2021 Summer Festival of Education with UCD Innovation Academy Online

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Education practitioners, leaders, parents and policy makers come together to explore 'Education Reimagined' in a lively virtual festival.

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Welcome to our Summer Festival of Education 2021 @ UCD Innovation Academy

What does the future of education look like?

Covid19 has changed the way we teach and learn. The pandemic has taught us that change is possible. So is now the time to change what we know is not working? Is this going to change for the better or for the worse?

The Festival brings together practitioners, leaders, policy makers, parents and students to explore, discuss and experience - 'Reimagining Education' - in a relaxed, fun, informal environment.


Interview with Andreas Schleicher, Director for Education and Skills and Special Advisor on Education Policy to the Secretary General of the OECD

Andreas Schleicher is Director for Education and Skills, and Special Advisor on Education Policy to the Secretary-General at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in Paris.

He initiated and oversees the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and other international instruments that have created a global platform for policy-makers, researchers and educators across nations and cultures to innovate and transform educational policies and practices.

He has worked for over 20 years with ministers and education leaders around the world to improve quality and equity in education. Former U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said that Schleicher “understands the global issues and challenges as well as or better than anyone I’ve met, and he tells me the truth” (The Atlantic, July 11). Former UK Secretary of State Michael Gove called Schleicher “the most important man in English education” – even though he is German and lives in France. 

Before joining the OECD, he was Director for Analysis at the International Association for Educational Achievement (IEA). He studied Physics in Germany and received a degree in Mathematics and Statistics in Australia. He is the recipient of numerous honours and awards, including the “Theodor Heuss” prize, awarded in the name of the first president of the Federal Republic of Germany for “exemplary democratic engagement”.  He holds an honorary Professorship at the University of Heidelberg.

Keynote: Valerie Hannon, Author, OECD Advisor and Co-Founder of the Innovation Unit (U.K.)

Valerie Hannon is a global thought leader, inspiring systems to re-think what ‘success’ will mean in the C 21 st , and the implications for education. The co-founder of both Innovation Unit and of the Global Education Leaders Partnership, Valerie is a radical voice for change, whilst grounded in a deep understanding of how education systems currently work.

Formerly a secondary teacher, researcher and Director of Education for Derbyshire County Council; then an adviser in the UK Department for Education (DfE) during the Blair years, she now works independently to support change programs across the world. She acts as senior adviser to OECD on its Education 2030 project.

Valerie is a regular keynote speaker and facilitator at international conferences and workshops, drawing upon her substantial research and publications, including:Learning A Living: radical innovation in education for work (Bloomsbury 2013); Redesigning Education: shaping learning systems around the globe (Booktrope 2014), Local Learning Ecosystems (WISE 2019); THRIVE: the purpose of schools in a changing world (Cambridge University Press 2021)Valerie’s work for The Australian Learning Lecture on The Future School will appear as a book later in 2021

What's the Big Idea?

This Summer, Educators from across Ireland are exploring new trends in Education and Re-imagining their Teaching Practice.

Working in teams, our Entrepreneurial Educators are taking a Human-Centred Design approach to develop their ideas for 'Reimagining Education' which they will share with the audience in a fun and engaging manner.


We are delighted to welcome a panel of some of Ireland's most innovative educators and change makers who, chaired by Valerie Hannon, will be feeding back on the ideas presented by our Entrepreneurial Educators.

David Price OBE - David writes, trains and advises organisations in both the public and private sectors. His first book, OPEN: How We'll Work, Live & Learn In The Future was an Amazon best-seller. His next book "We'll Figure It Out": Mass Ingenuity & The Power Of Us, will be published in late 2020.

Dr. Jane Waters Davies, University of Wales Trinity St. David - Dr Jane Waters is an Associate Professor in the Athrofa: Institute of Education at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD). Having worked as a classroom teacher, then lectured in undergraduate Early Childhood Studies and postgraduate Initial Teacher Education, she now works most closely with postgraduate research students, and is the programme lead for the Professional Doctorate in Education (Ed D) at UWTSD. Jane’s research interests lie in early childhood education; adult-child interaction; the affordance of different educative spaces; young children’s agency and voice; and young children’s experiences of outdoor spaces. She is passionate about the potential in Wales for innovative, engaging early years education and sits on the Welsh Government advisory panel for curriculum reform in this regard

Tomás Ó Ruairc, CEO, Teaching Council - Tomás started his career teaching Irish and history at Athlone Community College. He was head of the Irish Department in Froebel College of Education from 2000 for five years and Education Programme Manager at Foras na Gaeilge before becoming Deputy CEO in 2007. He held the post of chair of Meitheal Chinnireachta (Leadership Forum) and of the Network for the Promotion of Linguistic Diversity and sat on the Council of the NCCA from 2006-2009. In 2009, Tomás became a Director in the Department of Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht before taking on his current role as Director of the Teaching Council in 2012.

Dr. Deirdre McGillicuddy, Asst. Professor of Education UCD - Dr Deirdre McGillicuddy is Assistant Professor in UCD School of Education with over 20 year experience working across the Irish education system. Deirdre believes in the transformative power of education not only in expanding the realms of possibility for students, but also in terms of the ripple effect to transform our society. She is particularly passionate about the emancipatory power of education for those most marginalised within our society and education system. Deirdre has particular interest in children’s voice/rights in education stemming from her time working in a DEIS primary school and is especially interested in creative pedagogies as a rights based to education. Core to Deirdre's work are values of collaboration, creativity, teamwork, leadership and wellbeing. She has recently been awarded a UCD Teaching Excellence Award, was nominated for a European Teaching Excellence Award and is an IA Innovation Fellow 2021.

Running Order

08:45 - Doors open to attendees

09:00 - Welcome from Alan Morgan, Programme Director, UCD Professional Diploma in Creativity & Innovation for Education

09:05 - Introduction to the event's proceedings from Valerie Hannon, Co-Founder of the Innovation Unit, Author and OECD Advisor

09:10 - Interview with Andreas Schleicher, Director for Education and Skills and Special Advisor on Education Policy to the Secretary General of the OECD followed by Q&A from the audience

10:00 - “What’s the Big Idea?” 7 Presentations by the participants in the Prof. Cert. for Creativity & Innovation in Education with feedback from the panel

12.15 - Keynote speech from Valerie Hannon on the purpose of schools in a changing world followed by a panel discussion with Q&A from the audience

13.25 - Close out.

Note: Running times are approximate. Guests are welcome to come for all or part of the day and there will be a short break between sessions to allow for a comfort and coffee break.

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Organiser UCD Innovation Academy

Organiser of 2021 Summer Festival of Education with UCD Innovation Academy Online

UCD Innovation Academy’s mission is to provide a transformational education experience for the betterment of society and the economy. We shape creative minds capable of launching new ventures.

UCD Innovation Academy designs, tests and scales world-class experiential education programmes that unlocks creative confidence and fosters an entrepreneurial mindset in learners of all levels. Since 2010, our international team of entrepreneurs and academic staff have worked with over 5,000 learners across the world. 

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