo.
Regular delivery of online and in-person courses in Dublin West Education Centre (DWEC) and Marino Institute of Education. These include ‘Teaching Autistic Children: Where to Start; What to Prioritise; How to Thrive’, and ‘Understanding Autism: Supporting the Child and the Teacher’
Lecturer and part of the national Autism team for National Council for Special Education (NCSE) since 2010. Duties included providing in-school support to teachers of autistic students, and ongoing delivery of a full-day seminar, ‘Teaching Young Autistic Children’.

Magdalena Landziak

Magdalena works as a Special Needs Assistant in a primary school in Co. Limerick for over 7 years supporting children with additional needs. She is an Editor and Publisher of AMYGDALA – the First National Magazine for SNAs. She created this magazine to support and empower SNAs. She has a deep understanding of the unique challenges that special needs assistants face, and through the magazine she makes sure that the SNAs have the tools they need to serve those who depend on them. The monthly publication is dedicated to providing the latest information, resources and strategies in the field in special education. Magdalena graduated from UCD finishing the National Training Programme for SNAs receiving a Certificate in Inclusive School Support. She has a teaching background from Poland. She is running an Instagram page called @sna_zone where she provides helpful information for fellow SNAs and parents, advocating for autism and other disabilities. She was delivering webinars through Tralee Education Centre and Le Chéila Online Learning and Dublin West Education CentreArea. Recently she started her Masters in Inclusive Education and SEN.

John Williams

Chairperson Dublin West Education Committee. Former Principal Divine Word NS. Executive member of Nordic Principals Forum(NOFO). Former National Council member of IPPN. Independent Assessor for Dublin Diocese interview panels. Webinar designer for INTO on job applications and applying for In School Management positions.