Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Valuing Education Campaign

The Minister of Education for N. Ireland has launched the Departments new three year campaign aimed at raising standards.  The campaign is designed to support the raising standards agenda (and particularly the efforts to tackle underachievement) by securing public understanding, engagement and support for the work of schools. It aims to raise awareness of and promote the value of a good education whilst encouraging parents to aspire to a better education and future for their children. The key theme of the campaign is "Get Involved Because Education Works".
The Department has developed a website which provided parents with useful tips on how to play, talk, read and count with their children.  Check out the website at the address below:

Monday, 30 July 2012

10 top tools for teaching ICT in Primary School

Whether you want to make music, edit photos or create a game, ICT guru and author Ian Addison recommends his favourite online tools for getting creative in class.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

The power of TED

Good quality,relevant and attractive resources for young people can sometimes be hard to find on the internet, nevermind accessing them in a format where you can tailor them to fit the needs of your face to face classroom. However TED of TED talks fame have solved all that with their new bespoke website for education - - "lessons worth sharing". Over 90 videos are currently available - these are either taken directly from the TED talks site or they are animations of talks given by other experts. Each video is supported by a quiz, questions to get students thinking and then some even deeper questions to provoke further thought and discussion - remember Bloom's Taxonomy! However TED-Ed takes it all one step further by allowing you to "flip" the material - you can edit it to suit exactly what you are teaching. You can even go one step further and use the website to take any useful video from YouTube, add quizzes and extended questions and once you have saved it to your personalised account you can keep track of which students have used the material.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Open Education for a Global Economy

If you or your kids have taken an online lesson at the Khan Academy (3,200 video lessons, 168 million views), been enlightened by a TED Talk (1,300 talks, 800 million views), watched a videotaped academic lecture (Academic Earth, Open Courseware Consortium, Open Culture), enrolled in a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course, now being offered by companies like Udacity and a growing list of universities, including M.I.T., Harvard and Stanford), or simply learned to play guitar, paint a landscape or make a soufflé via YouTube — then you know that the distribution channels of education have changed — and that the future of learning is free and open.(Article by David Bornstein)
Read More

Friday, 25 May 2012

Cookstown High School 'Eco Smart'

Daniel Brown, Joel Glendinning, Anona Weir and Rachel Woodward, members of the 'Outside the Box' team who designed the winning app,
Eco Smart at the Universty of Ulster's 'App Camp'.

An innovative outreach project by the University of Ulster to promote STEM subjects (Science Technology Engineering and Maths) to secondary schools has helped pupils from Cookstown High School think ‘outside the box’ to come up with a novel solution to recycling.

Around 80 Year 11 and 12 pupils from 10 different schools across Northern Ireland took part in the University’s first ever WiCADET camp (Widening Access through Computing Apps Development Training. During the 10 week ‘app camp’, teams each had to design a new market ready computer app.

Cookstown High School’s team, ‘Outside the Box’, made up of team members Daniel Brown, Joel Glendinning, Anona Weir and Rachel Woodward and their mentor, Jennifer Gillespie, came up trumps with their recycling app, ‘Eco Smart’ to lift the coveted App Camp 2012 top prize award.

Their award winning app ‘Eco Smart’ has already generated interest among local councils keen to promote recycling. PhD student, Jennifer Gillespie, who mentored the winning Outside the Box team, explains that the aim of the app was to create greater awareness among the general public about the importance of recycling.

“We did some initial research to get a better understanding as to why some people do not recycle and took this into account when developing the app.

“The app includes an information page explaining what items of rubbish to place in the different coloured bins; a video showing the importance of recycling; and a ‘drag and drop’ game to aid understanding. It also includes links to other local councils, recycling websites and Google maps to indicate the nearest recycling points.”Outside the Box’s award winning app, Eco Smart is a free app which can now be downloaded from the Android

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Online Learning Graduation for Northern Ireland

Left to right back row: Francis McVeigh OLTE Graduate, Lismore Comprehensive School, Craigavon, Mr Oliver Mooney, Principal, St Paul’s High School, Bessbrook, Geraldine Pettigrew, Principal, Our Lady’s Grammar School, Newry, Joe Corrigan, Principal, Lismore Comprehensive School, Mr Ciaran McCrumlish, OLTE Tutor, Assistant  Advisory Officer for eLearning and ICT, SELB.

left to right front row: Ciara McCoy, OLTE Graduate, St Paul’s High School, Bessbrook,Alanna Patterson, OLTE Graduate, Lurgan Junior School, Lurgan.

On the 22nd March 2012, the Regional Training Unit (RTU) for N Ireland, celebrated its final graduation for the Online Learning and Teaching for Educators (OLTE) Programme in the Craigantlet Room, Stranmillis University College Belfast.  This year seventy six post-primary teachers from across Northern Ireland schools successfully completed the RTU’s Online Learning and Teaching for Educators (OLTE) Programme.  The keynote speaker at this year’s ceremony was Mr John Anderson, Managing Inspector ETI.  Mr Anderson paid tribute to the success and quality OLTE has achieved over the years, in particular he said, "One of OLTE’s strategic gains has been to disseminate OLTE graduates’  e-learning knowledge and skills and consequently widen curriculum choice and foster collaboration across schools.   And in that it has been most successful BECAUSE OF OLTE, WE ARE SET UP FOR ONLINE AND DIGITAL SUCCESS ".  A highlight of the ceremony was Ms Alanna Patterson, teacher and OLTE Graduate from Lurgan Junior High School, who gave a presentation on her experience of delivering her online GCSE Music course to students.   
The Regional Training Unit (RTU) developed the OLTE programme in 2003 to meet the Department of Education’s (DE) requirement for a continuous professional development (CPD) programme that would help address the overarching goal of the Education Technology Strategy “That all young people should be learning, with, through and about the use of digital and online technologies”.  The OLTE programme, which focuses on the development of online tutors skills, is accredited at Level 4 by the National Open College Network.  The participants complete 3 progressively challenging units:  Unit 1- Introduction to Online Tutor Skills, Unit 2 - Design, implement and tutor an online lesson and Unit 3 - Design, implement and tutor an online programme.  To date the final number of OLTE graduates is 154 teachers from 95 post primary schools.  They have provided more than 2000 participants with first-hand experience of learning in an online environment.   From 2007/08 the Department of Education funded post-primary teachers’ places on the OLTE programme.  Teachers were able to avail of a CPD programme which requires them to reflect on their practice, develop resources, plan for delivery, teach and assess their pupils in an online environment.  This valuable CPD opportunity allows teachers to revisit many of the GTC Professional Competences and can be used towards Performance Review and Staff Development (PRSD) requirements.  The current OLTE Graduates developed and delivered a variety of online courses to pupils from across a range of post-primary schools including, for example, aspects of GCSE Music, GCSE Geography, GCSE Irish, and AS Psychology.    The Online Learning and Teaching for Educators (OLTE) Programme has now come to an end but there is a significant pool of qualified teachers within the education sector who are in a position to continue developing online courses for schools.  This is evidenced by the OLTE Graduates who have gone on to develop online courses in AS Product Design, AS French, GCSE Irish, AS History and BTec Engineering for blended-course delivery.

Friday, 9 March 2012

Cookstown P7 Wiki Awesome Giants

The pupils from Cookstown Primary School are developing their latest collaborative wiki project based on the theme of Awesome Giants.  The students of P7 research, plan and develop their preparation for an animated digital video production using the wiki platform.  Check out their work using the link below.
Awesome Giants

iPhone App Development

Check out the latest new free course available on the Alison online learning resource. The course is pitched at Level 3 and should take 10 - 15 hours to complete for the average learner. iPhone App Development Course

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Raspberry Pi Computer

The Pi is a small computer based on a single motherboard. It is not immensely powerful – hardly a surprise at about £25 a unit.

Read the story here:

Monday, 30 January 2012

TeachMeet Belfast 2012

TeachMeet is an un-conference ‘for teachers, organised by teachers’, and this year for the first time it is being held in N. Ireland.  Come along to the CELIL building in Stranmillis College on Friday 2nd March at 18.00 - 20.30 where the organisers are hoping to welcome as many interested (and interesting) teachers as possible to the event where they will have the opportunity to either present something that they’d like to share with their fellow professionals, or simply enjoy the evening and take home some great ideas.

To find out more check out the wiki:

or contact Dáithí Murray from St. Paul's High School Bessbrook by email or twitter:

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Northgate Named As Preferred Supplier For Education Network NI Contract

Newtownabbey based Northgate Managed Services (Northgate) has further cemented its reputation as one of the UK’s leading providers of ICT services by being named as Classroom 2000’s (C2k) preferred supplier for the new ‘Education Network Northern Ireland’ (ENNI) contract. The news was announced today at BETT 2012, Europe’s largest education ICT event in London