School of STEM Education, Innovation & Global Studies header
School of STEM Education, Innovation & Global Studies


Primary Department
School of STEM Education, Innovation & Global Studies
Academic Staff
Prof Deirdre Butler
Phone number:
01 700
St Patrick's Campus
Room Number

Academic biography

Deirdre Butler, a professor in DCU’s Institute of Education is internationally known as a leading scholar and creative practitioner of methods supporting teachers’ professional development and students’ learning. Prior to being a teacher educator, she was a primary school teacher, resource teacher, teacher for the travelling community and vice-principal. Her doctoral work developed an innovative model for teachers' professional development was supervised by world-renowned technology-and-education leader and MIT Professor, Seymour Papert.Deirdre has extensive experience in developing sustainable, scalable models of teacher professional learning, and has managed projects and school based initiatives which focus on creative uses of digital technologies.
Deirdre’s passion in life is exploring what being digital in learning can mean and how we can meaningfully use the extensive range of digital tools available in the 21st century. As a recognised thought leader in the area of new pedagogies, she advises ministries of education around the globe on redesigning education systems for the challenges that face the world now and in the future. For example, in Finland she worked with the Ministry to inspire their specially selected Lighthouse schools to redesign learning environments, while in Denmark she worked with policy makers and professional development providers to re-imagine how learning environments can be designed to meet the needs of the complex connected world of the 21st century.  Deirdre’s record of professional accomplishment demonstrates vision, energy and research excellence combined with a deep and passionate commitment to teaching and learning.  The funding she have secured, and projects she has initiated and collaborated on, are evidence of both her strategic and innovative thinking, as well as her management and leadership abilities. Her publication record provides further evidence of these qualities, as well as demonstrating the ability to foster and extend national and international linkages and alliances. She have consistently worked across a broad range of stakeholders in education, technology, government, corporate and non-profit sectors. Deirdre’s ability to combine partnership-building among diverse stakeholders with focused research questions has been instrumental in her successfully bridging knowledge development, policy and practice. The key role she played in cultivating the recently launched Digital Strategy for Schools is an example of how her research on teachers’ learning (exemplified by the Empowering Minds community) and emphasis on learner-centred pedagogical orientation (demonstrated through the Innovative Schools Evaluation, TeachNet, Innovative Teaching and Learning Research, and New Pedagogies for Deep Learning) are key principles now underpinning the national educational agenda. Through her vision, negotiation skills and ability to translate principles from research into settings that make them operationally effective, Ireland’s educational potentials have improved within and beyond national bounds. For example, the 21CLD MOOC, which is free of charge and available to all educators globally, is the first Irish-designed MOOC for teacher professional learning. This initiative was made possible through her collaboration with Microsoft and H2 Learning, an Irish eLearning services and consultancy organisation. Another example of her ability to translate and sustain knowledge from research is the establishment of the flagship Lego Education Innovation Studio. This initiative results from a long tradition that Deirdre fostered, of using Lego and digital materials to spawn innovative learning environments. By continuing to partner with Microsoft and Lego Education, Dublin City University’s Institute of Education (DCU IoE) will develop new