Digital Learning at St. Brigid's G.N.S.
At present in St Brigid's G.N.S., we have a computer suite with 15 desktop computers, to which all classes have access, on a timetabled basis. In October 2019, we invested in 16 Apple i-Pads for classroom use and 4 Apple i-Pads, for use within our Special Education Department. We also purchased 6 Bee-Bots (programmable robots for children). The purchase of the digital technologies coincided with the launch of our new Digital Learning Plan.
At St. Brigid’s G.N.S., we endeavor to emphasize the integration of Digital Learning across the curriculum, in order to enrich the quality of teaching and learning, to make the learners’ experience more engaging and to foster deeper learning. As a school, we do not view Digital Learning as a subject or a curriculum in its own right. We recognize that digital technologies can play a central role in transforming learning, teaching and assessment practices for pupils in a high quality 21st century education system. We recognize that Digital Learning can assist in building the leadership capacity of our learners while also assisting them in assuming control over their learning.
We are educating children who live in a technological age. Pedagogically, Digital Learning can be highly motivating for all learners and particularly for those children who find the more traditional methodologies of the school setting constraining. In that light, we strive to maximize the potential for children’s learning using digital technology, where appropriate. We recognize that Digital Learning supports collaborative, child-led learning, which provides opportunities for reaching the depth of learning by having pupils mentor and support each other throughout the process of engagement. We also recognise the importance of being mindful of the well-being of our children when using digital technologies.
Please read our Acceptable Usage Policy for further information.
Our Computer Suite
Our computer suite facilitates the teaching of Scratch.
What is Scratch:
Scratch is a block-based visual programming language and online community . It is a free object-oriented software development kit that allows children to create animations, interactive stories and games which can be interlinked with other curricular areas. Scratch facilitates higher order thinking skills, problem-solving, metacognition, creative thinking and reasoning.
How we Approach the Teaching of Scratch:
All children receive a block of 8 weeks in the computer suite where they work alongside Ms. Coggins, Ms. Moran and their class teacher to explore all of the tools and features that Scratch has to offer. The children from Junior Infants through to second class use Scratch Junior. The children from third class through to sixth class use the regular Scratch.
Learning Opportunities Explored by the Children:
When creating their interactive stories/animations, the children explore using different backrounds, sprites, script areas, block palettes, using operators block, sensing and broadcasting.
Our Apple i-Pads and Bee-Bots
All 16 Apple i-Pads are scheduled and accessible to all classes on a weekly basis. As part of our Digital Learning Plan, we are focusing on introducing one new app per month. Each app is selected to complement the existing learning already taking place in each classroom. Digital Learning is taught alongside other curricular areas.
The 4 Apple i-Pads that have been purchased for our Special Education Department are used for one to one and small group interventions. The apps, that have been selected for downloading, assist in targeting the learning needs of all children.
The Bee-Bots have been purchased for our Infant Department. A Bee-Bot is an exciting robot designed specifically for use by young children. It is a programming resource which teaches children the Bee-Bot keypad functionality and enables children to improve their skills in directional language and programming. This colorful, easy-to-operate and friendly little robot is a perfect tool for integrating into the teaching and learning across the curriculum. Examples include sequencing, estimation, problem-solving and letter sounds, but to name a few. We have also purchased mats for the Bee-Bots which include the topics of 2-D Shapes, Number, Alphabet Letters and The Village but to name a few.