Minister for Education and Skills Richard Bruton T.D. recently announced that the Department of Education will soon publish a circular requiring schools to discuss the use of smartphones and tablets in schools with teachers, parents and students.

The use of smartphones by students while in school is something of a hot topic as of late and many schools are anxious for the issue to be addressed.

As part of the Education (Parent and Student Charter) Bill 2016, a new law requires all schools to discuss various issues with parents and students and to enact a Parent and Student Charter that complies with the national statutory guidelines, something which the smartphone issue falls under.

As part of the discussion, schools will be required to engage with parents and students in regards to several areas of this topic:

  • The appropriate use of smartphones and tablets in schools
  • The restrictions required to ensure proper usage
  • If schools should allow such devices to be used outside of class time

As noted by Minister Bruton at the Teachers Union of Ireland conference held on April 4th, the use of smartphones and tablets by young people is an area of concern for parents and teachers alike, so hopefully the oncoming discussion will prove fruitful for all parties.


iClassCMS is hosting an  online refresher course for iClassCMS users at 3pm – 3.45pm on Wednesday, 2nd of May.

This online refresher course is completely free for iClassCMS users to participate in and covers all the basics from adding content to using the app plus tips on how to get the most out of the iClassCMS platform.

To get involved, simply email with the subject ‘iClass Refresher’ and confirm your participation.

We’re sending out a reminder email next week, so please keep an eye out for it if you’d like to get involved.

iClassCMS is the most complete Content Management System for schools, providing your school with a best in class website and a fully integrated mobile app for parents.

The platform simplifies all of the processes involved in running a website and all actions can be completed in less than 60 seconds.

Thank you for your time and we hope you’re able to partake in the iClassCMS refresher course.

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.


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.


  • 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.


  • 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.

Click here to sign up to the iClass Owl Newsletter.

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.

Save the date logo

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.

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

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.