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Developing ICT Skills and Links Abroad
Start date: Jul 1, 2016, End date: Jul 31, 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

In a short space of time Durrow National School has developed a very impressive ICT infrastructure with an impressive bank of ICT hardware and software. This wealth of resources helped us become a Digital School of Distinction in 2015. The fast changing nature of ICT means professional development should always be ongoing and the Digital Schools report identified the need for additional training to ensure the current resources are used to their capabilities. This need for additional training helped us identify 'Developing ICT Skills and Links Abroad; as our European Development Plan.Our Development Plan has identified the following objectives for the project:1. Develop the ICT skills of teachers in our school to ensure they are competent and confident to use the ICT hardware and software in the school.2. Develop the skills of teachers working with children with special needs in the classroom.3. To create a better understanding and appreciation for other cultures and languages. This would help the multinational children in our school feel more appreciated and belong to our school.4. Develop more ICT use at a managerial level to communicate for frequently with parents, teachers and the wider community.5. Create a relationship with another European school whereby the two schools can work collaboratively using the medium of ICT.6. Establish sufficient expertise to facilitate ICT classes for parents and members of the wider community. Eight teachers have been selected as project participants and they vary in age and teaching experience. The participants teaching setting also varies, with teachers working in Junior, Middle and Senior classes in the school. We have also selected 2 learning support /resource teachers who work in class and one to one with children with special needs. Finally the school principal will also participate in the project and apply his knowledge to the managerial side of the school. We have the school mentor for Newly Qualified Teachers involved to ensure any knowledge gained from the experience can be passed on to new teachers appointedThe outline of the main activities are as follows:1. During the summer months two teachers will attend a structured course in Malta. This initial course will help establish links with a partner school and also improve the ICT skills of both teachers. 2. In September those teachers will meet the other participants and pass on knowledge and skills obtained. It is hoped that the initial collaboration with the partner school in Europe would begin at this stage.3. In October the other participates will attend structured courses in Malta to develop ICT skills for a classroom setting and for a managerial role. This will also give teachers the opportunity to establish links with partner schools and develop a collaborative plan.4. In November it is hoped the partnership with the link school will begin. . All participants from Durrow National School will meet at this stage to discuss the facilitation of courses for adults and device a program of work to commence in January.5. From January - July the school will work collaboratively with the partner school in Europe. At this stage the school hopes to host adult learning in the area of ICT for members of the community.6. In July the staff will meet to discuss how successful the project was. The Participants will use qualitative and quantitative research techniques to evaluate if the teachers, students and parents deemed the project as a success.We envisage that if this project is successful teachers will have increased competence and confidence to use ICT in their everyday teaching as a tool for learning. We also predict that children with SEN will use ICT resources more freely and effectively in the classroom and learning support rooms. This project will also make children from other nations feel more at home in our school particularly when we establish links with schools in other countries. This project will help our school establish links with other international schools and our pupils to develop friendships with children in other parts of the world. Through the collaborative learning with a link school we envisage that children will develop academically, socially and personally. They will have more ICT skills and increased confidence to use these skills in their everyday lives. This project is preparing children for further education and potentially inspiring their future career.
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