Moodle Training Day

Our first In-Service of the 07/08 Academic Year takes place here in St. Aidan's on Thursday 25th of October in conjunction with project partners the Dublin West Education Centre. We're continuing with our Peer-to-Peer learning approach and the Core Group are conducting ten Workshops throughout the day covering areas such as a Moodle Crash Course for new staff, Moodle Revision, PC Maintenance, Hot Potatoes Quizzes, Smartboards and School Administration.
We arrived at a concensus on what Training to deliver by starting a Forum on Moodle and asking for the Teachers' input on the Training they require. The School Administration Workshop promises to be very interesting as we will be working with the School's Principal, Deputy Principal and Admin staff to examine how we can best use the Virtual Learning Environment to enhance and streamline the admin function of the School. It is often the most obvious and simple things that can have a big impact, for example loading up all Student photos onto the user profiles in Moodle. This makes it easy for everyone to identify new students at this time of year.
We just got word today from the National Centre for Technology in Education that our broadband connection has just been upgraded to 4Mbps, as I type up this blog I can see the difference already, we are very grateful to the NCTE for this. This upgrade is timely and should make a marked difference when all Staff are busy developing and uploading their Curriculum Content onto Moodle.

Peer to Peer Learning ,.......and Logistics

We had our first Core Group Meeting of the year last week and tackled such issues as the Review Report of Yr 1, Training Program, Moodle Administration, Developing an Action Plan and recruiting 2 new members.
We decided to open a Forum on Moodle to find out what Training our Teachers would like. The response has been decent and a pattern is beginning to emerge. Armed with this information we will develop a Training Program over the next few days.

Two new Teachers have been recruited to the Core Group bringing the members to 10. With 58 Teachers in the School this leaves us with 2 Trainers to every 10 Teachers on Training Day. We intend to build on the success of the Peer Learning Approach of last year.

The Roll-Out Logistics Team had their inaugural meeting last week too. This Team numbers 8 and will oversee the distribution and collection of Laptops from now on. They took the Roll-Out Procedure document as their starting point and refined it to ensure the smooth running of the Roll-Out. The system will be further tweaked as we go along. It was recognised that the most important aspect, to begin with, is for all Teachers to have a full understanding of the Roll-Out and a place to discuss how it could be improved. A course has been set up on Moodle for this purpose. The Procedure will be posted there, emailed to all staff and a Forum set up for discussion on how the Roll-Out can be improved.

Logistics on the ground

This week sees two important meetings take place among the Team in the School. Tomorrow the Roll-Out Logistics Meeting takes place and we will decide at this meeting how exactly the Roll-Out, i.e. the ongoing distribution, recharging and collection of Laptops will take place in the School. On Thursday the Core Group meet for the first time this academic year. At this meeting we will be organising the Training Programme and Schedule for the year, discussing Moodle administration and developing an Action Plan for the year.

We expect to take delivery of the sample Laptops this week also. Once delivered we will configure & load software; then do our best to crash the Laptop before returning to the vendor for imaging of the batch.

As soon as they're delivered I'll post a few images and do a run-down of specs and software suite, so check back soon!!

Connect School Review Report 06/07

The Connect School Review Report 06/07 was signed off by all Partners in the project in the past week. The Report has been circulated and includes an Outline Implementation Plan for the 07/08 School Year. A number of issues were identified as possible blockages to the success of the project and these are being progressed by the various partners before we roll out to this years incoming first years. Our broadband connectivity needs to be upgraded to cater for the numbers of simultaneous connections anticipated once full roll-out is achieved. And there are a few Classrooms without data points that need to be networked. Further electrical points in the recharging facility are also required and the logistics of the roll-out need to be ironed out. We expect to solve these issues in the coming days.
The Report is a comprehensive document that serves to inform the process of integrating ICT into Education.

Accessing the VLE from anywhere.....

There are 4 main cornerstones to the true integration of ICT in Education. Access to information/the internet is one. To this end the St. Aidan's has a broadband connection provided by the National Centre for Technology in Education and a wireless network throughout the school. A means of manipulating that information is another; all teachers and 1st yr students have laptops. Thirdly, a shared area for the hosting of lessons, collaboration and discussions is required ; we have developed a Virtual Learning Environment using Moodle. And lastly a way to present in class; data projectors and smartboards fulfil this function.
But what about outside of the School? In order to fully integrate ICT into learning the students laptops should be used at home as well as at school. But not all of our Students have an internet connection at home. There are other ways to connect to the internet, perhaps it's time to look at GSM.......

Back to School...

We're well and truly back to school now. And as we embark on year 2 of the St. Aidan's Connect School Project the emphasis turns to creating Interactive Curriculum content for uploading onto our Virtual Learning Environment. I've been looking at a few applications for this. Hot Potatoes is used for creating Crosswords, Quizzes, Cloze Tests, and Matching Tests etc. It is very well integrated with Moodle which our Virtual Learning Environment runs on, so that grades achieved in the various tests can be saved. It's available from and is free for use in Education. I've also been using Adobe Captivate 3 which is used for Screencasting, Podcasting and creating quizzes and other interactive material. It's available as a 30 day trial from and is both user-friendly and highly configurable.

What is the Connect School?

St. Aidan's Connect School is one of a number of exciting initiatives by South Dublin County Council under the Connect banner.

Connect envisions a future where everyone in South Dublin County uses the Internet as an everyday tool to improve their quality of life, to develop opportunities for life long learning, leisure, personal and social development

Connect St. Aidan’s Community School is developing student centered technology through an innovative learning culture in order to improve school attendance, participation in class and educational outcomes for the students. To achieve this vision the project is working to three main goals:

Goal 1 To develop Student Centred Technology that supports an innovative learning culture in the school
Goal 2 To deliver a high standard and range of technologies available to the school that enables the development of a Virtual Learning Environment for the Students and Teachers
Goal 3 To develop awareness and ownership of the project within the local community, the Education Sector and other stakeholders, creating leverage of and disseminating project achievements

The Connect St Aidan's Moodle Virtual Learning Environment is located at

The initiative involves School Management, Teachers, Students (1st Years and ACE 6th Year Students of 2006/07 School Year), their Parents and the local community. The School has committed to develop Student Centred Technology through the leadership of the Management and development of the Teachers. The focus within the school is on developing an interactive learning culture across the whole curriculum and on developing the active participation of the Students, Parents and local community.
The partners in making this project happen are the Department of Education & Science (D/ES), the Dublin West Education Centre (DWEC), the Institute of Technology, Tallaght (ITT), the National Centre for Technology in Education (NCTE), and South Dublin County Council (SDCC).

The Home of Moodle

Check this out:
Moodle is Open Source Course Managment Software and is used by over 450,000 students worldwide. We use Moodle in St. Aidan's for our Virtual Learning Environment.

Welcome to the Connect School Blog

This Blog is intended for those with an interest in ICT in Education. Throughout the School Year it will give a sense of what it takes to achieve the true integration of ICT in Education. Remember folks, we're not teaching computers here, we're teaching Core Curriculum Subjects with the help of Information and Communications Technology