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Scoil na gCeithre Máistrí: A new roadmap in ICT implementation

The new edition of ‘Spotlight on Practice’ brings us to Scoil na gCeithre Máistrí, a school of 246 pupils in Áth Luain (Athone), a town in the Irish midlands. Since the school’s foundation in 1990, the integration of ICT into teaching and learning has played a central role in school policy. The construction of new school buildings in 2007 provided the opportunity to radically upgrade the school’s ICT stock, and to embed the use of ICT throughout the school. Each teacher and class were provided with the most up-to-date equipment: tablet laptop, visualizer, 3-in-1 printer and projector.

Scoil na gCeithre Máistrí is continuously developing and expanding its use of ICT. The entire school community – teachers, pupils, and parents – contribute towards the school’s successful embedding of ICT within daily life at the school. The parents’ committee has developed the ICT platform in the school through donations of equipment, and the purchase of new computers and devices.

Inspired by Living Schools Lab

According to Gearóid Ó Duibhir, one of the teachers participating in the project, Living Schools Lab is in keeping with the goals of the school: “Living Schools Lab fits perfectly into this development and adds greatly to it. We can share what we do and gain from what others do and together forge ahead with innovation and inspiration to build the classroom of tomorrow”.

The dedication of Gearóid, along with that of Laobhaoise Nic Aogáin, the school principal, has ensured the success of the project to date. Since joining the LSL project, the school has experienced a renewed interest in ICT. Scoil na gCeithre Máistrí has established an ICT committee, which has had a significant impact on the dissemination of new methodologies and pedagogies, and the process by which feedback is received and implemented.

Gearóid and Laobhaoise say that the first Living Schools Lab workshop, which took place in Brussels in January, has given them a roadmap on how to implement this programme of technological change at their school. “The committee is based on many of the suggestions and recommendations we received in the workshop as its work has as its impetus the LSL project. The work we are doing feeds directly into the project and, inversely, the project gives us direction and a destination”, they affirm.

One of the outcomes from the new ICT committee has been the purchase of new eBeam hardware, which are currently being piloted in the school.

Not forgetting about teacher skills

The ICT committee is focused not only on hardware; the committee is also organising training for staff members, and is continuously reviewing the progress of the current roll-out of ICT. As part of the LSL projects, all schools develop a STEPS plan (Share, Teach, Evidence, Plan, Support) that is being used to map and demonstrate practice and to show the progress the schools are making. To this end, Scoil na gCeithre Máistrí has decided to focus on training and implementation of a piece of hardware, visualisers, to see how and to which extend the teachers are using these. The school organised a break-out session for all teachers to meet and share their experience of the equipment with a view to ensuring that its use was optimised. “This worked very well and the feedback from the session was very positive”, they conclude.