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
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 National School
We are a disadvantaged status school with 290 pupils, boys and girls aged 8 – 12. 22 teachers, suburban area.
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.
One of our challanges is inadequate broadband, no funding.
We were Ireland’s first Digital School of Distinction.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Muire Na Dea Chomhairle Infant School
An urban setting with 160 boys and girls.A staff of 13 teachers.
Use of interactive whiteboards, visualisers, digital cameras, easi speak mics, bee bot, flip camera.
Getting the necessary funding to keep all equipment in working order.
Use of school website as a showcase for pupils work.
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.
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.
Our main challenge like most schools is funding to keep ICT resources up to date.
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.
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.