Age of Exploration

This is a series of definitions for the navigation for the Age of Exploration section.

Mr. Courtney                                                                                                                                                   4/9/2014

Age of Exploration

Advances in Travel

  • Maps
  • At the beginning of the fifteenth century, cartographers (people who drew maps) produced more detailed maps of Europe and the known world.
  • The Portuguese used maps called portolan (which means harbour finding) maps which were very detailed about the coastline.
  • Navigation
  • Sailors used compasses to show the direction in which they were sailing.
  • Sailors began to work out their latitude (their distance north or south of the equator) using instruments called quadrants and astrolabes. Both instruments measured the height of the sun or the north star above the horizon.
  • The speed of a ship was measured using the log and line. A sailor threw a piece of wood (log) into the sea from the back of the boat. This was attached to a reel of knotted rope (line). The amount of rope that was pulled by the wood in one minute was then measured.
  • Life on the ship
  • Life at sea was tough. Ships could end up hundreds of miles off course, especially in seas that had never been mapped. Shipwrecks due to storms or crashing into rocks were common. Biscuits called hardtack were commonly eaten. Other food sailors ate included cheese, onions, dried beans, and salted fish or recently caught fish.
  • This poor diet meant that the crews regularly suffered from diseases such as typhoid (from bad water) and scurvy (from a lack of vitamin C).
  • Sailors often found themselves attacked by hostile natives.

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Drugs and Alcohol. SPHE / RE topics

A very important aspect to education is warning signs for the variety of drugs available to the genera public and allow them to understand the key distinctions between the different types and overall understand that a drug is simply any substance other than food which changes the way the body or mind functions.

Recently I started the module with my third years about the dangers of using drugs and alcohol irresponsibly. So far the students have co-operated well with the module and have asked a lot of questions contributed greatly to the lessons. I found that there was a colossal amount of resources on this topic so it made lesson planning very easy in comparison to some other social topics.

One Power point I  found was on the various drugs types and the category each one falls under. However, as I always say, a PowerPoint is only as good as the teacher who is using it. To begin the series of lesson,s start with the lesson of what is a drug?


Secondly, inform them of what qualifies as a drug, e.g. caffeine, and what it is categorized under;

Carry on the lesson appropriately that suits you class understanding and ability. Have the pupils read from slides and incorporate higher and lower order questions and using a variety of methodologies that permits students participation and discussion.

The various PowerPoint and worksheets on resources websites like, are so effective and once examined properly they can be incorporated into the lesson effectively. Drugs and alcohol is of course an important and arguably difficult topic to teach especially since the frequent things that adolescents are exposed to in modern society. So like many social topics, you have to teach it from an outside perspective, not judging those who have or have not taken any form of drug that effect their body whether it is for medical or recreational purposes and of course making no presumptions or putting any pressure on students in the class. A ‘Say no to drugs’ rant maybe very irrational, but instead ensure it is an illustration of their effects and how the consequences can be dangerous. Know the difference between informing and lecturing.

In addition to the PowerPoint, there is a documentary you can show parts of at the end of each lesson that is perfectly divided to allow you to show different parts on different lessons. The documentary : What drugs do in your body,  illustrates what several different drugs effects drugs have on the body and the mind. The documentary is just over 40 minutes but shows how intoxicated people react to the different everyday and emergency situations under the influence of narcotics. If you divide the video to 3 lessons based on the 3 scenarios that take place in the video.The documentary is engaging in many ways as it shows how people react to under the influence and while they are sober. The idea is not to put a shock value for the pupils but to provide them with the heads up as to what is out there and whats ahead of them.

Assessment can be tricky with this section. The topic is an important but not a mandatory lesson for the Junior or Leaving certificate. This is ideal, as the lessons should not require a need for examination. However, if in an exam subject it still has its benefits, for religious education it can be used to illustrate the choices in morality and ideally can used as an example of respecting yourself and moral codes. For S.P.H.E. its very relevant for obvious reasons, drugs are very relative to peer pressure, a common issue for teens. It is also appropriate for seniors under social ed or non-exam RE as maturity is important. Avoid the topic with first years and second years as instead the maturity of the topic requires the pupils to be more aware about the world and themselves.

The topic can cross over with science and P.E. for effects of drugs on the body and even C.S.P.E. with importance of raising awareness of the dangerous impact abusing drugs can have on both the users and those around them. It is an important topic to inform the pupils on this area and although not a polite area to teach, holds a lot of necessity for their social and mental development throughout their school days. Most importantly from, it appropriately incorporates the key skills of the NCCA. Communication through class discussion, managing information through breaking down the types of drugs, critical thinking for the striking factors that are raised, working with others for pair discussion etc.

Its an important and mature topic, Don’t be afraid to answer controversial questions or listen to students inputs. However, for any inappropriate comments from students you may have, promote a disclaimer prior to beginning the lessons. Inform the pupils that their opinions can be respected as long as they are appropriate and do not offend any other pupil in the classroom. If pupils do not co-operate maybe disallow them from contributing in discussions. You do not know what issues students sitting in front have that may relate to drink or drugs. Again don’t let this put you off, but ensure respect is maintained from your part too. Remind the students that if they feel uncomfortable in any shape or form about the class they are welcome to address it privately afterwards, and in case you are worried the students are too shy to say talk about their concern, the post it method for class reflection works wonders. It can provide yourself with a decent reflection on how the lesson went and realize if there is any concerns from the students.


#5j16, #alcohol, #classroom-ideas, #communication, #discussion, #drugs, #edchatie, #education, #key-skills, #reflection, #religious-education, #teaching-resources-2

Returning to blogging

I have not received the opportunity to blog as of late and today makes my official return to WordPress. Coming up to the Christmas break was hectic with masters work, school work and home work so I decided to take a well earned break from any form of work.

Returning to school after a well earned Christmas break has opened new challenges. Now being within the time period of my teaching placements over the past three years I am curious to see how the next few weeks differ to my placements especially since I am currently mentoring a Mater Dei student in for their respective four week placement.

Either way, I will keep this blog short and encourage all NQTs to set themselves some goals for school, personal life and a progression goal, something that may not be achieved this year but something that will start or develop as we go.

TO CONCLUDE:: I will finally get around to my top 5 blog posts.

Honorable Mention: Memes in the Classroom.

5. First Blog post. Being generic but it was a good and significant start to a new chapter in my life as I embarked on two journeys at the same time.

4. The Apprentice / The Historian: The blog I did talking about my idea for constructing a history module for TY based on the TV show the Apprentice where

3.  PodOmatic in the Classroom: This blog was an assignment where we had to research a Web 2.0 tool for the classroom and I decided to use PodOmatic because I intend to use podcasting with my debating team in the coming weeks to help them with their communication skills while using technology.

2. Horizon Report on low ICT competence: I enjoyed this blog surprisingly because it was a interesting read that reflected on the importance and necessity of introducing ICT and why we need to ensure the pupils have the abilities to survive in the forever-changing ICT based society. It also highlights the importance of the key skills such as communication need to be encouraged.

  1. My favourite blog post of the year?
    Belief and Values: This blog showed how using modern day television shows, video games or any modern trend as a teaching resource. It illustrates that any topic can be taught and we can relate anything back to student understanding if we think hard enough.

#5j16, #communication, #edchatie, #education, #key-skills, #reflection, #teaching-resources-2

Advantages and Disadvantages of Servant Leadership

From my own research there is a variety of advantages of the servant leader in a classroom setting. I decided to write this blog in response to my work for my MA in digital Pedagogy. One main module was on Mentoring and Leadership and this is my response to Robert Greenleaf’s understanding of servant leadership followed by my own philosophy on leadership. This is important in relation to promoting our understanding of our own communication and social skills which need to be passed onto our students. 

Advantages of Servant Leadership

‘While servant leadership is a timeless concept, the phrase “servant leadership” was coined by Robert K. Greenleaf in The Servant as Leader, an essay that he first published in 1970.’

  1. It requires a lot of work. It is not to be mistaken with a free reign style leader who chooses to allow the servants to run their own show. The Servant leader represents the delegate better. Providing the work for the people, instructing them and working with them to ensure they achieve their ultimate goal. The delegate style certainly differs to that of the authoritarian leader who illustrates complete control and instructs the servants as what to do without question or hesitation.’
  2. We are working for the people, and therefore me must ensure that the people receive the best service possible and in the case of teaching, the pupils will be equipped with the ability and confidence to guide them through their future endeavours. ‘The difference manifests itself in the care taken by the servant-first to make sure that other people’s highest priority needs are being served.’

iii. From the teacher’s perspective in the Australian interpretation of Greenleaf. The teacher saw the great benefit for the students in the long run. It encourages them to think for themselves and it sees the teacher providing the student with the tools for the future as it encourages them to keep focused and encourage their confidence and understanding of the future.

Examining the idea of servant leadership on the web, it is apparently becoming one of the fastest growing trends in modern management.  It is described as being the best for other folk. A servant-leader focuses primarily on the growth and well-being of people and the communities to which they belong. With that being said, the advantages are certainly evident from numerous reports. however its disadvantages illustrate a different perspective on the concept of servant leadership. Chris Edmunds described servant leadership as ‘I define servant leadership as a person’s dedication to helping others be their best selves at home, work, and in their community. Anyone can serve–and lead–from any position or role in a family, workplace, or community.’

Disadvantages of Servant Leadership

From my research of Servant Leadership I saw many flaws involved in the concept too.

  1. The first main issue we can see from the servant leader is the excessive amount of work required for creating the lesson and the lack of progress actually made on the course material. We can see from the perspective of the students in the two different perspectives in the Australian report of Greenleaf that although pupils get deeper understanding of certain topic, it takes up a lot more time and the process is incredibly slower and
  2. Time consumption, with the excessive work for both the leader and servant what is left afterwards is questionable. It is not a one man job, nor a two man job, instead it requires the dedication of all of the communities members in order to be a success.

iii. The idea of the servant leader seems difficult to adopt in an already established community. Having it replace the already in place order would be the most difficult concept. In order to introduce the servant leadership into a classroom or any walk of life it would require to demolish the previous setting and setting up a completely new one altogether in order to run with any success. Changing methods halfway through a already established system can cause confusion and disarray. Ergo the best way to install a new method of servant leadership judging from the Australian report would be start from the ground up.  

iii. For a business environment, it involves the manager providing the work to the employees with all of the work and the manager working as part of the support team, by doing research, running errands and getting supplies. This may result in demotivation for a variety of reasons. First off if the manager is providing support instead of illustrating what needs to be done surely meeting deadlines because far more difficult and pretty much means the leader is absent. In the popular TV show the Apprentice, there is a project manager assigned in order to distribute the job and after watching the show, if the manager worked as a supporter instead the work would take far longer to complete because it would lack initial direction.

My own Philosophy on Leadership:

I thought long and hard on what exactly my own philosophies on leadership are. After much self debate I came to very simple concepts on what a leader needs to be. I can further argue that not all positions of leaders require the same attitude, but instead different positions require different approaches. In reality leadership is the same word, the level responsibility may differ, the ultimate task remains the same.

Key Leaders – Inspirations

Martin Luther King is one of the greatest leaders of the 20th century. He at a time where America was strongly speaking out against communism and their treatment of East Berlin. King in response challenged the US segregation laws most notably found in the south in states such as Alabama. King, spoke out against this injustice in a non violent way. He contained many features which made him a good leader including motivation, organisation and above all else, hard working. King represents an ideal leader, a leader that many people can aspire to be whether it was because of his ability to rally people or his overall dedication to his cause.

Hard work, the most basic, yet most vital trait of a leader in my opinion. I often find that those who command the most respect not only by the people being led, but also by peers and superiors. Hard work is what gets us to where we want to go. It enables us to achieve our goals and succeed in our endeavours. The vitality of which has driven me to become the teacher that I am. Most pupils will always appreciate the hard work and dedication that a teacher will put in because they know it is for their best interests at heart.

Many leaders over the centuries mostly have  one underlining common trait and that is their hard work and dedication to their belief, regardless of the kind of leader they turned out to be. Having said that, people do not walk into the position they work for. I personally do not believe that people are born leaders. To some the concept of being a leader may be easier for them than it is for others, however, if we feel a necessity or a drive we are capable of achieving our goals as a leader if our vision is realistic and appropriate for the society or group that we lead.

A leader must think and feel emotions of the people they are leading and ensure they achieve the goals of both themselves and they people they lead. People can accomplish much when inspired by a purpose beyond themselves and that is exactly what we can see from key figures throughout history.


A good communicator; this trait is of vital importance for a leader. What work can be done without communication? What work can be done without a leader. This involves many things including an ability to both speak and using proper phraseology in order to ensure. It is vital to not only get across our point to the people we work for or who work for us but also for enabling ourselves to listen and understand the goals of those working with us. Being a good communicator is all about development and experience, it is something comes over time. No one is born a communicator and as J.K. Rowling once said, ‘the moment you are old enough to take the wheel, responsibility lies with you.’ Communication illustrates the will to cooperate and share and are the main characteristics of a community.

The Delegator has to realise that, in the words of Ronald Reagan, a leader is only as good as the people he serves. The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things.’ We need to ensure that the people we are working for or with achieve their goals and furthermore enable us to achieve our own through our role as the leader. The reason I chose this quote because it really falls back on my own philosophy that the world is a reflection of you

To conclude, the definition of leadership is the action of leading a group of people or an organization, or the ability to do this. We gain an insight on our own world by observing and focusing what goes on around you. A leader can be anyone, size doesn’t matter, appearance does not matter. What does matter is having a will and determination to ensure that the greater good is achieved for all and not just one.

The Leader’s work is never done as long as they are in that role, because to paraphrase, we can please all of the people some of the time, some of the people all of the time but we can’t please all of the people all of the time.


Works Cited

Greenleaf, Robert K. Servant Leadership: A Journey into the Nature of Legitimate Power and Greatness. New York: Paulist, 1977. Print.

Greenleaf, Robert K. The Servant as Leader. Indianapolis, IN: Robert K. Greenleaf Center, 1991. Print.

“Leadership Practices That Directly Influence Teachers’ Emotions.” The Edvocate. Web. 20 Dec. 2015.

Scharen, Roger Wayne. Leadership for the Local Church: Or, What Is Servant Leadership? 1999. Print.

#5j16, #communication, #edchatie, #education, #key-skills, #leadership, #mentoring, #reflection, #roles, #teaching-resources-2

Horizon Report: Low ICT Competence

From the report we can see that Low ICT competence is a solvable issue but it must be dealt with head on and it is not something that students will gain naturally overtime.

While many European countries have established digital competence programmes for students in the past decade, there is a continuing need to update learning outcomes and objectives to adapt to the current technological terrain.

Despite high availability to technology in both schools and in day to day life in general, there is still a concern from the EU regarding ICT skill levels amongst students in Europe.

According to the Horizon report by 2020 that 90% of jobs will require a competent use of ICT. Three key initiatives have been identified as strategies to improve digital competence: encourage teachers and educational institutions to test innovative digital approaches; ensure open access to educational materials; and improve the digital infrastructures of Solvable Challenge 27 schools. Support for these initiatives will come from the new programmes Erasmus+95 and Horizon 2020,96 as well as through the European Social Fund.97 The EU-funded project iTEC investigates how established and emerging technologies can be used effectively in classrooms over the next several years.98 As part of the initiative, the ORT School in Milan will implement iTEC’s “Design of the Future Classroom” model.

How do we promote these concepts? Not forced but encouraged, setting aside certain task for ICT labs such as typing up reports or reviews. Researching websites for particular information

The article redirects us to numerous different ideas we can use for promoting ICT competency including DITY and videos providing ideas for literacy.

There is no denying that ICT literacy levels will need to improve in the next few years and further expanding our own usage of the tools is the best way to educate those we teach.

#5j16, #communication, #edchatie, #education, #ict, #key-skills, #teaching-resources-2

Using PodOmatic for Key Skills

One Web 2.0 tool I decided to examine was PodOmatic. Podcasts have become very big in the past few years. They are very similar to the concept of blogs with the key distinction that podcasts  have you record a video or voice recording of your topic which you can upload for the world to see.

PodOmatic works very like WordPress in the sense it is a place to create a podcasting profile platform to upload and to share across the world. I examined the site and I will divide this blog simply into two paragraphs; Positives from what I saw and Negatives!

It shares the same basics as other social media sites with professional accounts such as WordPress and Twitter with abilities to follow others and listen to what they have to say about their respective topic.


The concept of podcasting is something that I think would work incredibly well in a classroom. Presuming the pupils would have the tools and permission to take part in a pod casting task, it would have a tremendous benefit to improve key communication skills for the speech, conversation or interview it would entail. I mentioned in a previous blog that communication skills can be greatly enhance through technology however I did not discount the benefits of practical methods such as debating and interviews. However podcasting would promote practical and technological methods of developing communication skills. Killing two birds with one stone, not only would pupils get the experience of speaking and feeling confident in their opinions, podcasts would allow not only teacher feedback and the odd peer feedback, but also self feedback. The pupils would be able to see and listen for themselves of what they are doing right and work on areas to improve and also a way to reflect on their opinions and see what interest it may gain on the web if they please.

PodOmatic does appear to be a great podcast equivalent to WordPress as a professional way to share podcasts worldwide and is recommended on several sites examining the emergence of several convenient and standout online tools that have revolutionised not only the workplace but the world.

Your profile looks similar to that of twitter and WordPress with trending podcasts and a news feed detailing your own. If you are interested in podcasting it seems like a good way to podcast and get your message out their.


There a gazillion ways for teachers to be incredibly creative with this podcast. I myself am currently examining how it could be incorporated into my TY modules, the Historian. It would be good to way to create a spin off project of the students accounting about their work on the project or even set up their own Podcasts episodes with the students eliminated in the competition. The ways the podcasting could improve teamwork with peer interviews and joint research podcasts.


A main criticism? Well the criticisms are more or less the same as my positives except flipped. It has the same potentials and issues that WordPress have in the sense it is the popular podcast sharing site and is for the professional or more so frequent blogger or in this case poders.

We would still need to do our own recording as the site does not appear to provide recording materials. However, I suppose I don’t see how it could provide these tools. It does have expensive upgrades. Initially free, to upgrade the prices do go up into the hundreds and it would cost to money to a school to receive its full benefits.

It doesn’t appear to have specific user levels (unless I’m wrong and if so I should reconsider my examination of Low Digital Competence). Having said all of this PodOmatic is certainly a tool I am going to further examine in addition to WordPress as effective technological teaching tools that will further promote key skills  for the Junior Certificate such as Creativity, Teamwork and especially communication.

The following is an instruction on how to upload podcasts on PodOmatic detailed by on Blogger.

How do I use PodOmatic?
Below, I will show you the steps of using PodOmatic.
This is your dashboard. This website is very easy to navigate, so it’s easy for all students to understand.

PodOmatic walks you through step by step. At the top of your page, it’ll show you which step you are on as it is highlighted BLUE.

Step 1: Write a title and description for your podcast.

Step 2: Select an audio or video clip. You may also elect to skip this step.

Step 3: Select a photo. You may also skip this step, too, if you would like.

Step 4: Tag your podcast. This allows for search processes to be easier. Also, choose the search filtering that you would like on your video. This makes it easier to find, too!

Step 5: Publish your episode. After this step, you can then promote it if you would like BUT this costs a fee to do.

How can I use PodOmatic in my classroom?
Below is a list of ways that this tool can be utilized in the classroom:
-Use for book talks
-In an art classroom, use for critiques
-Use for “meet the author” productions
-Use for recording information for science logs
-Word of the day or week podcast presentations
-Summarize a story in 30 seconds using the podcasts
-Use for interviewing those in the community projects
-Presentation on oneself to allow others to ‘get to know’ you
-Create different voiced trailers for books that have been read
-Allow students to show their understanding of a topic in the classroom
-Use for identifying how to find good websites using your students’ voices
-Create a voiceover about a science project showcasing the scientific process
-Use for literature circles when discussing books that might be difficult to understand
-Use as a teaser of what the days events will hold – specific subjects you’re going to go over
-Vocabulary words – describe the word, definition, how you could use it, part of speech, etc.
Honestly, the possibilities are ENDLESS.

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TEFL Resources

One subject that I don’t nearly blog enough about is my TEFL subject. I started working with EF over the summer of 2015 and even though I had previously applied for activity leader, I was out of nowhere given an opportunity to work as an English teacher because of my qualification. I loved working with the students of EF. The company provided fresh challenges for my teaching and I thought I really got the opportunity to try new teaching methodologies and got to enjoy teaching without the pressure of an exam. My pupils were brilliant and for most of them I developed a brilliant bond with and they gave me such pride in my job.


One great benefit of teaching English as a Foreign Language was that almost any task I set would be a appropriate and beneficial as long as it involved the pupils speaking English and therefore it was beneficial. Showing videos with or without English subtitles was brilliant and any sort of class game such as Stop the Bus, (handy for their vocab translations) Money in the Bank (Similar to my previous blog on pupils creating their own character with set limits and money) Adam (convenient for the pupils to decipher numbers in English).

TEFL is not just about improving pupils grammar. However it is still important, TEFL Cambridge offers fantastic ebooks that can be used in the classroom to help the pupils get a better understanding of some of the complexities of the English language.

However my main skill in TEFL was improving the pupils confidence in speaking English. One of the biggest barriers pupils encounter is language appropriateness. I learned while studying TEFL Cambridge that students may sometimes know the vocab to ask a question such as where is the bathroom can pose some difficulties. Knowing the words is one thing, but confidence in sing them is the true struggle because the pupils have not grasped an accent on the language and therefore the majority of their statements almost come across as rude because they have yet to grasp control on the accent, which means they cannot communicate with emphasis on questions and statements, instead every sentence, statement or question would have the same tone in the pupils statement. Ergo, having students not only making prepared speeches and shows are important, but also improvisational activities such as debating and 20 questions. Creating talk shows and spontaneous improvisational comedy sketches are great benefits for pupils to build their confidence and their fluidity with their use of the language in day to day conversation. Personally I feel that teaching pupils from grammar first is only effective for written work. The best way to adopt a new language is to jump into the deep end. Learning to speak a language is far more important that learning to write the language in order for pupils to further develop their communication skills.

Two famous wrestlers of the WWE and Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn hail from Montreal Canada, where French is the first language. When wens first attempted to break out on the American wrestling scene he had little to no English. Now, he is one of the best promo cutters in the wrestling industry and as of this blog post is the current Intercontinental champion and is one of the fastest rising rising stars because of his ability to communicate, whether it is praising or riling up wrestling fans. His English is more than perfect and he clear illustrates how anyone can learn a language and shows that if anybody works hard enough they can both learn and master a new language. Swiss wrestler, Cesaro, can speak 5 different languages and illustrates his grasp on the language on a regular basis.


There are thousands of great resources to allow pupils to learn the targeted language effectively. One tremendous example is the Duo Lingo App. If I had this app when I was studying leaving Certificate French I reckon things would have been very different for my results in my initial leaving cert. The app is brilliant, I am currently using it for my Hungarian student and sometimes him spending 20 minutes on the app is more effective than some of my lessons with him.


According to Wiki:

Duolingo is a free language-learning platform that includes a language-learning website and app along with a crowdsourced text translation platform and a language proficiency assessment centre. Duolingo is ad-free and offers all its language courses free of charge. The language-learning website and app offer over 40 different language courses across 23 languages. The app is available on iOS, Android and Windows 8 and 10 platforms with over 100 million registered users across the world.


I would recommend anyone to take on TEFL. It is great for the CV and will provide opportunities to travel in the future.

#5j16, #class-activities, #communication-skills, #duolingo, #edchatie, #education, #english, #foreign, #key-skills, #languages, #spontaneity, #teaching, #teaching-resources-2, #tefl, #wwe