Ennis Teachers Lead EU Technology Initiative

Ennis Teachers Lead EU Technology Initiative

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Ennis Community College teachers Niall Murphy, Lisa O’Brien, Ramona McCarthy, Sarah Doolan and Conor O’Brien

A delegation from Ennis Community College is in Italy this week to take part in a meeting of European educators working to develop new methods for the integration of technology in secondary education.

Their work will lay the foundation for a major conference on the use of technology in education, to be held in Ennis in October.

The Clare school is one of five from across Europe who are partners in the development of the Logged-On project, which is supported by Erasmus+, the EU’s programme to support education, training, youth and sport in Europe.

The other schools are from Norway, England, Spain and Italy.

A core group of teachers at Ennis Community College has been working on three case studies over the past 18 months, involving the integration of Internet and Communications Technology (ICT) in support of learning.

The idea is to use technology to help students to direct their own learning, at their own pace, while freeing up classroom time for more practical work, and more one-to-one interaction between teachers and students .

The programme builds on the digital skills students already possess, explains technology teacher Ramona McCarthy. “We must educate them for a world in which people take the lead in their own lifelong learning. This calls for a new approach to classroom work, away from ‘passive’ lectures, to a process where the students are more engaged in the acquisition of knowledge”.

“The Logged-On partner schools have been ‘road-testing’ these technologies and educational methods, identifying obstacles and best-practice”.

This week’s meeting in Pozza di Fasso, Italy, will see the final presentation of these case studies before the results are rolled out to other teachers at a series of in-service training courses, delivered across Europe and led by the core group. The first of these events will be held in Ennis from 23 – 27 October.

The Ennis teachers have piloted three technologies in their case studies: a technique known as ‘flipped classroom’, which uses videos to let students review new material at home so that active learning is prioritised during class time; a technology called Plickers which uses smartphones to enhance classroom assessments; and QR codes, which can be used to share web links easily with students’ smartphones.

A new video by Ms McCarthy demonstrates the technologies in action at Ennis Community College. The video can be accessed by scanning the QR code below, or by visiting enniscommunitycollege.com.

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Chief Reporter Pat Flynn has worked as a journalist for almost 30 years. His career began during the late 1980s when, like many aspiring radio presenters of the time, he worked for local pirate radio stations in Clare and Limerick. Pat joined Clare FM in 1990 where he worked as researcher initially and later presented several different programmes including the station's flagship current affairs programme. He was also the station's News Editor and Deputy Controller of Programmes. Despite leaving in 2003 to pursue a career as a freelance journalist, he continues to work with the station to this day. As well as being the Clare Herald’s Chief Reporter Pat is also freelance journalist and broadcaster, contributing to Ireland’s national newspapers and is a regular contributor to national broadcasters.

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