Additional ICT Funding Announced For All Schools

The Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh this week announced a further €50million investment in ICT infrastructure for all primary and post-primary schools. Grant funding for the purchase of ICT infrastructure will issue shortly  to all eligible primary and post primary schools in the country to enable them to embed the use of digital technology in teaching and learning. This latest tranche of funding brings the Government’s total investment…

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Scratch 3.0 has arrived!

After spending months in Beta version, Scratch 3.0 has been finally released as of January 2nd  2019. It brings major changes such as support for tablets and implementation of an HTML, CSS, and JavaScript-based extension system instead of the previously used Flash.   In his blog post announcing Scratch 3.0 Mitch Resnik, leader of the MIT Media Lab wrote: Scratch has grown beyond our most optimistic expectations. There are more than 30 million registered…

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Microsoft’s Futuristic Classroom

I recently took some primary school pupils to Microsoft’s headquarters in Leopardstown Dublin to take part in its futuristic new Dreamspace learning initiative. DreamSpace is an educational activity space developed in Dublin at a cost of €5m and it opened earlier this year. Microsoft runs a three-hour programme in DreamSpace for primary and Transition Year students, where the children are shown new technology, and work in teams to solve problems.…

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Programmable Floor Robots For Primary Schools

Floor robots can be programmed to move and change direction across the floor or a flat surface and are an excellent way of introducing young children to the principles of coding and computational thinking. Although the physical appearance of floor robots may be different, they function in a very similar way and the principles of programming them are broadly the same. There are a wide range of floor robots that…

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Coding Applications for Younger Pupils

To date we have used Scratch in our school to develop children’s coding skills. However, while this is a fantastic application, it is more suited to the older primary school pupil. We recently looked at a range of free, web based applications that can help to develop coding and programming skills throughout the primary school but that are particularly useful for the younger student. The following 5 applications have proved…

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Kahoot Homework Challenge

A few years back I did a piece on Kahoot which is a brilliant free website for creating quizzes to use in class. Typically the teacher using Kahoot displays the questions on the interactive whiteboard and the students answer the questions on any internet-enabled device. It works really well as an assessment for learning technique to check on how well a class understands a particular topic area before/after you teach it.…

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The BBC Micro:bit

Those of you who are old enough might remember that in the 1980’s the BBC Micro Computer running Logo was considered cutting edge in terms of IT in schools. Many children who grew up with the micro went on to forge successful careers in the IT industry. More than 30 years on, the BBC has lifted the lid on the BBC Micro:bit, a new pocket-sized code-able computer with motion detection, a…

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Be Internet Awesome

Google has recently launched an educational program designed to teach children about phishing, internet harassment, passwords, and other internet safety issues. The programme is called “Be Internet Awesome,” and it aims to teach children the fundamentals of digital citizenship and provides parents and educators with resources to help children and young people navigate the web and their online interactions.  The programme contains a classroom curriculum and a video game called Interland. It…

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Google’s New Mapping Features

Earlier this year Google announced two major updates to Earth and Maps. First to arrive was a brand new Google Earth experience that is web-based (not an install) and will even work on Chromebooks. With this web based version you can see and experience the world like never before. Just visit https://earth.google.com/web to get started. This latest version 9 of Google Earth puts a big focus on guided tours via…

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Check123: A Video Encyclopedia for Schools

Check123 is a new, free service that offers 1, 2, and 3-minute videos across a variety of curricular subject areas. If you have tried to use YouTube (or a similar service) to find a classroom video then you know how difficult that can be, especially given the enormous number of videos you have to search through.  To make the process of finding educational videos easier, Check123 offers a highly curated…

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