NASA Mars Simulated Space Mission successful in the Virtual World!

Professor Jacki Morie of SMARTlab/School of Architecture, UCD and All These Worlds Ltd. played a crucial role in training the NASA team released this week from their year’s confinement in the Hawaiin simulated Space Station. Prof Morie created and ran the virtual world connecting the astronauts to their families and to the space station back at base!

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Census of the Heart

An alternative census that gets to the heart of our population. By asking deeper questions, we’ll find meaningful answers to who we are and what we feel as people alive in Ireland in 2016…

Dear Friends,

We have been busy at The Trailblazery HQ and are delighted to launch the next thing from us to you – Census of the Heart.

On the night of April 24, coinciding with the precise anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising, the 2016 National Census takes place in Ireland. To mark this occasion, The Trailblazery is launching an alternative census – Census of the Heart. This is a national enquiry that aims to capture the deeper dimension of people’s lived experience and find out what it really means to be alive in Ireland exactly 100 years after the Rebellion. The National Census will enable future generations to find out about us, their ancestors. On technology we have yet to dream of, they will discover who was where, how many rooms were in the house we were in, if there was a peat fire, a septic tank and Wi-Fi and other stuff like that. This is important, but Census of the Heart delves a little deeper into the psyche and soul of the people in Ireland. Responding to the general categories of the census, we have come up with questions that explore other ways of knowing and understanding what it means to be alive in Ireland in 2016.

Why an alternative census? We have all been immersed in the story of Ireland’s past with the centenary commemorations, remembering the lives of the men and women on this island 100 years ago. Census of the Heart aims to excavate and preserve the state of our nation in 2016 for future generations. According to the literature, “Census 2016 will give a comprehensive picture of the social and living conditions of our people”. So, on the 24th of April every person on the island of Ireland will become a statistic. While the official census provides valuable data on a broad range of social and economic infrastructure, we’re upgrading and augmenting that knowledge by asking deeper questions that accesses people’s inner worlds. We want to know what matters to you in 2016.

The Ask: Tell us how you feel: Our mission is to connect with a broad section of people across the island of Ireland so we can get straight to the heart of things. We believe that all voices are important. We’re asking you to help us achieve our vision by completing Census of the Heart and then sharing it with friends, family, colleagues and even random strangers via your personal and professional social networks. The Census of the Heart survey will run for 4 weeks from April 24 – May 22 on

Below you’ll find some sample posts for your Facebook and Twitter pages, an image to share via social channels and links to The Trailblazery social accounts. Feel free to copy and paste these or come up with your own.

Sample Tweets:

The Trailblazery present Census of the Heart – Tell us how it feels to be alive in Ireland 2016? #censusoftheheart

Census of the Heart – an alternative census that conects with the heart of Irish people in 2016. #censusoftheheart

Census of the Heart: an alternative Irish census connecting with the heart of our population. #censusoftheheart

Census of the Heart – an alternative Census. Tell future generations how Ireland feels in 2016. #censusoftheheart

Léiríonn An Trailblazery Daonáireamh an Chroí – Inis dúinn conas a mhothaíonn sé bheith beo in Éirinn i 2016? #daonaireamhanchroi

Daonáireamh an Chroí: Daonáireamh difriúil a dheanann ceangailt le dlúthchroí muintir na hÉireann i 2016 #daonaireamhanchroi

Daonáireamh an Chroí: Daonáireamh difriúil adgceangailt le croí an phobail #daonaireamhanchroi

Daonáireamh an Chroí: Daonáireamh difriúil. Inis do ghluainte an todhchaí conas a mhothaíonn Éire i 2016 #daonaireamhanchroi


The Trailblazery brings you Census of the Heart – an alternative census that gets to the heart of our population in 2016. By asking deeper questions, we’ll find meaningful answers so that future generations will know how it feels to be alive in Ireland right now. We are asking you to contribute to this snapshot in time and maybe even influence future history.

Léiríonn An Trailblazery Daonáireamh an Chroí – Daonáireamh difriúil a dheanann ceangailt le dlúthchroí muintir na hÉireann i 2016. Tríd ceisteanna domhain a chur, aimseoimid freagraí tábhachtacha do ghluainte an todhchaí ar chonas a mhothaí Éire inniu. Fiafraímid duit páirt a ghlacadh le go mbeimid in ann an am áirithe seo i ndáimh na hÉireann a léiriú agus, seans, an todhchaí romhainn a athrú.

The Trailblazery Links:

Facebook –

Twitter – @trailblazery

Hashtag – #censusoftheheart

Facebook Event Page –

Kathy Scott
Independent Creative Producer
The Trailblazery | the ireland : iceland project | Wonderlust

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Global Education Summit, 26-27 March
SMARTlab is proud to participate in the inaugural meeting of the Global Education Summit in Istanbul, with the President of Turkey and senior Ministers, the Education Director of the OECD, Director of Intel EMEA, et al:

21st: Dr David Prendergast of Intel on Lizbeth Goodman and Nicola Herbertson lead the hands-on training session on Communicating for Indsutry Impact, Virtual Worlds by and for People with Autism and Intellectual Disabilities – with participants including the six new SMARTlab-IDRC Marie Curie Fellows: Dr Cathy Dalton, Dr Kenn Kerr, Dr Yugos Politis, Dr Anita Yakkundi, Dr Aviva Cohen and Dr Nigel Robb

TED, 7-8 March
Valencia Spain- inTED: SMARTlab chairs the Panel with speakers including Prof Lizbeth Goodman (chair), Dr Joe Eyerman, Dr Jacki Morie, Camille Baker, Dr Ken Kerr, Prof Jutta Treviranus, Dr Eva de Lera, Nicola Herbertson, Laura Screpanti, Bo Zhang, Cagir Cubukcu, on VIRTUAL WORLDS & ROBOTICS FOR INCLUSIVE LEARNING

Profesor Lizbeth Goodman to speak on Innovation at the Leadership Forum, Croke Park Stadium, Dublin this Thursday 3rd March:





SMARTlab Winter Wonderland- Spring Forward: 2016 PhD Seminar!














Lynne Heller: “Avatar Daughters: Envisioning a Spectrum between the Material/Virtual Through Feminist Theory”#


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Open education and technology

In 2012, the modern use of electronic educational technology (also called e-learning) had grown at 14 times the rate of traditional learning. Open education is fast growing to become the dominant form of education, for many reasons such as its efficiency and results compared to traditional methods. Cost of education has been an issue throughout history, and a major political issue in most countries today. Online courses often can be more expensive than face-to-face classes. Out of 182 colleges surveyed in 2009 nearly half said tuition for online courses was higher than for campus based ones. Many large university institutions are now starting to offer free or almost free full courses such as Harvard, MIT and Berkeley teaming up to form edX. Other universities offering open education are Stanford, Princeton, Duke, Johns Hopkins, Edinburgh, U. Penn, U. Michigan, U. Virginia, U. Washington, and Caltech. It has been called the biggest change in the way we learn since the printing press. Despite favorable studies on effectiveness, many people may still desire to choose traditional campus education for social and cultural reasons.

The conventional merit-system degree is currently not as common in open education as it is in campus universities, although some open universities do already offer conventional degrees such as the Open University in the United Kingdom. Presently, many of the major open education sources offer their own form of certificate. Due to the popularity of open education, these new kind of academic certificates are gaining more respect and equal “academic value” to traditional degrees. Many open universities are working to have the ability to offer students standardized testing and traditional degrees and credentials. A culture is beginning to form around distance learning for people who are looking to social connections enjoyed on traditional campuses. For example, students may create study groups, meetups and movements such as UnCollege.

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Purpose of schools

Individual purposes for pursuing education can vary. Understanding the goals and means of educational socialization processes may also differ according to the sociological paradigm used.

The early years of schooling generally focus around developing basic interpersonal communication and literacy skills. This lays a foundation for more complex skills and subjects. Later, education usually turns toward gaining the knowledge and skills needed to create value and establish a livelihood.

People also pursue education for its own sake to satisfy innate curiosity, out of interest in a specific subject or skill, or for overall personal development.

Education is often understood as a means of overcoming handicaps, achieving greater equality, and acquiring wealth and status for all (Sargent 1994). Education is also often perceived as a place where children can develop according to their unique needs and potentials, with the purpose of developing every individual to their full potential.

Some claim that there is education inequality because children did not exceed the education of their parents. This education inequality is then associated with income inequality. Although critical thinking is a goal of education, criticism and blame are often the unintended by products of our current educational process. Students often blame their teachers and their textbooks, despite the availability of libraries and the internet. When someone tries to improve education, the educational establishment itself occasionally showers the person with criticism rather than gratitude. Better by products of an educational system would be gratitude and determination.

Developed countries have people with more resources (housing, food, transportation, water and sewage treatment, hospitals, health care, libraries, books, media, schools, the internet, education, etc.) than most of the world’s population. One merely needs to see through travel or the media how many people in the undeveloped countries live to sense this. However, one can also use economic data to gain some insight into this. Yet criticism and blame are common among people in the developed countries.

Gratitude for all these resources and the determination to develop oneself would be more productive than criticism and blame because the resources are readily available and because, if you blame others, there is no need for you to do something different tomorrow or for you to change and improve. Where there is a will, there is a way. People in developed countries have the will and the way to do many things that they want to do. They sometimes need more determination and will to improve and to educate themselves with the resources that are abundantly available. They occasionally need more gratitude for the resources they have, including their teachers and their textbooks. The entire internet is also available to supplement these teachers and textbooks.

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History of Education

Education began in the earliest prehistory, as adults trained the young in the knowledge and skills deemed necessary in their society. In pre-literate societies this was achieved orally and through imitation. Story-telling passed knowledge, values, and skills from one generation to the next. As cultures began to extend their knowledge beyond skills that could be readily learned through imitation, formal education developed. Schools existed in Egypt at the time of the Middle Kingdom.

Matteo Ricci (left) and Xu Guangqi (right) in the Chinese edition of Euclid’s Elements published in 1607
Plato founded the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in Europe. The city of Alexandria in Egypt, established in 330 BCE, became the successor to Athens as the intellectual cradle of Ancient Greece. There, mathematician Euclid and anatomist Herophilus constructed the great Library of Alexandria and translated the Hebrew Bible into Greek. European civilizations suffered a collapse of literacy and organization following the fall of Rome in AD 476.

In China, Confucius (551-479 BCE), of the State of Lu, was the country’s most influential ancient philosopher, whose educational outlook continues to influence the societies of China and neighbors like Korea, Japan and Vietnam. Confucius gathered disciples and searched in vain for a ruler who would adopt his ideals for good governance, but his Analects were written down by followers and have continued to influence education in East Asia into the modern era.

After the Fall of Rome, the Catholic Church became the sole preserver of literate scholarship in Western Europe. The church established cathedral schools in the Early Middle Ages as centers of advanced education. Some of these establishments ultimately evolved into medieval universities and forebears of many of Europe’s modern universities. During the High Middle Ages, Chartres Cathedral operated the famous and influential Chartres Cathedral School. The medieval universities of Western Christendom were well-integrated across all of Western Europe, encouraged freedom of inquiry, and produced a great variety of fine scholars and natural philosophers, including Thomas Aquinas of the University of Naples, Robert Grosseteste of the University of Oxford, an early expositor of a systematic method of scientific experimentation, and Saint Albert the Great, a pioneer of biological field research. The University of Bologne is considered the oldest continually operating university.

Elsewhere during the Middle Ages, Islamic science and mathematics flourished under the Islamic caliphate which was established across the Middle East, extending from the Iberian Peninsula in the west to the Indus in the east and to the Almoravid Dynasty and Mali Empire in the south.

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