ICT and Primary Schools

On March 4th 2019, the third installment under the Digital Strategy for Schools (2018-2019) was announced. This grant funding for the purchase of ICT infrastructure is intended to enable schools, both Primary and Post Primary, to embed the use of digital technology in teaching and learning. Since the 9th of January, 2019 the Department of Education has released 24 Whole School Evaluation (WSE) reports from Primary schools on its website.…

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Microsoft Sway

Recently I was preparing notes for a Continued Professional Development (CPD) session on Digital Storytelling and compiling as comprehensive a list as possible of tools that can be used in the classroom to create Digital Stories. PowerPoint was to close off my list and as I was running a final double check on the list I realised that I had completely overlooked Microsoft Sway and so it was added. During…

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Using Scratch in the Primary Classroom

Scratch 3.0 is due for release on the 2nd of January 2019. There are many teachers who are looking forward to this significant update to a great Coding resource that is very popular in Irish Primary schools. Scratch 3.0 will certainly become even more popular as this release addresses a serious problem with Scratch 2.0 and the even earlier Scratch 1.4, the fact that these two versions could not be…

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Not an Ordinary Brick

The LEGO brand is well known around the world and many schools in Ireland already use a number of LEGO Education products such as LEGO Mindstorms and LEGO WeDo. I previously wrote a piece about LEGO WeDo back in 2016 and with the growing emphasis on STEM activities at Primary School level it’s great to see a new product coming into the education market that will support these activities. Coding…

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Coding resources are Evolving

On Friday the 8th of June the 2018 Digital Strategy Action Plan was published. The plan sets out a road map for the next twelve months. There are over 80 actions outlined in this action plan and one of these relates to Coding in the wider Primary Curriculum. Action Number 1.2 states that four sub-actions will take place during 2018. ● Publish examples of schools’ working with coding – phase…

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STEM graphic

Let’s learn from this research!

Normally my blog contribution for the TeachNet community is based on a new or interesting ICT resource that I think should be highlighted as a possible teaching resource to help further integrate ICT into the daily teaching and learning in our classrooms. This time however I’m going off-script to look at some recent research, carried out by Microsoft, on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) gender issues. Microsoft commissioned this…

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The Zimmer Twins

There are lots of ways that ICT can act as a valuable Literacy resource in the classroom, from the numerous software programs on the market to the multitude of apps suitable for Tablets. Some of the Tablet apps, such as Toontastic and SockPuppets, have become firm favourites in the classroom and are used as part of a literacy lesson, often incorporated into a Station Teaching methodology. Tablet devices have made…

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BYOD – more headaches than benefits?

During a “Croke Park” session on “Tablet Devices in Primary Schools” late last year, the topic of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) generated lots of discussion and debate. The arguments for and against this initiative were well reasoned and well thought out and all of the arguments will be familiar to anyone who has followed this topic both online and in the wider media. Initially there was a small bit…

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Girls who Code

Some years back I wrote a dissertation on the topic of Gender Imbalance in Computing Disciplines at 3rd level with particular reference to Institutes of Technology and the implications for Primary and Post Primary integration of IT into the curriculum in Ireland. The conclusions I drew from my literature review and research findings were as follows: The phenomena of a gender imbalance in computer science is a recognised and well…

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Wizer

 Wizer is an online resource website where teachers can create interactive worksheets for their pupils. These worksheets can contain images and video and questions can be presented in several different ways. There are many visual edits available to help make the worksheets more engaging to pupils and the library of templates is extensive. Once a worksheet has been created it can be shared with pupils in several different ways; a…

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