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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Converting Your Old Laptop into a Chromebook

We recently got a bank of new laptops for our school as we had 10 windows xp devices that we needed to retire. I hate throwing  anything out,  so I had a think about how we could make use of them in the school. After some research I decided to give these machines a new lease of life by installing the super-fast Chromium OS (essentially the same thing as ChromeOS that…

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Favourite Sites For Photos & Clip Art

It’s that time of the year again when teachers are busy putting together end of year class and school magazines. Children love to embellish their writing with clip art, photos and lots of visuals. When it’s not practical or possible to use their own digital photos then we have to make sure that whatever visuals they use are licensed as public domain or Creative Commons Attribution. I rely on a handful of websites…

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