Cork City School ‘best in class’ for implementing digital learning plans for its students

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SCOIL The Padre Pio National School has updated its computer room.

Churchfield National School has increased its number of tablet computers to 40, thanks to the generosity of volunteers, Denis O’Donovan and Frank Falvey. The tablets will benefit the more than 300 students of the school.

Mr. O’Donovan and Mr. Falvey’s contribution of 14 personal computers, 10 tablets and four laptops has opened up new areas of learning for all students and will enable the elementary school to fully implement its plan of digital learning.

Rory McSweeney, 3rd Class. Photo: Jim Coughlan.

Mr O’Donovan, who is a well-known volunteer in Cork, also supplied the school with a new disinfectant, which allows tablets to be moved between classes on an hourly basis.

Scoil Padre Pio’s first computer room was officially inaugurated by Micheál Martin, then Minister of Education, on January 31, 2000. The appearance of Covid-19 accelerated the importance of computers in education and training. ‘learning.

    Lexi Heaphy and Darragh McCarthy, 3rd Class, listen to Cllr Tony Fitzgerald, Deputy Mayor, speaking during the celebrations.  Photo: Jim Coughlan.
Lexi Heaphy and Darragh McCarthy, 3rd Class, listen to Cllr Tony Fitzgerald, Deputy Mayor, speaking during the celebrations. Photo: Jim Coughlan.

During the lockdown, the students were able to stay connected to their school thanks to the tablets provided by Mr. O’Donovan and Mr. Falvey.

The home-school community coordinator has spent hours connecting children and helping parents with computer issues.

During the first lockdown, the children completed 100 hours of English and 200 hours of math, and they answered 40,000 questions online.

    Lauren O'Sullivan and Abi Hetherington, 3rd Class.  Photo: Jim Coughlan.
Lauren O’Sullivan and Abi Hetherington, 3rd Class. Photo: Jim Coughlan.

For the second lockdown, all of the kids were registered with Raz-Kids, an award-winning educational product that provides comprehensive and leveled reading resources for students, with hundreds of eBooks offered at 29 levels of reading difficulty.

Students accessed their leveled text through an interactive learning portal designed to keep them engaged. After a child has read 10 or more of the leveled eBooks and passed each of the corresponding eQuizzes, they move on to the next reading level, where they have access to longer, more difficult text. To date, students have spent over 1,300 hours working on the program.

    Lexi Heaphy and Hollie O'Connell, 3rd Class.  Photo: Jim Coughlan.
Lexi Heaphy and Hollie O’Connell, 3rd Class. Photo: Jim Coughlan.

Cork City National School also received a 10-week pilot project from Maths Wizz, which uses artificial intelligence to develop a personalized plan for each child. Maths Whiz’s virtual tutor works like a human, tailoring lessons for each child. At this point, kids take ownership of their learning materials with weekly goals and rewards.

    Schoolchildren with their new tablets with Denis O'Donovan, Frank Falvey, fundraisers, Fr. Tomas Waslh, PP, Sean Barry, teacher, assistant principal, Sinead Elliffe, Dan Devereux, HSCL, principal, Ken Foley, Ursula Courtney, SNA and Cllr Tony Fitzgerald, Deputy Mayor.  Photo: Jim Coughlan.
Schoolchildren with their new tablets with Denis O’Donovan, Frank Falvey, fundraisers, Fr. Tomas Waslh, PP, Sean Barry, teacher, assistant principal, Sinead Elliffe, Dan Devereux, HSCL, principal, Ken Foley, Ursula Courtney, SNA and Cllr Tony Fitzgerald, Deputy Mayor. Photo: Jim Coughlan.

The progressive elementary school also has a program in place for children who may have suffered an academic loss due to the lockdown. This program is called Nessy and it helps students read and spell. Nessy can be used until the end of elementary school and up to secondary school.

The fourth program used by the school is TTRS.ie, typing, reading and spelling. This resource covers literacy challenges as well as typing, which is an invaluable skill, especially early in high school. The multisensory method, together with the use of typing, can improve fine motor skills as well as literacy.

    Rory McSweeney, Lexi Cotter and Darragh McCarthy, 3rd Class.  Photo: Jim Coughlan.
Rory McSweeney, Lexi Cotter and Darragh McCarthy, 3rd Class. Photo: Jim Coughlan.

All four online programs can be used in regular classrooms or with children with special educational needs.

Training and tuition fees are available to all parents who wish to support their children. The school also intends to present certificates of achievement, trophies and prizes to children who make significant progress in these programs.


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