The Jennifer Burke Award for Innovation in Teaching and Learning
is awarded annually by the Irish Learning Technology Association (ILTA)
and Dublin City University (DCU)
. The award, presented for the first time in 2009, is made in memory of Jennifer Burke, a well known teaching and learning innovator and a highly regarded friend of the Irish Learning Technology community who sadly passed away in 2007. In addition to her significant contributions to the Irish and international learning technology communities, Jennifer was instrumental to the establishment of ILTA. The award recognises and reward innovative practice in teaching and learning in Ireland, and in particular reflects and remembers Jenn’s vibrancy, creativity, energy and passion for learning.
In the first phase of this year’s competition entrants were asked submit a nomination for an ‘innovative idea’ that has been used to support learning effectively. Applicants were also encouraged to be innovative and creative in the way that they submitted their nominations. Over 20 nominations from across the Irish educational sectors were received in numerous formats, including many multimedia submissions, a blog, video submissions and even a submission in the form of a cartoon strip. It was with great difficulty that that the award panel narrowed down these initial 20 submissions to the 6 finalists
On 11th May 2009 finalists were invited to participate in an event inspired by the television series ‘Dragon’s Den’, which took place in the Helix Theatre. Finalists has the opportunity to ‘pitch’ their innovation to the ‘Dragons’ who subsequently quizzed them on their innovations. The panel comprised: Bobby Kerr CEO of Insomnia and one of the Dragons from the Radio Telefís Éireann (RTÉ) series Dragon's Den; Eugene O'Loughlin, representing ILTA; Kate Guy of The Regional Support Centre of Northern Ireland; and Jenn’s partner Adam McAuley from DCU.
Figure 1: The 'Dragons'
After much deliberation the panel decided to present the inaugural award to the Trinity College Dublin (TCD) Bridge to College (b2c) initiative, submitted by John Lawler, Claire Conneely and Brendan Tangney on behalf of the b2c team. This initiative aims to provide students from disadvantaged secondary schools with an innovative learning experience facilitated via technology. The programme is designed to engage young people in creative, technology-mediated projects, mentored by volunteer third level students. Further information on the b2c initiative is available at www.suas.ie/b2c.html.
John Lawler and project participants accepted the award at the Irish Educational Technology Users' Conference in the National College of Ireland on 22nd May. Jenn’s partner, Dr Adam McAuley of DCU presented the winners with two pieces of specially commissioned artwork created by Majella O'Neill Collins of Sherkin Island, Co. Cork which will be situated in the award winner’s institution for the forthcoming year.
Figure 2: John Lawler, Claire Conneely and B2B participants Graham Lawlor and Keith Saul
Further information on the award is available at www.jenniferburkeaward.ie/.
Dublin City University
Dublin Institute of Technology