How One Teacher Used Tech to Transform Student Learning

a child reads a book

The increased use of technology in the classroom has made some parents and educators nervous about the negative impact it might have on their students’ education. There is always the chance that these devices may distract students if they are not used properly. Recently, parents and educators alike are seeing the overwhelming benefits of using technology in the classroom.

 

 

A study done by Lieberman Research Worldwide called “Parent’s Attitudes Towards Education Technology” showed very positive feedback from parents regarding “technology for school”. The study found that 67% of parents agree with the statement “I don’t mind my child spending more screen time if he or she is learning” and 79% feel that technology “Allows my child to learn at his or her own pace”.

 

Technology in schools, such as personal devices, can be used to adapt the learning environment to better suit the educational needs of each unique child. For instance, a device can make a previously boring subject interesting to a student by changing their perspective on it.

 

 

An article written by teacher Bryan Rossi discusses the success his students found when reading with the help of technology. In one case, a student was lacking the reading skills common for students her own age. The student began reading on a device using a read-to-me feature provided by EPIC! It was not long before she became so confident in her ability to read that she wanted to read the book on her own in physical form. The device allowed the student to alter the way they were learning and succeed in a previously difficult area.

 

In another case, a group of Mr. Rossi’s students that once disliked reading was able to discover books that interested them using the EPIC! online catalog. The search for books through the traditional library became discouraging for them, but using technology simplified the process. The group managed to find a fun and exciting book collection that made reading interesting and unintimidating. Mr. Rossi’s students are prime examples of the positive impact that technology integration can have on education. Read more about their experience here. 

 

Students may find some forms of learning mundane, but the use of edtech presents a new and exciting perspective. In some cases, students may lack confidence and consequently interest in a subject area. Edtech can help these students find their independence and gain enough confidence to explore an area of learning. It goes beyond a simple task or lesson! Technology in the classroom will open up many doors for students to explore as they grow and discover themselves and their interests.

 by Megan

Hibernia Introduces Robots to Irish Classrooms

Swivl robot

An interesting new project from teacher education provider Hibernia College has seen the introduction of robots to a number of classrooms across the country.

However, these robots are not there to help children learn but instead monitor trainee teacher performances for the purpose of assisting new teachers in improving their interactions with students.

The Swivl is a video observation robot that connects to an iPad or smartphone and can rotate and tilt, ensuring it captures every interaction between students and their teacher.

Trainee teachers must review their own performance in class as part of their training, something which can be a bit difficult to do at the best of times.

Swivl greatly simplifies this task by providing trainee teachers with a video log of every class, enabling them to efficiently and effectively review their own performances and find any areas of concern that require improvement.

Generally, when we think of EdTech we imagine education technologies that are designed specifically for the benefit of students, so it’s great to see an EdTech company working on solutions for teachers instead.

The Swivl robot is quite an innovative idea and one that could not only benefit trainee teachers but teachers in general, providing them with invaluable information they might miss during class e.g. which students are responding well to lessons, which are having trouble concentrating etc.

Hibernia College introduced Swivl robots to Irish classrooms just over three months ago so the project is still in its early days, but a quick visit to the Swivl website shows the robot is in use in more than 30,000 classrooms and universities across the world.

Hopefully we’ll start to see the implementation of other innovative EdTech projects in Irish classrooms in the near future.

The Importance of Parent-Teacher Communication

Header FAQs

One of the most important elements of a child’s educational journey is clear and regular communication between parents and teachers.

It’s vital for good communication to exist between both parties in order to guarantee that a child’s cognitive, social and emotional development is progressing naturally and without any issues.

Similarly, a parent’s involvement in their child’s education can greatly benefit the child, resulting in happy and curious kids who look forward to the challenges of school.

Parent involvement also helps to keep kids on track and make sure they’re reaching their full potential in all areas, from homework to exams, afterschool hobbies and more.

Regular communication between teachers and parents encourages parents to take an active role in their children’s studies, so it’s a good idea to start off on the right foot and make parents feel welcome in bringing any concerns they may have to your attention.

Parent-teacher meetings are obviously a great opportunity to discuss student performance and improvement, but they typically only take place a few times during the school year.

This can be detrimental to the student, particularly if they’re having difficulty in certain areas as problems may go unreported and become more of an issue as time goes by.

While many schools now offer a variety of methods for parent-teacher communication including by phone or email, only the iClass platform provides a completely free-to-use mobile app for parent-teacher communication.

It simplifies the entire communication process and ensures parents and teachers can get in touch with one another when needed.

The iClass Mobile App also allows for the dynamic publishing of news and events, both of which will help parents feel that they are fully informed of all related school activity.

Get in touch with us today to request a live iClassCMS demo or brochure.

2018’s Biggest EdTech Trends

Learning

Educational technology is set for another stellar year in 2018 and we will hopefully see further adoption of EdTech processes and resources in schools throughout Ireland.

To help you prepare for any new technology you may introduce to your school in the coming year, we’ve rounded up the biggest EdTech trends of 2018.

  1. Mobile Learning

Mobile learning simply refers to education and teaching conducted through use of portable computing devices such as smartphones and tablets.

It will possibly be the biggest EdTech trend of the year thanks to the increased use of smartphones and tablets in classrooms both in Ireland and the rest of the world.

Mobile learning empowers students by providing them with access to high quality learning materials and encourages learning through use of different media (text, video, audio etc.)

Mobile learning also greatly benefits educators as it generates large amounts of data on students’ studying behaviour and habits, data which can later be analysed and used to improve curricula.

  1. Internet of Things

The Internet of Things, or IoT as it’s also known, is the name for the network through which various computing devices are connected.

This includes everything from a smartphone to smart home appliances, and is generally used to describe the ‘system’ that allows devices to communicate with one another.

In the educational setting, the Internet of Things aims to simplify much of the learning process so teachers can spend more of their time engaging with students and preparing classes and less time on repetitive tasks such as correcting homework.

  1. Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is an alternative method for delivering IT services and one that utilises web-based tools and applications retrieved from the Internet as opposed to a physical server.

Cloud computing enables a great deal more of flexibility when it comes to IT services in addition to reducing the time it to takes to retrieve data and minimising IT costs.

It benefits schools by providing teachers and students with access to the Internet’s infinite repository of information for a very small fee and should see widespread adoption in 2018.

  1. Augmented and Virtual Reality

It may be a few years yet before augmented and virtual reality becomes commonplace in the school, but a number of Irish companies are exploring how this technology can be used in an education.

Augmented and virtual reality technology supports active learning as opposed to passive learning and is particularly useful in combatting limited attention spans.  

It can also increase a student’s understanding of complex theories and subjects through use of an immersive and visual experience that illustrates the information being conveyed to the student.

Tips: Social Media Do’s and Don’ts for Schools

Phone

When used correctly, social media can be an extremely effective tool for promoting schools and generating interest among parents.

It can also be used to update students, parents and teachers about school news and facilitate communication between parents and teachers.

Keep in mind the following when setting up a social media profile for your school and you will soon be enjoying the benefits that come with this type of promotion tool.

Do:

  • Consider your audience: there are a few different social media platforms but schools generally only need a Facebook and Twitter account, as these are the services chiefly used by students, parents and teachers.
  • Assign roles: it’s a good idea to assign one or two teachers or staff members to overseeing the school’s social media profiles, as daily activity is recommended for maintaining a positive image.
  • Implement routines: the person in charge of the school’s social media profiles should implement a daily routine consisting of reviewing comments and replying where needed, as this will ensure a consistent and respectable image.
  • Post pictures: post pictures of the school, sporting events, student activities and anything else that could help reinforce a positive image of the school.

Don’t:

  • Give students control: avoid allowing any student direct access to the school’s social media profiles, as this can understandably lead to issues down the line, but encourage them to interact via their own profiles.
  • Post inappropriate content: this may seem obvious but it does unfortunately occur from time to time, which is why it is so important to assign a teacher or member or staff with control of the profile.
  • Respond directly to posted issues: avoid responding directly to serious issues posted on the school’s social media profiles and instead acknowledge the comment and inform the user they will be contacted through traditional avenues (phone, letter etc.) to discuss the issue.

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iClass Owl Newsletter Issue 1 is Now Live!

Owl final logo

The first issue of iClass Owl, our brand new newsletter focused on educational technology (EdTech) and its impact on Irish schools, is now live!

iClass Owl is a free monthly publication that aims to keep teachers, administrators and educators up-to-date with the very latest happenings in the world of EdTech and how these new technologies will transform classrooms.

iClass Owl Issue 1 covers the latest school tech news, reviews the biggest EdTech trends you can expect to see making ground in 2018 and features a detailed look at STEM Workshop, CoderDojo.

Click here to sign up to the iClass Owl Newsletter.

iClassCMS Partners with FCSSPA for Launch of First Parent Module for School Website and Mobile App Platform

St Mary's College

iClassCMS, Ireland’s leading school website and app developer, in partnership with the FCSSPA yesterday launched an update to its school website and mobile app platform allowing parents direct access to a school’s website.

The update also permits Parent Associations to publish relevant news directly to all parents of enrolled students via the iClass app. As a result, iClass now fully engages all key participants in schools: teachers, students and parents.

The iClass Fully Integrated Mobile App for Parents facilitates free communication between schools and parents, allowing schools to pass on the latest school news and important information about events directly to parents’ smartphones completely free of charge.

Speaking about the launch of the Parent Module for the iClass platform, Mr Paul Beddy, President of the Federation of Catholic Secondary Schools Parent Associations said:

‘We welcome the development of a Parent Module for School Websites by iClassCMS.  This module will facilitate greater communication between parents and allow Parent Associations to share events, fundraising and parent association business to the wider parent community.’

Frank O’Grady, Managing Director of iClassCMS, spoke of the benefits of the module for schools:

‘We are delighted to partner with the Federation of Catholic Secondary Schools Parent Associations on our new Parent Module for iClass. This allows schools using the iClass Website and Mobile App solution to give access to the school website to members of the School’s Parent Association. They can contribute content and set up a dedicated Parent Assoc News Channel on the School App allowing all parents keep up to date with all that is happening.’

For more information, please visit www.iclasscms.com or contact 01-6918833.

Safer Internet Day 2018

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Safer Internet Day (SID) 2018, the EU wide initiative to promote a safer internet for all users but especially young people, took place yesterday, Tuesday the 6th of February.

More than 70,000 young people across the country joined the celebrations and we’re happy to report that hundreds of schools got involved too.

The theme for Safer Internet Day 2018 was ‘Create, connect and share respect: A better internet starts with you’, and resources were made available to schools for the purpose of educating students about how they can stay safe on the internet and counter cyber bullying.

These resources include a detailed PowerPoint presentation complete with videos and twelve fun and informative activities based around staying safe online, all of which can be found on the SID website under the Schools category.

Of course, Safer Internet Day is for everyone and as a result there are also high-quality resources for families containing invaluable information about social media, cyberbullying and filtering, plus the support needed to ensure everyone enjoys their time online.

Internet users are getting younger and younger which is why it’s so essential that we all work together towards a safer and more supportive internet.

It’s great to see so many schools and students taking this initiative seriously and we hope that as schools continue to integrate new technologies into the classroom more time will be spent on internet safety and how we can achieve it.

STEM Workshop: An Introduction to CoderDojo Part 2

Kids with laptop

Welcome to the second part of our STEM Workshop blog on CoderDojo, a global network of free, volunteer-led, community-based programming clubs for young people.

In part one, we took a look at the history and setup of CoderDojo, in today’s entry we’re covering the various benefits this STEM Workshop offers schools and students.

Encourage, Teach and Prepare

The benefits of introducing a STEM Workshop such as CoderDojo to your school are manifold:

  • Change how students perceive STEM subjects
  • Naturally encourage an interest in technology
  • Naturally encourage creativity and independence
  • Provide the tools and resources required to excel in STEM subjects
  • Teach students invaluable technology skills
  • Provide students with a more varied career path
  • Help students prepare for a constantly evolving world
  • Suited to people with no prior experience in this area

CoderDojo clubs are supportive, fun and positive environments in which students can learn and master the basic skills of programming.

It is one of the most successful STEM innovations in the world thanks to its forward-thinking and inclusive approach, and one that continues to greatly aid young people interested in technology.

For more information about CoderDojo, or to find out how to start a Dojo in your school, please visit coderdojo.com.

STEM Workshop: An Introduction to CoderDojo

Coder Dojo Dogpatch

As Ireland’s Information Communications Technology sector continues to go from strength, the importance of STEM disciplines becomes more apparent.

Ireland is the second biggest exporter of computer and ICT services in the world today and this is due, in part, to our highly skilled and knowledgeable workforce.

There are a number of STEM innovations operating in the country that teach students the basics of ICT in an accessible and straight-forward manner, encouraging their interest in this area through intuitive learning.

In the first entry of our STEM Workshop series, we’re taking a look at CoderDojo, a global network of free, volunteer-led, community-based programming clubs for young people.

What is CoderDojo?

CoderDojo was founded in Cork in 2011 by James Whelton and Bill Liao, two self-taught computer programmers who wanted to help young people learn how to code in a social setting.

Their goal is to give anyone aged seven to seventeen the tools and resources they need to learn how to code, build websites, create apps and games and better understand technology in a positive environment.

In the years since, more than 1,100 verified ‘Dojos’ have sprung up in 63 countries, helping young people all over the world to take their first steps in computer programming.

CoderDojo clubs typically run once a week for one to two hours per session, but this can vary from Dojo to Dojo.

School-run Dojos take place after school when the students are free from their daily studies and are run by CoderDojo approved volunteers.

Students attended a CoderDojo club can expect to learn a variety of programming languages including Python, Unity and Scratch, plus how to build and use computers such as Raspberry Pi’s.

As mentioned above, they will also learn how to build apps and games and gain knowledge in other related fields and disciplines, all of which is geared towards providing students with the skills and confidence to pursue a career in ICT.

Check back with us next week to see how STEM workshops like CoderDojo can benefit schools and students.