28 December 2015

Study Hub -Open access to ICT for an inclusive educational environment.

All schools need a study hub to create an open plan learning environment, based on 3 MOOCs and CPD I have done....click on link below....love to share....


25 November 2015

Our study hub...open access to ICT in our school

Our Study Hub evaluation:
We installed our study hub at the end of April, but it is only this academic year we see the impact it is having on our students. The study hub is located in the main assembly area which is always supervised at break/lunch time. Its primary aim is to encourage independent learning for both second level and PLC students. This open access study hub is primarily focused on equality, as 60% of our first and second year students have iPads, we are conscious of providing access to ICT to all students.
The key aims of the study hub
Enable students who do not have ICT access or iPads to do homework on PC and save to google drive.
This is slowly working, students must have a few days to do the homework. They also have ICT classes to complete work but we want to see the students working independently on the study hub.
2.Students using the study hub for extra curricular work and projects. This creates a learning environment whereby other students see work being done at the study hub.
To date students have used study hub to complete the Formula 1 project and the Student enterprise business plan.
3.The hub is used for learning support for PLC and second level support.
When classes are on, this area is quiet and spacious, students like working there. Some students may be on PCs while others can sit at nearby desks if necessary.
4.PLC students use the hub during free classes.
This is working well and while so many people seem to use the hub it is never over crowded as it is being used at different times. We have night classes, PLC students have access to the hub on those two nights.
Teachers also use the hub, mind you we would like a hub in the staff room!!
Overall, the study hub is a success, having read, write gold software and inspiration mindmaps for student use. I want to further develop the study hub so am thinking about how to do that....I welcome any suggestions in this regard.

14 November 2015


My review of "Power up Thurles".

It was a comprehensive inservice with a short duration from 10am to 1pm with just a short break. All of which appealed to me as I hate wasting my valuable time. What I liked was that when apps were demonstrated David compared the pros and cons of each app which enabled me to decide which one would suit my needs best. eg. Edpuzzle is  good for primary schools while Blendspace best for post primary as allows for more integration with other apps.

If I was to do an exit card, these are 3 sites/appsI will use again. Ok well maybe 4!




mentimeter free and easy to use.

To gather, interpret and use information from students...

Work on Any device
Socrative free and can take any amount of responses   http://www.socrative.com/  
Start a quiz
quick question
space race and exit tickets
when you sign in you get login number that stays the same....

explaineverything app

Show me app

CREATE A TEACHER PAGE . will work on any browser
library in kahoot so you can share..


Edpuzzle good for primary school
Blendspace best for post primary as allows for more integration.


Create free teacher account and set up what websites you use regularly....symbaloo

to share and manage tasks with other people

4 November 2015

ePortfolio course via PDST

I highly recommend this ePortfolio course for teachers in Ireland, there are 5 modules and it estimates 5 hours duration at your own pace.  There are videos of best practice and text to work through, periodically a padlet with a question allows for teacher  interaction.  

I am only on module 2 but as I was eager to progress I never saved some videos and content from module 1 and now that I have completed it, I can’t seem to get back into it.  So save as you go!  Definitely worth doing.

ePortfolios: Using digital tools for content creation, collaboration and assessment (Post Primary)


Duration: 5 hours
Course start and end dates: 5-10-15 to 18-12-15.

29 September 2015

Extract from Future Learn- Computer Science (CS) MOOC

I wondered what/how ICT is taught in the UK so I am doing this MOOC.....at the end of week 2 I had to do an assignment.  
The task involved using the following website and choosing a game/application to create/plan a lesson from.....
The lesson must state the target student, I choose KS3 (12-14Yrs old)
state the objective from the UK syllabus and state where peer learning will occur.
This is my lesson http://bit.ly/1MBUcEo      I can use this lesson with my TY students.  I submitted my assignment and then received one to correct.  But I did not learn much from the first one so I corrected 5, I learned something from 3 of them.   So the learning process is dependent on other teachers, I found the forum is a valuable source of information and a good way to make new contacts.

Lesson 2 included a  video from a secondary school, showing a ICT class where the teacher had students working on minecraft to demonstrate logic gates, Makey Makey kits and Kinect, and scripting in a virtual world (scratch like interface).  Much of this technology  is unavailable in my school but also think managing such diverse programs simultaneously would be a challenge for me!  But what is noticeable, are students in Ireland being exposed to such technology and/or are we falling behind our neighbours.  
Anyway just finished week 2, have 4 more to go so I will keep on learning!!  

Summary and key websites:
In September 2014, a new curriculum began in schools in England, with the aim of preparing pupils better for life after school in the 21st Century. 
The new curriculum puts a clearer emphasis than before on three core areas. 
  • Computer science - how computers work and how to write algorithms and solve problems to eventually create a computer program.
  • Information technology - how data is represented and managed on computers.
  • Digital literacy - how to understand digital information and interact with it safely and appropriately.
Lesson plan for CS in secondary school
Learning objectives could be  distinguish by:
All students:           Debug simple program 
Most Students:       Write a program for a purpose  
Some Students:       To use repetition and if functions in programs

Worth looking a BBC bitesize:

I found the forum excellent and learned a lot from other teachers on what worked for them and they shared resources...
 Another teacher recommended this course for explaining CS.

Another teacher recommended 

Lesson 2
When introducing new concepts, focus on key words, with written explanations..could use worksheets
Model and demonstrate:  debug a programme, find creative commons info on a website.
Encourage independence-problem solving
Facilitate pupil to pupil interaction.....'learning partners' or in some schools they have 'digital ambassadors' older kids teach younger kids.
Summarise learning outcomes at various stages during the lesson, to help student self assess.

from another teacher  @UCCSEd

Seymour Papert’s groundbreaking book Mindstorms, about how computing develops thinking.

Jeremy Kubica’s Computational Fairy Tales, a quirky but interesting read. This is an optional reading for the course.

teachers comments
"When I was at school I was told that "computers don't think and don't solve problems." The only thing they can do is to recognize numbers "1" and "0." This premise helps us to develop computational thinking."

"part of computational thinking requires you to "think" like a computer. Here are a couple of aphorisms I like... 
The question of whether computers can think is just like the question of whether submarines can swim.  ~Edsger W. Dijkstra
A computer will do what you tell it to do, but that may be much different from what you had in mind.  ~Joseph Weizenbaum"

for coding and debugging elements of the curriculum.

However there are many coding environments which can be run from an iPad such as Scratch Jr, the Bee-Bot app, Hopscotch and the Code Academic app. The touch screen and drag and drop interfaces make accessing simple coding activities much easier.

Computational thinking for SEN 

Logic Gates

Computing lessons that promote learning effectively are active and participatory. There are five key aspects of the lessons that promote learning in this way:
  1. They get off to a clear start. The teachers build on pupils’ existing learning and rehearse familiar concepts with the pupils before they move on to something new.
  2. The teachers set clear objectives using subject specific vocabulary. Computing has a subject-specific vocabulary just like other areas of the curriculum Some of these words will be totally new perhaps, like ‘debug’ and others might not be new, but have different meanings in the context of computing.
  3. Lessons include ‘off screen activities’ to support pupil learning. It is especially import for pupils to understand the relationship between the code and something happening on screen, and often the best way to get this across is to move away from the screen and into the physical world. In the early stages of computing in Primary schools, learning is often off screen, using programmable toys. As the curriculum progresses into the Secondary phase, concepts are applied in more abstract settings
  4. When pupils are debugging ready-made code blocks this is a powerful form of learning – it develops the crucial skill of problem solving. This is bit like taking apart a model to understand how it is made and it means that pupils can make changes to the code, like changing the distance a sprite travels or costumes, and see the effect immediately. Trial and error is a major way that pupils learn to program.
  5. Pupil to pupil learning is important, and successful teachers give lots of opportunities for this to happen. Teachers have also found that if they use freely available software, pupils can download it and practice their skills at home.

Digital Literacy

Small basic

23 September 2015

Using the PDST ePortfolio template(via google sites) to help integrate ICT

The link below shows our objectives regarding how we will integrate ICT in the English classroom for 1st and 2nd year students.  We team teach for one of the English classes so our foremost aim is to teach English and our secondary aim is to use ICT skills to enhance learning. We have access to a computer room.
Additionally, we have a study hub of 5 computers in an open access area(lunch area) and we hope students will work on those if they do not have ipads or internet access at home.  We want to be able to give homework and enable students to research outside of class.  So far the study hub is being under utilised, the hub was installed at the end of May so we need to train students to use it.  
This is the plan and we will evaluate it as the year progresses.  We decided to use the PDST ePortfolio template this year as they know more than me so hope to learn something from them!
To access the template

13 September 2015

How to collate & share CPD via Google Sites

I believe that attending an inservice can be futile unless, I use the new information straight away in class or I record it so it can be referenced at a later stage.   Last term I started compiling useful information omitting any verbosity.  The purpose of this site is primarily for my benefit and to extend the lifecycle of the CPD.
It can be shared with other teachers so either they may use the information gathered or based on my summary they could decide to attend the inservice/teachmeet the following year.

My CPD site......


Handout explaining how to create the site..


7 September 2015

My Google site to help integrate ICT in the classroom

To facilitate the gathering of information from twitter and other sources, I create this site.  Thus enabling me to collect and synthesize data in a meaningful way.  It includes blooms taxonomy, editable graphic organisers, creative commons, and so on...


31 August 2015

Reflection on teaching Google Sites (ePortfolio) and Google Classroom to Teachers.

This morning I had the chance to teach google sites (1 hour) and google classroom(1 hour 15 mins)to my colleagues.  The google sites handout was used as a guided example as each teacher set up their own pages related to their subject area.  So by the end of the class everyone had a basic class site. Challenges encountered included getting used to switching between screens. eg the google site page is open and a new tab to search the internet for content, and then copy and paste it back.  Overall this class went well as we progressed through the handout and each person created their own site.
I casually asked a few people afterwards, will you use sites in your class?  While people liked it, they might use it depending on time available.  Others said they will create and share a site among teachers in  their department.  So the main thing is if and when people want to use it, I can help them.

Google sites (Class website)  handout for Teachers


Google sites (ePortfolio) handout for students


After a break, we worked through this google classroom handout.  I found this more challenging, I think the handout is too complicated in some areas. eg the student task.   It can be confusing initially distinguishing between what the teacher and student will see.  So I thing when introducing google classroom a simple announcement with specified resources (eg. find youtube video) from the internet uploaded and let the teacher make their own assignment to match the announcement.  We completed the handout but just feel it could have been better. In any case people know I will help them anytime if they want to use it.

Once again, casually asked a few people did they like it, most people were impressed with Google Classroom and the following are the key aspects they like.

Once you set the date and time for the assignment due date, then the student assignment whether completed or not will automatically be submitted.

Once the student assignment is submitted, then the student can view only and the teacher has editing access to the document.  If the assignment is submitted before the deadline date then the teacher can allow the student to improve and resubmit it, but not after the deadline date.  Think we like this as it takes the onus of the teacher to accept projects after that date.  It seems a fair system.

Once an announcement is created eg. presentation, youtube, etc this can be copied for another class.

Google Classroom handout for teachers:


Google Classroom student task:


23 August 2015

For any teacher thinking of using Google Classroom -

I have created this instructional handout for teachers of any subject, the general topic of internet safety is such that all teachers can relate to it.  The handout is designed for what I would describe as 'My generation' (generation x)  while I like watching a youtube clip to learn, I long for an explanation with screenshots so I can learn for myself.  So even if you don't use Google classroom it is worth looking at the instructional handout anyway.

Instructional handout:

Student task and marking scheme explained

7 August 2015

Reflection on CPD

Review of Teaching and Learning for the 21st Century (TL 21) (2014/2015) 
Duration 2 years. (TL21 can be used as part fulfillment of a Masters in Education)

I found the TL21 experience a challenge (regarding commitment) but so worthwhile, it involved a number of visits to Kilkenny Educational Centre, access to a  number of speakers, including Professor Jean McNiff who furnished us with information regarding action research.  Our theme was assessment for learning (AFLs) and each of the six schools chose different AFLs and tested them in their classrooms.  I loved the idea of learning from other schools and collaborating, we presented our findings and gave honest accounts of what worked well.  I believe that if links between the schools could be sustained for future collaboration/sharing this would be beneficial, I have maintained contact/sharing with one teacher from another school, but I am not sure if sustainable links have been established between schools overall.
Our school worked on evaluating the use of ePortfolios in the English classroom to improve students spelling, grammar and punctuation.  My role was to team teach with the English teacher with the aim of integrating ICT, this is our presentation....          http://bit.ly/1EyJc8w

TL 21   2014/2015.....Notes...

Review of Future Classroom Scenarios  (2014)
#FCScourse (MOOC) Future Classroom Scenarios -  European Schoolnet Duration 6 weeks (2hrs pw)

This online course gave an insight into the use of ICT to engage and stimulate interest among students by changing teaching pedagogy.  It comprised of examining classroom layout, creating learning stories, rubrics, flipped classroom and how to foster independent learning.  I had to create a learning story and test it out, with time constraints it was a challenge but achievable. Looking at the learning story now(a year later) there are things I would change/improve. The hyperlinked learning story is below. Twitter was used as a means of collaboration. Part of the course involved assessing two other teacher's learning stories under given criteria.

My Learning Story:

This is Juan Carlos Villatoro's learning story - English and Physics.  I have his permission to share this.


28 May 2015

Féilte, ICTedu, EUFolio and The Excited Conferences

This academic year I attended 4 educational/ICT conferences. These conferences must be of high educational value because they are at the expense of me spending time with my children. 

One of my highlights was Féilte, where teachers showcased their use of ICT in the classroom.
I felt that these teachers were keen to share ideas that worked for them without expecting anything in return.  I wanted to be part of this sharing and collaborating experience and consequently as the year went on Julianne (English teacher) and I presented a workshop at ICTedu and showcased student work at excited.ie.

After attending these conferences I feel they are aimed at 3 key audiences.  Those who are completing action research where they share their findings.  Those who share what they find beneficial in their classroom.  Finally, those teachers who are heavily involved in ICT. 
So just to say thank you to you all. I had a great year!

16 April 2015

Summary of workshops I  attended at #ICTedu 25/04/2015


Our presentation on using GAFE for eportfolios


Twitter for teachers:
A guide to using twitter for teachers who are not using it yet!
Additionally, some teachers are on twitter but they don't tweet. In any case this guide may be useful.

Using edpuzzle as an AFL in class.  I used edpuzzle in both Business and ICT class, found it worked very well.

Student task: Doing a google search and creating awareness of Copyright and Creative Commons. I am still in the process of working on this but students seem engaged with it.


Useful Websites: To facilitate independent Learning.


23 March 2015

Using Youtube to enhance learning

Reflection on using youtube to enable my students to learn/revise at their own pace at home and in class.

I started with the ratios videos.  The first time I showed a video one student  said (before even seeing the video) "Its 11 minutes long!".  I have read that 7 to 10 minutes is the ideal length before people lose interest.  So perhaps I could have made this into 2 videos but its one exam question, so to ensure continuity I kept it in one.  I am not sure whether my students just need to get used to this way of learning (after all they can pause and restart the video), or perhaps I  should try to shorten the videos I make from now on.
Another option is to use edpuzzle, this would allow me to insert AFLs during the video.

I used the free version of    http://www.screencast-o-matic.com/ but the volume seemed to be low. I then upgraded to the pro version for only $15 per annum, the volume is louder and I can do basic editing eg Highlight sections and use a freehand tool. However, it takes some practice to write with the freehand tool.

I noticed that I said "that gives us" instead of that equals when doing calculations.

Students Feedback: They say the videos are helpful but some do not have internet access at home.

1. Tax question duration: (duration 6.27 mins)
Contains explanation of 1 question, then 3 questions for students to work on just showing them the final answer.
Spreadsheet with Tax Question solutions..

Youtube video

2. Ratios part 1 (duration 11.14 mins)
Contains explanation of how to do exam questions, includes theory and calculations.

Google presentations version

3. Ratios Part 2 (duration 11.33 mins)
Contains explanation of how to do exam questions, include theory and calculations.


Google presentations version

Break Even Point (duration 10.03 mins)
Contains explanation of how to do BEP analysis and draw a BEP chart.

Google Presentations

Creative Commons License
Break Even Point by Miriam Bergin is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at https://youtu.be/72fYkkFOYh8.

Reflection on Business CPD day 2

I created this draft last March but never posted it,  I am posting it now as a means of revision. Additionally, I attended an NCCA inservi...