Speaker announced: Leo McCloskey

Leo McCloskey of Termoncanice School shall be speaking at the conference. Here is an article written by him showing how technology has revolutionised his school, for the better!  To see the origional blog post see http://sosgroupblog.blogspot.com/2009/07/spotlight-on-termoncanice-primary.html

Spotlight on Termoncanice Primary

Back in 2005 SOS GROUP sold Termoncanice Primary School over 20 Promethean Interactive Whiteboards. We installed and trained them on how to use them…..and they haven’t looked back since. They have now reached the heights of creating a digital creative classroom, pupils creating animated videos and exploring the world of Apple iMacs including software such as garageband, imovies and idvd. They have also invested in our brilliant learner response devices ACTIVvote and ACTIVexpression. This is a school that is unquestionably committed to academic excellence through ICT

Apples Blooming In Granny’s Garden!!

Termoncanice Primary School has a wide array of educational ICT equipment but as yet they haven’t got a machine that will travel back 20 years in time!! While my hair may be arctic blonde and the forehead looks like a page in an exercise book, fortunately the memory hasn’t gone…… yet!!

Back in 1989, when I started teaching , the old BBC computers were all the rage and Granny’s Garden was at the cutting edge of gaming technology in schools. A Computer disc looked like the microfilm in a spy movie. In time schools moved on to the Archimedes, the A3000 and the A500. Programmes such as Pendown and Our Facts were the forerunner for Word and Excel respectively. When the PC’s arrived notice board’s were filled with lovely stories printed in coloured ink, each paragraph a different colour. In time, I, like many of my peers, reckoned I had the full capabilities of the computer sussed. Powerpoint, Excel, Textease, Paint etc were used in a variety of lessons. There was nothing knew to be learned… or so I thought!

When I was told by the principal Mr Seamus Coyle that I was getting an Interactive Whiteboard I said “Great!”, what I meant was “What’s on earth is an Interactive Whiteboard??”. ( having sussed the full potential of a PC I couldn’t admit the truth!!).The board arrived in my room in Easter 2005 and my class were spellbound by this technological marvel. One pupil was on the verge of tears when the installation was delayed by a day. In a short time all of the staff were smitten by my the IWB and were convinced of it’s benefits.

One year later all twenty two classrooms in Termoncanice had an interactive whiteboard. All the permanent members of staff are trained to at least Promethean Level 2 standard. I attained Level 3 in September 2008 and some other staff members are working towards this level. The boards and the training represent a huge commitment from the principal in terms of money and time. Prior to the new curriculum it showed the school placed ICT on a level footing with Mathematics and Literacy. The IWB’s are only one part of Termoncanice’s commitment to academic excellence through ICT. We have invested in the Activ Voters and Active Expression voters which compliment the boards. The voting pods have tremendous learning potential for children across the curriculum. I have used them in end of term Maths tests, results are not only instant but they provide diagnostic information. I might even go as far as to say they made testing fun. Termoncanice have a well equipped ICT suite so that children can spend some time every week learning other subjects though the use of ICT. The C2K platform has been used extensively in all lessons in a bid to make the learning context more interesting. Pupils have produced websites, movies, animations and composed their own music using the ICT equipment available to them.

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ICT coordinator Mr Eamon Toner is a busy man. On a day to day basis he ensures that teachers not only avail of the superb computer suite but also the Bee Bots , Roamers and other control devices in the school. He has also spent the last two years as part of the Mediascape project. Eamon, his class and learning support teacher Miss Hilda Quinn, have been customizing PDA’s so that they can tell parts of The Lighthouse Keepers Lunch story when certain Hotspots are reached around the school. This project incorporates ICT, Literacy and Art. Kevin Coyle has been mentoring all participants through this exciting and challenging technological journey Termoncanice lead a cluster of other schools in a pilot exploring the use of Apple Computers. The staff involved were trained in the use of the apple and given themes such as Bullying to explore via the Apple Mac. The results were excellent and shared between schools when they met together.

Learning support teacher, and Vice Principal, Mary Harron used programmes such as Comic Life and I Can Animate to great effect. When Mrs Harron organised the Summer Literacy School in 2008 I was invited along to enhance the Literacy experience through ICT. Plays were filmed, animations of the American Civil War were created and an excellent Punch and Judy show was captured on film. In the room next door to where I started teaching is the new Digital Creative Classroom. The room is equipped with 12 iMacs, a place where technology meets creativity. The IWB is connected to an iMac so that teachers can show the pupils how to avail of programmes such as iMovie, Garageband, iDVD etc.

In the middle of the room an area has been provided to shoot movies and produce animations. The green wall allows the film editors to put a host of different backdrops into the finished product. A sound proof booth facilitates the creation of podcasts and will be the ideal location for final editing of movies and animations. As Literacy coordinator I am excited about the potential for the subject in this room ICT is embedded into the culture as well as the curriculum in Termoncanice. After twenty years it’s nice to see Apples blooming in Granny’s Garden!!

Leo McCloskey

Termoncanice P.S

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One response to this post.

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Catherine Riordan, ITL Festival. ITL Festival said: Speaker announced: Leo McCloskey: http://wp.me/pQmiB-9P […]

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