Through #gtchat, Frazzled and I realised that we have a wealth of knowledge between us about giftedness. There are many respected experts among #gtchatters, and many more passionate and well-informed amateurs like the pair of us. We all have a common goal though; to promote awareness of the educational needs of gifted learners everywhere. On Friday nights we have felt welcomed and validated by the many professionals working across the globe. This has given us the courage to speak up through our blog about issues of particular relevance to Ireland.
By the end of July and into August we had our first blogposts up and soon our opinions on a wide range of issues were getting an airing. Both opinionated and forceful at times, it was a nerve-wracking first few weeks as we nailed our gifted colours to the mast! We held our breath and hoped we wouldn’t be dismissed as being too radical, too clueless, or worst of all...just a couple of pushy parents! We needn’t have worried however, as our #gtchat friends supported and encouraged us as we posted each new piece. Thank you all for your support in 2010, it meant a great deal to us both.
In October another big opportunity came our way. We were invited to speak at the Irish Teaching and Learning Festival in Dublin. We gave a presentation entitled “Using Social Media to Support Gifted Learners in Ireland”. Bedecked in our regal purple #gtchat t-shirts kindly fast-tracked to us by Deborah Mersino, we completed our metamorphosis into conference speakers together. In equal parts thrilling and terrifying, by the end we were exhilarated and enjoying our new-found confidence! The realisation that we do have something to offer to those interested in giftedness was empowering and encouraging. We are not experts and do not pretend to be so, but are happy to share the knowledge we have gained through our own research. A big debt of thanks is due to Deborah who had faith in us to fly the #gtchat flag on her behalf. We were honoured to do so.
In November our Gifted Advocacy and Support (GAS) group made a detailed submission to the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) during their consultation process for the new Junior Cycle. Although quite a radical departure from the traditional exam-based system, we felt that a fresh approach catering to as many different learning styles as possible would be a real benefit to our gifted learners in particular.