Margaret Keane is the founder of Giftedkids.ie, a support website for parents and educators of “exceptionally able” and “twice exceptional” (gifted but with learning difficulties) children in Ireland.
These are children who learn faster, earlier and differently. As a parent of two exceptionally able children, both with very different needs, Margaret was frustrated at the lack of resources and information and the negative stereotyping of giftedness that exists both in the media and society at large.
There are estimated to be over 23,000 children who fit the profile of giftedness in Ireland. These children often struggle in school and feel isolated from peers and teachers and some have additional learning challenges. Without appropriate support they can disengage with the learning process and significantly underachieve. Speaking with other parents it became clear to Margaret that there was a real need for an information portal and support network of some kind.
Giftedkids.ie provides access to educational resources for parents, teachers and children as well as providing a community forum to share experience, advice and support.
Giftedkids.ie was runner up in the 2010 edublog awards for the best use of a viral network. They launched a pilot webinar series in 2010 with the help of educational and psychology professionals, which was provided free to teachers and parents. At present they are also developing an online Teen magazine, written for and by gifted teens.
Giftedkids.ie was involved in setting up a secure virtual world for a primary school in Co. Carlow, which was quickly peopled with avatars and structures by a group of exceptionally able students in the school. The success of their pilot 3D immersive technology project has led to the formation of MissionV Education Limited, a not for profit organisation specialising in the use of game based learning and virtual worlds technology for the support of primary and post-primary students; particularly those who are at risk of significantly underachieving and those with high potential.
Our mission is to ensure that all high ability children, regardless of background or financial circumstances, get access to an appropriate education that meets their special educational needs.