Sancta Maria College, Louisburgh, boasts some very trendy equipment that has techie school-goers the length and breadth of the country green with envy. As part of a pilot project to promote modern technology in the classroom, the school is now using iPads as a new and innovative learning tool in the classroom.
“At Sancta Maria College, we feel it’s important to address educational needs and student performance as key element of education,” explains Ms Pauline Moran, school principal.
A Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) survey conducted by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) found that Ireland has fallen behind other countries on reading and maths and is now placed 17 on the reading level and 26 in maths. The survey measures international standards in literacy, numeracy and science.
According to Ms Moran, the aim of the introduction of the iPads is to buck that trend: “Reform is key to improving Ireland’s PISA scores. We need to encourage our children to read more and to improve our maths results internationally. The introduction of iPads is viewed as a means of improving reading and numeracy skills. Most students spend a great deal of time in front of a screen and we need to make this time educational … students get to embrace digital technology that will stand to them in the future.”
So how are the students finding the technology? An obviously impressed first-year student Liam Mooney likes the fact that “it can be your books and your computer at the same time.” Another student, Caera Grady said the iPad is ‘very handy’ and ‘not as heavy as books in my bag’.
In school we use the latest technologies as part of teaching and learning. We employ a visualiser which you can see being used in the slideshow above, by students in a Maths lesson. Miss Walsh's Irish classes have just laucnhed their new in-school t.v. channel, 'Gaeilge ag SMC'. The students use a recording device called Flip Ultra to record clips of teachers and students speaking Irish. You can read more about the antics of the Irish department on our site Gaelige, just follow the link for subjects. IT is a significant part of every-day school life here in Sancta Maria. Our state of the art computer suites allow the students to learn programmes such as CAD and web design. Currently, our TY students alongside subject teachers. are designing websites for each subject taught in the school.