How about ICT for Learning this school year?

It’s that time of year again and we are all heading back to staff rooms and staff meetings for the new school year.  Why not put ICT on the staff meeting agenda?  How about showing this short video to the staff to remind your colleagues of the Living School Lab approach to encouraging ICT for learning.

Posted in In-school projects, Professional Development, Sharing expertise

LSL Regional Hub Award Winners

Regional Hub AwardWhile our award may be on display in the PDST Technology in Education office in DCU the award itself was earned by the innovation, hard work and commitment of the teachers in the Ireland Hub.

They worked really well together and stayed the course despite pressing personal and school commitments.

So, many congratulations to Sarah Jayne Carey, Gearóid Ó Duibhir, Ciarán Kennedy, Aelsa Carroll, Kieran Carey, Nigel Lane, Maria Broderick, Salvo Cacciato, Laobhaise Nic Áogáin, Aisling Ní Chonailligh and Raonaid Ní Chearnaigh.

LSL is an evidence based project and as evidence of our teachers networking, having fun and socialising at the Summer School 16th – 18th May here are two short video proofs 😉



Video | Posted on by

Well done Team Ireland!

Ireland Hub

8.30 am after the night before!

Congratulations to us! Delighted to be awarded winners of Best Hub at the Living Schools Lab Summer School last night at the gala dinner.

We celebrated in typical Irish style with a sing song into the wee hours of the morning and yet here we all are at 8.30 am raring to go for the final morning’s workshops on future plans for LSL!



Posted in Professional Development, Uncategorized

End of Year Targets in St Fintans

By the end of the school year the e-learning committee aims to have achieved the following:

1. Survey the teachers again about their use of Gmail and Apps

2. Compare these survey results with the one carried out in January, and write a brief summary for our plans

3. Survey the students’ experience with having a school email and Apps

4. Design and schedule peer training in September, whereby the committee members will each give a short workshop on different aspects of Apps that staff can choose according to their digital competence.

We are really pleased with the progress this year and look forward to seeing more exciting developments in the new school term.

Posted in Uncategorized

End Of Year Targets

With our iPads well up and running in St. Corban’s, and our netbooks in more regular use, we hope by the  end of the year.

  • to analyse what classes have been using the devices
  • to analyse what subject areas are being covered using the devices
  • to establish what CPD will be required for our staff to move forward
  • to establish if any further purchases are possible ahead of next year

Our students are thoroughly enjoying using the iPads and they are being put to great use in a number of classes. The aim for next year is that every class in the school will use them on a regular basis.


Posted in In-school projects, Mobile Technology | Tagged , ,

Summer School’s a comin’…

sunny image Imagine our surprise when from the 12 European countries in the Living Schools Lab Project, Ireland was selected as the venue for the Summer School!

We may not be able to promise summer weather but the 120 teachers and other participants have an action packed programme to look forward to from the 16th – 18th May in the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Dublin.

The opening keynote address will be given by Dr Anne Looney, CEO, National Council for Curriculum and Assessment on Friday at 15.00.  On Saturday morning each country will present its National Case Study and after lunch the Theme Groups will present their various projects on connecting teachers.

During the Summer School we’ll have digital reporters from Coláiste Bríde vblogging interviews with teachers from across Europe.  Follow their adventures on their Scoop Duck blog. 

The Summer School will close on Sunday by looking to the future and how we can grow the Living Schools Lab community.  Watch out for the hashtag #lsl_eu to see how we are getting along!



Posted in Professional Development, Sharing expertise

ICT and the Connected Maths Classroom

Thanks again to Maria Broderick from Coláiste Bríde in Clondalkin for her great webinar last week on ICT and the Connected Maths Classroom. Plenty of useful advice and tips on how to manage and teach via video conference as well as clear information on ICT tools that work for her and her students in their Maths teaching and learning. Fascinating.

Posted in How-to, Sharing expertise, Subject resources | 1 Comment

A spot of Springcleaning?

A hundred years ago we’d have been busy cleaning windows, washing floors and perhaps even whitewashing the barns to prepare for Springtime in Ireland.  Today, a spot of digital springcleaning might be a good idea and “Amazing Dave” could well provide some motivation!

Watching “Amazing Dave” might inspire the rest of the staff to tidy up their digital footprint, but where might one begin?

Running a Google search on your name is a good starting point to see if there is information or photos about you online that you’d like to remove.  Once you’ve springcleaned your digital footprint you could set up a Google Alert on your name so that you can monitor your online reputation.

Tuesday 11th February will see Safer Internet Day 2014 (#SID2014) celebrated in over 100 countries around the globe.  How about sharing these two checklists created for teachers, Professional Reputation and Using Technology with your school colleagues, to help them prepare for SID and a spot or two of springcleaning?

Posted in eSafety, How-to, Professional Development

No time for January blues!

networkingWe had a busy time of it here in the Ireland Hub during January.  Diana Bannister came to pay Observation Visits to our primary and post-primary Advanced Schools and attended our Focus Group Meeting on Wednesday 22nd.

Diana’s visit to Coláiste Bríde provided her with a first example across the network of a ‘live linked’ classroom.  She has visited ten of the Living Schools Lab network countries so far and has only two countries left to visit and observe.

Tuesday 21st saw Diana in Scoil na gCeithre Maistrí in Athlone where she was struck by the change management process at work in the school.  Gearóid, the Living Schools Lab lead teacher has introduced a simple but effective ICT Committee model which meets for a very focused 45 minutes twice each month.  You can read about his “FPT45” model in Diana’s account of her visit to Scoil na gCeithre Maistrí.

On Wednesday 22nd we held our full Hub Focus Group Meeting in the Invent Building in Dublin City University.  The meeting gave both the Advanced Schools and the Advanced Practioner schools the opportunity to share their in-school progress.  It was interesting to see how all the teachers involved in the Living Schools Lab project have brought about whole-school change of one kind or another through their work in the project.  The Minutes of the Meeting are too brief to really capture the enthusiasm of the Hub teachers who are encouraging their school colleagues to integrate technology across the curriculum and across their schools.

Posted in Action research, eLearning Team, In-school projects, Sharing expertise, Whole-school planning

Hub presentation…some thoughts

Our hub meeting last week has forced me (willingly of course!) to reflect on our journey so far in St. Fintan’s. In some aspects of the project I feel that we’ve made massive progress in a fairly short time. In only four years we have totally overhauled and updated our hardware and school network, taken on eportal at a whole-school level, and now as part of Living Schools Lab we have implemented a school-wide email and cloud network through Google Apps. Major changes!

Part of the Living Schools Lab project is to document and assess how these changes occur, and more importantly, how could another school learn from ours and make those same changes?

To be honest, it has happened so subtly, and has been so inherent within the staff and students that it’s almost impossible to track! But there’s no doubt, there has been a shift.

If I could sum it up in two words it would be these- baby steps!  In my short presentation last week, I mentioned the changes I would make if I was to begin this project again. Firstly I would adjust my expectations. Not lower them, I might add, just narrow the goalposts a little. To quote Gearoid, “money, money, money, time, time, time!” My job is to teach, and also to mind 90 Transition Years, and as enthusiastic as I am about this project and its implications for my school, I have found that each step has taken a lot longer than I imagined!

Back in August, myself and Shane presented to the staff about Gmail, and Drive, and how to add contacts, and how to share documents. All in 45 minutes! So the other change I would make would be to simplify this presentation. I would show two things a) how to log in to Gmail and b) how to set up a contacts group. That’s it! Because anyone who was fairly tech-savvy figured out the rest in their own time. And the people who weren’t only want to hear the basics anyway.

The success of this project so far is down to the staff and students. I’m stealing a phrase from Grainne here, but I’ve realised that a ‘filter-out’ approach is the key. I think teachers will try anything new if they can see the value of it for their students and if it makes their own life easier. And most students are so comfortable with ICT that it seems absurd not to make it a major part of their school life. Slowly but surely, word of mouth is increasing the number of users of Google Apps in the school.

Google Forms are a great way of gathering feedback from students and teachers. They have already been used to survey teachers and first years as part of our SSE plan. I’ve also attached a form that I sent out in January to see how Drive was going for the staff.

This week, a new eLearning committee has been set up and we’re having our first meeting on Tuesday. Our goals are simple and achievable. By Easter, each committee member will:

1. Set up a Contacts Group for all classes

2. Upload some (all?) resources into organised folders in Drive

3. Share resources with at least one class group

4. Receive work from at least one class group

5. Share any successes/useful websites/tips/issues in the Google Group

6. Promote among their subject department and friends!

So we’ll see how that all goes, and take it from there. By the end of this year I hope that all students will have used Apps in some way, and that the eLearning committee to start an Edmodo trial. Baby steps.

staff feedback form


Posted in Uncategorized