Thursday, 6 July 2017

Strategy for communicating suggestions to VSWare

Context
Schools are aware that there has been a considerable shift in the uptake of the use of VSWare as the main Management Information System (MIS) for post-primary schools in Ireland in recent years.  
Prior to this change, the majority of schools used an alternative provider, which the Department of Education and Skills funded regarding the maintenance and development of the system that was in use.  There was no opportunity or mechanism available to users, during that time, to communicate enhancements and suggestions in order to improve the service or features of that MIS.

VSWare receives a considerable number of requests from schools to enhance the functionality of its MIS.

VSWare and NAPD ICT Forum
VSWare discussed the prospect of establishing a forum of principals and deputy principals to discuss suggestions, potential enhancements and timelines for deployments of updates, at times that would be appropriate to the effective operation of schools, with the NAPD in September 2016.
VSWare is committed to continually innovating and enriching its MIS features and services to schools, and is eager to ensure that it meets the needs of schools in the most effective and efficient manner possible.
Why opt for NAPD?
It was widely accepted, that an effective way to proceed with ensuring that VSWare continues to innovate in its service to schools, was to establish a working group forum with the NAPD ICT Committee as this is comprised of representatives (both principal and deputy principal) which encompass all sectors and patron bodies, while maintaining all existing relationships with the various school management bodies.  This group meets to discuss the suggestions from Principals, Deputy Principals and school Secretaries, and to assess if the suggestions are of benefit, in a meaningful and functional manner, to the majority of schools.
There have been three meetings of VSWare management and representatives from NAPD ICT between October 2016 and February 2017,, where all suggestions proposed have been actioned.
The collective objective of this forum is to ensure that VSWare can respond to schools’ needs based on accurate experience of practitioners on the ground.
Principals, Deputy Principals and School secretaries are welcome to suggest enhancements to VSWare and indeed, all other MIS providers, via an on-line form (available on the NAPD ICT website - www.napd.ie).

VSWare and NAPD ICT

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Camara Ireland Press Release

Camara’s ambitious plans to empower 3 million disadvantaged students boosted by grantfrom Google.org €560,000 grant to fund outreach in 70 schools in Ireland and Kenya. 


Camara Education, the Irish NGO which recently announced ambitious plans to positively impact the lives of 3 million disadvantaged students, has announced it is to receive a grant from Google.org, the philanthropic arm of Google. 

Camara Education’s mission is to transform education using technology, empowering disadvantaged students in both Ireland and Kenya. A €560,000 grant from Google.org will see Camara delivering technology planning, teacher professional development and computers to 44 schools in Ireland and 26 schools in Kenya, impacting the lives of 29,000 students. In Ireland, Camara’s work will support the implementation of the Digital Strategy for Schools and help to address specific goals in the 2017 Action Plan released by Minister for Education and Skills Richard Bruton last week. The in-depth engagement with the schools includes development of a whole school technology plan, provision of computers, and a suite of innovative professional learning experiences for teachers and principals. Education bodies like Educate Together, Trinity Access 21, the NAPD (National Association for Principals and Deputy Principals), and the JMB (Joint Managerial Body) will be involved in the programme. Minister for Education and Skills Richard Bruton said, “It is great to see organisations like Camara and Google.org working together to support schools in embedding the use of digital technologies in teaching and learning, complementing the measures that will be implemented through my Department’s Digital Strategy for Schools 2015-2020.” In partnership with the national network of Education Centres, Camara will also be making an ‘Introduction to Computer Science’ course available to all teachers across the country. 
Teachers will be introduced to CS First, Google’s online programme for Computer Science education for 9-14 year olds that aims to increase students confidence when using computers and grow their perseverance to tackle difficult problems. John Fitzsimons, Camara Education CEO said; “Our vision is to deliver real impact through technology and to inspire and empower a young generation to improve their life opportunities. Working with educational institutions to support them in the integration of technology to deliver better educational outcomes, better grades and 21 st Century Skills is the core of our work. 
This grant from Google.org is hugely significant and will help us reach our ambitious target of impacting an additional 3 million learners over the next three years”. Shane Nolan, Director, Google Ireland said; “At Google, we’re passionate about how new technologies can transform the way we learn. Camara Education shares our belief in the power of technology and education to inspire and empower young people to develop critical skills for their futures. We are pleased to support Camara in its work in Ireland and Kenya. “In particular, we are excited that Camara will help Irish teachers develop the confidence and skills to introduce Computer Science (CS) in the primary school classroom. Embedding CS as a fundamental and rigorous subject throughout the entire school curriculum - including the introduction of CS as a Leaving Certificate subject from 2018 - will support and encourage the next generation of technology leaders and problem solvers who will help drive a new wave of innovation in Ireland”. 

As part of the grant, Google employees are also volunteering in Camara’s Dublin office, sharing their knowledge and skills with the Camara team. Ends. For further information please contact: Camara Google Steven Daly, CEO Camara Ireland, Laurie Mannix, MKC Google Press Office steven@camara.org, 086 8231328 press-ie@google.com, 086 8143710 


NOTES TO THE EDITOR: 

Project Details Ireland In Ireland Camara will work with 44 schools in the Leinster region. In each school Camara will work with school leaders to establish or enhance a school Technology Plan as part of the Department of Education and Skills Digital Strategy for Schools. http://www.education.ie/en/Publications/Policy-Reports/Digital-Strategy-Action-Plan-2017.pdf 

As part of this plan Camara will deliver up to 26 devices to each school, along with targeted teacher professional development. Camara will then continue to work with each school for three years to support them in the implementation of their Technology Plan and the Digital Strategy for Schools with an ongoing programme of CPD and engagement. Kenya In Kenya Camara will work with 26 schools in Nairobi and the coastal regions of Mombasa and Kilfi. 
Camara will establish new computer labs in each school, training teachers to support the use of numeracy and literacy software. Camara estimate that in the region of 15,000 young Kenyans will gain access to improved literacy and numeracy education through this project. About Camara Camara Education is a non-profit international education organisation dedicated to deliver real impact through technology and to inspire and empower a young generation to improve life opportunities. Our vision is a world-class technology-enabled education accessible to all. Our mission is to transform education using technology to empower disadvantaged students. 
Those who engage with Camara subscribe to the following beliefs: Poverty is unacceptable in the 21st century. Education is the key to alleviating poverty. Technology has the ability to radically improve education. Since 2005, Camara has enabled over two million young people to achieve better educational outcomes and thus improve their life opportunities, through training 26,000+ teachers across 5,300 schools and educational institutes, and installing 90,000+ ICT devices. About Google.org Google.org, the philanthropic arm of Google, supports nonprofits that innovate to address humanitarian issues. Google.org was created to pursue, experiment with, and build upon ideas to improve the world, and continues to take an iterative approach to philanthropy today. Google.org develops and invests in pursuits that can have measurable impact on local, regional and global issues, and rallies Google’s people in support of these efforts with a singular goal of creating a better world, faster.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Action Plan for Education - ICT


Excerpt from Minister Richard Bruton Action Plan for ICT


Digital technology is transforming the way we live, the way we receive information, the way products and services are delivered and the way we express ourselves. Along with having such a profound impact on our lives, it is also transforming the way we learn.
Ireland has set itself the ambitious target of having the best education and training service in Europe within a decade. To realise this, we must be a front-runner in using technology to enrich teaching, learning and assessment.

The Digital Strategy for Schools 2015-2020 sets out our vision for the embedding of ICT in Irish schools to:
Realise the potential of digital technologies to enhance teaching, learning and assessment so that Ireland’s young people become
engaged thinkers, active learners, knowledge constructors and global citizens to participate fully in society and the economy.
As we approach the half-way point in the roll-out of the strategy, we have put an Advisory Group in place to review progress and to give fresh impetus to that work. A great deal of progress has already been made. A Digital Learning Framework is under development which will allow schools evaluate their progress and measure how they stand against benchmarks of effective and highly effective practice using digital technologies in teaching and learning. This will be made available to all schools in the new school year. This Framework will enable us to support schools on their journey to realise the vision of the Digital Strategy. Examples of good practice will continue to be captured and shared amongst the teaching community.
The plan for 2017 has some key elements:
  •   The scoping of an innovative clustering model across the country to innovate, harness good practice and create pathways for accelerated collaborative innovation by schools
  •   A programme of curriculum reforms will see ICT embedded in all emerging curricular specifications and intense preparation for the phased introduction of Computer Science as a Leaving Certificate subject option from 2018
  •   The Digital Learning Framework, with the provision of supports and underpinned by constructivist pedagogical
    principles, will be trialled in the new school year ultimately leading to its national rollout
  •   Provision of a range of professional learning programmes for teachers and school leaders to enable them engage effectively in whole school planning and self-evaluation to support them to embed digital technologies in
    teaching, learning and assessment
  •   A full suite of content and exemplars of good practice available through an online portal which will also facilitate
    the sharing of good practice between teachers.
  •   The continuing rollout of a €210million capital investment programme backed by the dissemination of research
    on best practice in equipment selection, collaboration and technical support
  •   A progressive programme of high-speed broadband connectivity
  •   Scoping out how business and industry can support schools in embedding digital technologies in all aspects of
    their activities
  •   Review policy on the ethical use of the internet and online safety for young people
    The process of drafting this plan started early in 2017 when we first formed our Advisory Group, including industry experts, academic experts, representatives of the voluntary digital sector as well as the Department of Education and Skills and Government bodies with responsibility in this area. As such, the plan includes actions from Q1 as well as Q2, Q3 and Q4. Progress on the implementation of the 2017 Action Plan will be reviewed every quarter and my Department will publish an end of year review of 2017. The actions from Q1 have all been delivered (some actions for Q1 will however be ongoing for the duration of the Strategy). Where groups are being established as part of this plan, they will include external expertise where appropriate, e.g. academic experts, industry practitioners and so on.
    These actions are part of a journey. It is important that as a Department we set indicators against which progress can be measured.
    The following are 10 indicators of what medium to long term success should look like. They will be refined with experience but they can be used to identify key milestones. 

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Scratch - Ready Steady Code!

MIT Scratch Team has decided to add READY STEADY CODE fine line vector 
grids to the Scratch Backdrops Library. This follows discussions with 
Natalie Rusk, Director of Learning Resources and Research.
 
SCRATCH with READY STEADY CODE (RSC) is the Magic Mix to making code 
simpler, fun and easy to learn. This news is sensational! 
 
Bringing coding into Irish classrooms is at long last, as easy as bringing 
a pencil and copybook into school in children's school bags. RSC is an 
Irish solution to an Irish problem
 
The RSC Magic mix will be revealed at the National SCRATCH Conference in 
the Knightsbrook Hotel, Trim Co. Meath, on Tuesday 20th June.
The Conference is made possible with the brave and generous funding of 
Meath County Council. 
 
*Keynote: *If any organisation would like to support an invitation to Mitch 
Resnick or Natalie Rusk to deliver the keynote and launch the Magic mix, I 
would be very grateful.
 
The Conference is aimed at Educators, Executives, Tutors, Trainers, 
Leaders, Lecturers, Directors, Decision makers in the Primary, Secondary 
and Second-chance education sectors. Parents, who are keen to learn SCRATCH 
for the sake of their kids - perhaps as CoderDojo SCRATCH Mentors - are 
welcome to book their place at the Conference. Places are available but 
book your place today at www.readysteadycode.ie
 
*Thanks: *I am grateful to Pat O'Mahony Education Research Officer with 
ETBI for his email to ETB staff throught the length and breadth of Ireland: 
"(The Conference) should be of interest to anyone interested in teaching 
coding (or having it taught in their school or centre) at any level – 
school or further education – at a curricular or extracurricular level." The 
Conference is also supported by many Education Centres who sent leaflets in 
their Summer Course mail shots to schools. We hope all Education Centres 
and ETBs send representatives to the conference. Please spread the news.
 
*INVITATION:* Come to the National SCRATCH Conference for your own 
enjoyment and wellbeing and to be digitally upskilled. Perhaps you might be 
interested in becoming an RSC SCRATCH tutor.
 
I can be contacted at seamus_at_readysteadycode.ie
 
Regards
Seamus O'Neill

Seamus O'Neill
c/o Resources Development Service*
Navan Education Centre
Navan
Co. Meath
IRELAND

mob.:353 87 2308320

*The RDS c/o Navan Education Centre
is a commissioned/voluntary service 
offered by Seamus O'Neill,
We and Us Ltd.
Educational Design Services
Navan

Friday, 21 April 2017

NAPD ICT is deligthed to inform you that we have organised a day with Apple, in Cork on Thursday, 11 May 2017, to continue our efforts to help advise School Leaders with regard to the Digital Strategy.


Apple Education Ireland is looking after registrations, so please email eanna@apple.com if you have any queries or contact me if you need any guidance.

Once you register as an NAPD Member, you can add teachers to the registration booking if you need to bring more from your school.
There is a limit on numbers, so early booking is advisable.

This event is open only to schools where NAPD Membership fees have been paid for the current year.

Venue: 
Apple,
Hollyhill Industrial Estate
Hollyhill
Cork
T23 A392

Agenda: 


Saturday, 4 March 2017

Google Seminar for NAPD Members

Google Ireland would like to host a School Leader and teacher CPD event in Google on 22 March from 1.30pm to 7.00pm

This event will be facilitated by Google in association with Camara Ireland.

Google will deliver a work-shop on CS First training.

A Principal or Deputy Principal and one teacher (maximum of two from each school) can register for this event and there is a limit of twenty (20) schools for the event.

Places on this will be allocated on a 'first-come, first-served' basis.
More information is available in the flyer attached.

NAPD is extremely grateful to Google and Camara Ireland.

Brought to you by NAPD ICT & Google Education Ireland



Wednesday, 30 November 2016

NAPD / PDST ICT Conference for School Leaders

NAPD ICT committee would like to thank everyone who attended the ICT Conference in the Convention Centre Dublin on Wednesday, 23 November 2016.




Over 380 delegates travelled to Dublin for the event.

Both PDST and NAPD are eager to run another ICT conference next year, and the evaluations from the day are important to gather to ensure this can be made possible.




  • A copy of everyone's keynote presentation, all of the resources from the day and links to other relevant ICT materials can be accessed through this link; http://www.pdst.ie/leadersict2016

NAPD ICT wishes to thank the memebrs of the ICT Committee, Alan, Cathnia, Jean and Paul, our Director, Mr. Clive Byrne, Deputy Director, Mr. Tim Geraghty and President, Cathnia Ó Muircheartaigh, together with national Executive of NAPD for all their support in making the day a great success.