Dublin West Education Centre
Dublin West Education Centre
Dublin West Education Centre, Old Blessington Road, Tallaght, Dublin 24, Ireland D24 PX58
Dublin West Education Centre (DWEC) was established under the terms of the Education Act (Government of Ireland, 1998). It has significant local, regional and national responsibilities in the area of continuing professional development (CPD) for teachers. Locally it has specific responsibility for the CPD of more than 7,000 primary and post primary teachers (teaching students aged 4 to 18) working in 210 schools in the West Dublin area. Most of the schools are large by Irish standards. In total these schools reach 80,000 students. Many of them serve areas of serious social and economic disadvantage. The Centre mediates the delivery of national in-service training for these teachers. Secondly it designs and delivers a suite of optional courses which are attended by large numbers of teachers outside school hours. Most of these courses fall under the headings of Curriculum, School Management, Special Needs, ICT and Wellbeing. School leaders at primary level are served by numerous principals’ support groups and at second level by the TL21 programme (www.maynoothuniversity.ie/TL21)

Furthermore the Centre initiates, develops, maintains and supports creative projects which are undertaken by teachers and teacher tutors. It also works in partnership with other organisations in developing ‘cutting edge’ projects. Digital Schools of Distinction (DSoD) (www.digitalschools.ie) is an example of a partnership project which is led by DWEC and has as partners the Department of Education and Skills (DES) the Irish National Teachers Organisation (INTO), the Irish Primary Principals Network (IPPN), the Computers in Education Society of Ireland (CESI), Hewlett Packard (HP Ireland) and Microsoft Ireland. Following DSoD, DWEC now leads an eight country international partnership project, Digital Schools of Europe (DSoE).

Dublin West Education Centre (DWEC) acts as leader, manager and administrator of the DSoE Project. It performs the roles of project management, budget control and accreditation training. DWEC is responsible for the project website.

In conjunction with each other partner country Dublin West performs the following roles:
1. Facilitate visits to associated schools to observe good practice using ICTs
2. Organise and facilitate project monitoring and evaluation meetings (3 per year)
3. Organise and facilitate meetings at local level, inviting relevant local parties as well as project partners, to discuss feasibility of implementing an accreditation system for digital schools at local level. (3 per year)
4. Input reports to coordinating organisation detailing good practice for inclusion in outputs and outcomes of feasibility investigations regarding accreditation schemes.
5. Initiate, promote and support eTwinning activities for associated schools. Input reports to coordinating organisation of the eTwinning activities.
6. Coordinate the dissemination of good practice experienced during transnational meetings at local level
7. Coordinate the dissemination of good practice experienced at regional level
8. Publicise the project, with ongoing progress, for the duration of the project, as part of the
organisation website. This will be published in the national language.

Visit Dublin West Education Centre DSoE Project Page

 

Affiliated Schools

Below you will see links to the website’s of the schools and a brief summary of each school outlining the school environment, technology usage, issues and successes. These are the schools affiliated with Dublin West Education Centre for the DSoE project.

Sacred Heart SNS

 

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Sacred Heart National School

We are a disadvantaged status school with  290 pupils, boys and girls aged 8 – 12. 22 teachers, suburban area.

ICT Implementation

Our school has IWBs in every class, 2 computer rooms, laptop trolley, centralised colour printing and wifi, Apple iPads and Ms Surface tablets, Nintendo DS mobile devices in use throughout the school.

ICT Challanges

One of our challanges is inadequate broadband, no funding.

ICT Acheivements

We were Ireland’s first Digital School of Distinction.

Maynooth Boys NS

 

maynoothbns

Maynooth Boys National School 

The school is located in the suburban University town of Maynooth and caters for approximately 530 boys between 4 and 13 years of age. While the full primary school curriculum is implemented, the pupils are also engaged in a wide variety of related activities which include the Environment & Green School Programme, Science Fairs and Intel Mini Scientist, School Musicals, Drama, Choir, European Citizenship, Literacy projects, a wide range of Sports and Technology. There is currently a teaching staff of 30.

ICT Implementation 

Each classroom is equipped with an interactive whiteboard solution, teaching computer, visualiser and on avearage, 2 pupil computers. There is a computer room with 34 seats – all classes are timetabled for access each week. A suite of iPads is concentrated for use in the lower half of the school, while a full class set of notebooks is targeted at the older end of the school. There is a range of other peripheral equipment available also.

ICT Challanges

There are two main challenges to the success of the school’s digital strategy:

1) Funding – Almost all of the equipment listed above has been obtained without government/Dept. of Education funding. This is an unsustainable situation. The necessity of trying to keep old equipment operating and capable of working with newer operating systems, software and web-based environments, is a major inhibitor for any school which wishes to use ICTs to its full potential – particularly in view of the complete absence of technical support.

2) Broadband Speed – Insufficient bandwidth leads to frustration of pupils and teachers and discourages them to engage with web based activities – thus missing out on fantastic learning opportunities.

ICT Achievements

At a pedagogical level, the overwhelming emphasis is on the use of technology as an aid to support teaching and learning. There is a commitment to embrace ICTs as a means of enhancing the learning process. This requires continuous evolution and enthusiasm to utilise new methodologies, ideas and opportunities. Examples include participation in European Code Week, Hour of Code, Mathletes School Challenge (5th place in Ireland), FÍS Short Film Competition (award winner), etc. The pupils were also invited to display at ExcitEd (the Digital Learning Movement Conference) in Dublin Castle. A high point was the receipt of the Digital School of Distinction award.

Our Lady of Good Counsel Infant School

 

Our Lady of Good council

Muire Na Dea Chomhairle Infant School

An urban setting with 160 boys and girls.A staff of 13 teachers.

ICT Implementation

Use of interactive whiteboards, visualisers, digital cameras, easi speak mics, bee bot, flip camera.

Challenges

Getting the necessary funding to keep all equipment in working order.

Achievements

Use of school website as a showcase for pupils work.

The Divine Word NS
Saint Mark’s NS  
Gaelscoil Uí Fhiaich
St Mark’s SNS

 

St Mark’s Senior National School

St. Mark’s Senior National School is a co-educational, Catholic, primary school which strives to provide a well-ordered, caring, happy and secure atmosphere where the intellectual, spiritual, physical, moral and cultural needs of the pupils are identified and addressed. (Whole School Ethos)

ICT Implementation

“Learning is changing” (DES: 2008a). St Marks recognises that ICT is now an integral part of everyday life both in and out of school. It endeavours to support and enrich learning experiences in our school with ICT to deliver information more effectively and to motivate all students to fully avail of the technology presented. We aspire to create an environment that enhances the skills of learning through providing opportunities for the children to engage with technology throughout the curriculum. We endeavour to allow the children to engage safely and correctly in their use of technology and as they progress through the school process to become capable, confident and proficient in using ICT independently.

St. Mark’s Senior National School is a co-educational, Catholic, primary school which strives to provide a well-ordered, caring, happy and secure atmosphere where the intellectual, spiritual, physical, moral and cultural needs of the pupils are identified and addressed. (Whole School Ethos)

 Learning is changing” (DES: 2008a). St Marks recognises that ICT is now an integral part of everyday life both in and out of school. It endeavours to support and enrich learning experiences in our school with ICT to deliver information more effectively and to motivate all students to fully avail of the technology presented. We aspire to create an environment that enhances the skills of learning through providing opportunities for the children to engage with technology throughout the curriculum. We endeavour to allow the children to engage safely and correctly in their use of technology and as they progress through the school process to become capable, confident and proficient in using ICT independently.

 St Marks recognises that, like technology, we are in a constant state of change. Technologies in St Marks are in a constant state of renewal and every effort is made to ensure the most recent of technologies is used.

 St. Mark’s S.N.S. strives to be an ICT centre for learning. St. Mark’s endeavours to support all members of it’s school and community in maximising the use of technology to access, utilize and present information. St. Mark’s realizes the importance of a holistic approach to education. An appreciation and understanding of technology is fostered in the children to compliment all subjects. This ethos of learning is implemented in the integrated ICT approach to education that permeates the core of the curriculum. It is further developed through a constant and consistent intent to improve our ICT resources and participation in ICT projects.

 The policy of St Mark’s S.N.S. is to promote the school as a foundation and centre for ICT learning serving all children and staff in effectively using technology. ICT is a cross curricular resource and a staple in the school environment conducive to holistic learning and creative stimulation.

We aim to recognise the potential of ICT in learning through our existing school policies and implement fully the advantages of ICT to develop the skills in our pupils to engage with a rapidly developing ICT world. 

We aim to collectively model positive uses of, and engage safely in, ICT usage through positive learning experiences. We intend to support the teachers in their teaching and our students in their learning through digital tools.

The policy of St Mark’s S.N.S. is to promote the school as a foundation and centre for ICT learning serving all children and staff in effectively using technology. ICT is a cross curricular resource and a staple in the school environment conducive to holistic learning and creative stimulation.

We aim to recognise the potential of ICT in learning through our existing school policies and implement fully the advantages of ICT to develop the skills in our pupils to engage with a rapidly developing ICT world. 

We aim to collectively model positive uses of, and engage safely in, ICT usage through positive learning experiences. We intend to support the teachers in their teaching and our students in their learning through digital tools.

Scoil Thomáis

 

Scoil Thomáis, Laurel Lodge, Castleknock, Dublin 15

Scoil Thomáis is a Catholic, mixed gender primary school based in the West Dublin suburb of Castleknock for classes Junior Infants to Sixth Class.  Scoil Thomáis established 35 years ago and currently has 700 pupils enrolled from 4 and 13 years of age. At present there are 41 teaching staff who are dedicated to the holistic learning and development of pupils in the school. In addition the school has a number of SNAs and ancillary staffing to support the work of the school.  Through a diverse range of school-based activities, a variety of skills and interests across the primary school curriculum are fostered among the pupils of Scoil Thomáis. Some of these extra curricular activities include ­­­Choir, Gaelic Football and Camogie, Athletics, the Green Schools programme, Intel Mini Scientist, Book Club for senior and junior pupils, the Blue Star programme as well as Art and Drama Clubs.

ICT Implementation

The school is actively engaged in promoting ICT as learning tool for staff and pupils. Each classroom has an interactive whiteboard, laptop, visualiser, digital camera and microphone. In addition to the above equipment, Infant classrooms have a wand for extended reach to the interactive whiteboard, BeeBot floor robot and EasiSpeak microphone, as well as access to 5 iPads for use during Aistear. We have 10 iPads in total in the school as well as a laptop trolley which allows for in-classroom access to 16 laptops. We have recently invested in a suite of 31 computers for the computer room and all classes are timetabled for access each week. It is intended that pupils will learn a range of age appropriate ICT skills as well as integrating ICT into various curricular subjects.

ICT Challenges

Scoil Thomáis are fortunate to have an active Parents Association who fundraised to assist Scoil Thomáis to upgrade and invest in ICT infrastructure. Funding for the maintaining and upgrading the infrastructure and equipment will certainly be a challenge in the coming years. The lack of onsite technical support to address technical issues as they arise is also an issue for the school. Like most schools, the integration of ICT into already busy classrooms, as well as the ongoing need to upskill teachers is also a challenge we face.

ICT Achievements

We have an active school website (www.scoilthomais.ie) which enables us to share school activities with the wider community.

St Anne’s Primary School

 

St Anne’s Primary School

St. Anne’s Primary School is a co-educational primary school under the patronage of the Catholic Archdiocese of Dublin, whose patron is the Archbishop of Dublin. There are thirty-three full-time teachers including the Principal, resource teachers, learning support teachers, language support teachers, HSCL teacher and support teacher employed in the school. Our school is a vertical school for boys and girls which caters for the full range of classes from junior infants to sixth class. We currently have 455 students on the roll book and the school is involved in a wide range of activities such as: Green Schools, FÍS, JDO international collaborative project and multiple sports teams. We are also involved with various science programmes and have achieved discover science awards.

St. Anne’s ethos is based on the principle of respect for oneself, for others and for our environment, so that a positive and co-operative school atmosphere prevails.

ICT Implementation

We have IWB’s in every classroom and each teacher has a school laptop, we also have 6 IBM computers shared between our junior and senior infant classes. We recently purchased an Ipad trolley and 30 Ipads these are used between all the classrooms on a daily basis. Each resource and learning support teacher has an additional Ipad to use with their specific targeted groups. We are partnered with a school in Denver,  Colorado through the JDO foundation who supplied us with Ipads to work collaboratively on various projects over the course of the school year. This involves the kids in our school using google hang and various other mediums to discuss and collaborate with their peers in Denver.

 

Scoil Talbot SNS

 

St Frances Xavier SNS
St Dominics NS

 

 

Saint Dominic’s National School

St. Dominic’s School is located in Tallaght on the south-side of Dublin City. We have 315 pupils and 23 teachers.

ICT Implementation

Our School has an interactive whiteboard and projectors in each classroom, pupil laptops, ipads, Nintendo DS’s, a computer suite with 16 computers and laptops for every teacher. We promote pupils use of ICT as much as possible.

Challenges

Current challenges include: lack of funding and ICT support for schools, expertise and confidence level of staff, poor broadband speed.

Achievements

We use ICT as communication tool, through our website (www.stdominicsns.ie), twitter (@stdominicsns) and facebook (St Dominics Parents Page). Khan Academy, ClassDojo and Mystery Skype are some of the other projects we have been involved in.

St Martin’s NS
St Thomas’ SNS

 

Saint Thomas’ Senior National School

We are a senior primary school in a suburban area of high socio-economic disadvantage. We currently have 36 teachers and 432 pupils between the age of 8 and 12. Our school motto is “every child is valued” and this guides us in everything we do.

ICT Implementation

At the moment, each teacher has a LAPTOP along with an interactive whiteboard and speakers in their classroom. Each classroom also has between 1 and 4 PCs for the pupils.

Each classroom has access to a LAPTOP TROLLEY for 1 hour per week. The trolley currently holds 14 laptops. We are hoping to gradually increase this number over time.

We have a number of laptops assigned specifically to individual pupils to cater for their learning needs.

So far we have 6 TABLET DEVICES which are used in the school library and for children with special educational needs mainly to help improve literacy. We hope to gradually increase this number over time.

Each classroom has access to 20 NINTENDO DSs for 1 hour per week. These are currently being used mainly to help improve numeracy and problem solving.

A NETWORK STORAGE DEVICE is used for storing and sharing educational software, resources, photos, videos, plans, policies and other useful documents between members of staff.

Our SERVER manages our range of IP addresses, user accounts and devices such as printers and scanners. It also serves as a central storage location for educational software and games and documents / projects created by pupils.

The school is fully NETWORKED and has a number of WIRELESS ACCESS POINTS.

Our SCHOOL WEBSITE (www.stthomas.ie) is used by staff and a team of specially trained students (Student Techies) to showcase examples of teaching and learning and events or activities that are happening in our school. Through the website parents can access important school documents and websites and pupils can access useful educational websites.

An INTERNAL SOFTWARE SOLUTION enables us to centrally store valuable pupil information including attendance records, behaviour records, assessment records, etc.

We use GOOGLE SUITE FOR EDUCATION as a tool to help boost student engagement, collaboration and productivity. This includes a staff Gmail system which allows members of staff to communicate with one other.

Recently, our school publicly broadcasted its first YouTube LIVE STREAM of an event in our school. We hope to use our webcams to carry out further broadcasts both internally between classes and externally with the public and other schools.

We also try as much as possible to use VISUALISERS, WEBCAMS, MICROPHONES, DIGITAL CAMERAS and CAMCORDERS for various projects and as tools to support teaching and learning.

ICT Challanges

1) Funding: Lack of funding to buy new equipment / replace old equipment and lack of technical support.

2) Broadband: Inadequate broadband / bandwidth

ICT Acheivements

We are proud of how much we are using technology as a tool to enhance teaching and learning. We have implemented ICT into many areas of our school life so far. As technology continues to evolve, we aspire to keep up to date with current and best practices. We will continue to embrace and develop ICT in our school to support teaching and learning. Our school has been awarded a number of FÍS Film awards to date. We are currently in the final stages of being officially recognised as a Digital School.

Solas Chríost

 

Scoil Mhuire Gan Smál

 

scoilmhuiregansmal

Scoil Mhuire Gan Smal

We are a disadvantaged school with 328 pupils from Junior Infants to 6th Class (ages 4 – 13). We are based just outside Dublin City Centre.

ICT Implementation

Our School has projectors in every room, a computer suite with 20 computers, laptops for every teacher, centralised mono/colour printing, visualisers and a top of the range WIFI network available to teachers and students alike. We also host Cyber Kids classes and use Lego WeDo from 1st class.

ICT Challenges

Our main challenge like most schools is funding to keep ICT resources up to date.

ICT Achievements

We were awarded as a Digital School of Distinction in 2015 and in 2009 we were awarded a computer room revamp as part of a Tesco schools competition.

Scoil Oscair
San Carlo SNS
Scoil Mhuire
St Patrick’s SNS
Scoil Phádraig
St Patrick’s BNS
St Brigid’s NS

 

St Brigid’s National School

In 2009 we were one of the first recipients in Dublin 15 of the Digital Schools Award. Since then we have invested heavily in a range of digital technologies with the aim of giving our pupils experience of as many different digital technologies as is technically possible and educationally worthwhile.

We constantly strive for excellence and this year we are delighted to have introduced a whole-school STEM initiative where classes from infants to sixth class complete carefully selected projects in our digital learning suite. Projects include digital art, digital story-telling, animation, programming and robotics through a team-teaching approach. It has been hugely successful this year not only in developing the children’s digital learning experience but also in terms of professional development. The team-teaching approach has effectively increased teachers’ confidence in integrating digital tools they may otherwise have no experience of into their teaching and learning. We are thrilled to have recently received confirmation of a forthcoming Plaque of STEM Excellence awarded by Science Foundation Ireland in recognition of our STEM work in St. Brigid’s.

As a result of our STEM initiative, this year we have invested in Bee-Bot robots, Lego Mindstorms and WeDo 2.0 Science kits. Fourth, fifth and sixth classes have experienced building and programming robots. We have also recently achieved one of our infrastructural aims for this year of implementing a wireless network solution throughout the school. We have a set of sixteen iPads which are timetabled for use by classes throughout the school. They are stored in a secure charging trolley that moves to the building as they are rotated around the school. In addition, we have a set of iPads for learning/language support use. Each classroom is equipped with a PC and we have Promethean interactive whiteboards in twenty-four of our thirty-two mainstream classes. Our four junior infant classrooms have Little Tyke computer stations which were awarded to us by IBM. We introduced the Aladdin pupil management system in our school approximately five years ago and our roll call is taken each day using this system.  Records are kept on each child, report cards are completed on-line and there is an easy transition between classes and all details are ready to hand.

Our digital learning suite has a network of nineteen PCs along with one overhead projector. Our school plans, policy and curriculum plans are computerised and on USBs which are supplied to each class teacher. Our school library system uses Junior Librarian cloud-based software so children scan books as they borrow and return them. They can also access their records at home.

St. Brigid’s has always had a strong history of participating in innovative technology projects, the most recent of which was Mindrising 2016. Fifth class pupils used Minecraft to re-create the area surrounding St. Stephen’s Green as their story was “How the ducks stopped the war on St. Stephen’s Green”(http://www.mindrising.ie/mindrising-2016-entries/2016/5/3/how-the-ducks-stopped-the-war-on-st-stephens-green-st-brigids-national-school-dublin). This project had significant cross-curricular links as collectively the children built the area around St. Stephen’s Green using Minecraft from a selection of maps and photographs.

Blogging is in use in a number of classes and digital photography is used throughout the school as each class level has their own digital camera.  Google classroom has been introduced in one of our sixth classes for assessment purposes and classes across the levels participated in this year’s Hour of Code with great success. Cybersafety talks to pupils from fourth to sixth classes were delivered last November by CyberSafe Ireland in addition to an evening talk for parents.

We are strong believers in celebrating success and we utilise both our school website http://saintbrigids.ie/wp/brigids/ and app to do so. In fact, we were one of the first schools in Ireland to develop a smartphone app for our school. In addition we utilise Flickr, Vimeo Pro and Twitter to effectively showcase pupils’ work and to communicate with parents and guardians. Our termly school newsletter is emailed to parents.

This is a brief overview of how, digital technologies are embedded in our school culture in St. Brigid’s as we strive to integrate the skills of 21st century learning into the teaching and learning process. We would be delighted to welcome you to our school and give you an insight into how effectively we use technology throughout our school.