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Getting in - how the universities would change the points system Education at Hibernia College l Smart Futures for science GMIT Digital Media l College of Computer Training l Arts at UCC

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Volume 26, Issue 1

Editor Niall Gormley Production Michael Farrell Publishers Ard Education Ltd. Tel: 01-8329246 Email: Layout Real Issues, Drumhaldry, Moyne, Co. Longford 086-8986827

©2013. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. ISSN 0791-6161

Education Magazine is available to read online in the same format as the paper edition.




7 Department of Humanities @ ITT Dublin

9 Edco E-books


Getting in

10 School of Creative Arts at Coleg Sir Gâr / Carmarthenshire College 13 GMIT highlights 50% increase in honours degrees offerings 14 All you need to know about your science career

The universities are at the end of the points races. Minister Ruairi Quinn asked the universities to come up with some analysis and ideas to reform the system. The Irish Universities Association issued a report doing just that. Pages 28-29

19 UCC Arts - acquiring skills for the real world

At the time of press information in Education is believed to be accurate and authoritative. However, some information may change due to circumstances beyond our control. Acceptance of advertisements, does not constitute an endorsement of products or services by the publishers.

Click on the cover

16 Cover Story: FIT and Microsoft launch the Youth2Work Initiative

Printers Nicholson & Bass Ltd.

Read the current edition

4 Interview: Melanie Ní Dhuinn Programme Director Hibernia College on the Professional Diploma in Education


23 Eirim - A professional qualification in Psycho-Educational Testing 24 College of Computer Training 27 The cutting edge of digital media at GMIT 28 Feature: Getting in: What the universities say about the points system 31 Exciting career opportunities in the financial services sector at ITT Dublin 33 NUI Galway’s Adult and Continuing Education Information Evening 35 Edmund Rice and the Christian Brothers 37 Irish Hospice Foundation: Find out the difference one week of your summer holidays can make…



38 Festo: Professional training in virtual learning environments 40 Outfit: Enjoy a daily workout outside 43 School visits at the Castlecomer Discovery Park Getting in - how the universities would change the points system Education at Hibernia College ● Smart Futures for science GMIT Digital Media ● College of Computer Training ● Arts at UCC

44 Dublin City Hall: The story of the capital 46 Concern: Climb Kilimanjaro in 2013

Pictured on Front Cover : From left Peter Davitt, CEO, FIT; Cathriona Hallahan, Managing Director, Microsoft Ireland; An Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD and Bernard Dunne, Youth2Work Champion in Microsoft offices to announce details of its YouthSpark programme in Ireland with an investment of €6 million by the company, and a target to empower 30,000 youth to change their future over the next three years.

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Hibernia College

The knowledge and skills to be expert teachers Melanie Ní Dhuinn Programme Director Hibernia College Professional Diploma in Education course talks to Education Magazine about the course and about Hibernia College.

Can you outline broadly the goals of the Professional Diploma in Education (PDE) course? The Hibernia College PDE programme prepares students to become fully accredited post primary teachers. The programme offers an academic validation from QQI and a professional accreditation from the Teaching Council of Ireland. The course provides graduates with the knowledge and skills to be expert teachers in their two chosen teaching methodologies. The award provides students with higher level, critical thinking and analytical skills to enable them to develop themselves professionally as independent and reflective learners during and after their programme of study. They develop analytical, evaluative and reflective skills that will prove invaluable to their future professional practice. Furthermore, they develop a socio emotive understanding of learning. The programme provides students with the opportunity to obtain and develop knowledge and skills relating to post primary education and the ability to effectively deliver recognised curriculum subjects to facilitate effective learning. In addition, the PDE provides students with a sound underpinning knowledge and understanding of key issues relevant to today’s classrooms and the ability to apply this effectively. How is the course accredited? The course is academically validated by HETAC (now QQI) and professionally accredited by the Teaching Council of Ireland. What are the entry requirements for the course? A level 8 degree recognised by the Teaching Council for the purpose of post primary education. It will be the applicant’s responsibility to ascertain whether their specific qualifications are in accord with the Teaching Council requirements.

In addition they will be required to possess. • Minimum grade C (ordinary level) or grade D (higher level) in Leaving Cert English Or For students who sat the GCSE and GCE A Level Examinations: • Minimum grade C in GCSE English • Minimum grade C in GCSE English Literature • The following will also satisfy the minimum requirements in English A pass in a first year primary degree examination in the appropriate subject (National Framework of Qualifications Level 8) Note 1: Primary Degree Level: Students who are unsure of the level of their primary degree should contact the conferring college or university or contact the National Qualifications Authority of Ireland at www. Note 2: Mature Students: Note that there are no concessions for mature students. All applicants must meet the same minimum entry requirements to be considered for admission to the programme and all applicants who meet those requirements will be called for interview. Can you explain how the course is structured? The level 8 course is a two year course. There are 4 modules in the course; Foundations of Education, Teaching Methodologies, School Experience and Professional Practice and Developing the Professional Teacher. All modules are mandatory. Students must select two teaching subjects from a choice of 13 subjects. Students must undertake one weeks observation and 14 weeks school placement as part of the School experience and professional practice module. School placement spans three blocks throughout the course. All students are allocated a SEPP supervisor who visits them

in school, supervises them teaching and advises them. All students have a mentor teacher (a practising teacher) out in their school who acts as a support for them during their school placement block. The mentor has no assessment role but acts as a critical friend or anam cara for the student teacher. • 1 week of teacher and classroom observation • 4 weeks of teaching practice (12 hours class contact per week) • 5 weeks of teaching practice (12 hours class contact per week) • 5 weeks of teaching practice (12 hours class contact per week) How long does the course take to complete? 2 years Is there flexibility in how long a student might take to complete the course? The norm is that students complete the programme with the cohort they commenced the programme with. The college is aware however that occasionally students' circumstances may impact on their ability to complete the programme within their cohort and the college has a robust deferral system that considers applications on a case by case basis. Students are required to inform the college of specific circumstances and provide evidence as appropriate to substantiate their claims. What is the balance between the online and face-to-face aspects of the course? 45% online; 55% onsite. What subjects would qualified students be eligible to teach? Gaeilge; English; Maths; History; Geography; CSPE; Biology; Chemistry; Physics; Accounting; Economics; Business; Modern Languages.

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Can you outline some of the learning outcomes for the course? • Have the professional knowledge, understanding and pedagogical skills required to be a competent post primary teacher in a constantly changing, turbulent and complex society • Be equipped with the theoretical and conceptual tools necessary for developing creative and flexible approaches to teaching and enabling students to address the potentially complex and manifold educational needs of a diverse pupil population. • Develop multifarious skills in collegiality, team-work and whole-school planning and development • Possess an in-depth understanding of the ethical and legal obligations, of the teacher • Support the ethos of the school • Have familiarity with, and confidence in using, appropriate teaching strategies to incorporate ICTs into their teaching and the skills to support learners in the use of ICT • Acknowledge the complexity of adolescence and have particular cognisance of the adolescent in the post primary school, paying special attention to equipping the teacher with a diverse suite of skills. • Have developed a high level of competence in lesson preparation, teaching skills, evaluation capabilities as well as furthering their professional command of curricula and their integrated delivery through the undertaking of a minimum of 15 weeks mandatory School Experience and Professional Practice Can you explain the advantages of the Hibernia College model as against some traditional teaching courses? Hibernia Colleges offers a blended learning environment that brings the many advantages of distant online education to geographically dispersed students while also offering the proven qualities of face to face tuition through on-site tutorial and lecture series in venues throughout the country. The College recognises that the processes and tasks involved in designing programmes, in preparing learning materials and in delivering those programmes is radically different from those employed in traditional educational settings. The task of assuring quality, similarly, presents unique challenges in an online setting. The mission of Hibernia College’s blended learning approach is to provide a pedagogically sound content delivery mechanism which serves students and faculty needs, while conforming to best international standards. Technology: The College has developed a unique

n On the ball: recent Hibernia College Camogie and GAA scholarship presentations. Pictured are Dessie Farrell, CEO GPA, Aileen Lawlor, President Camogie Association, Dr. Seán Rowland, President Hibernia College, Aidan Harte GPA Hibernia College student, Sharon Lee Camogie Association Hibernia College student, Sinéad Lynch Camogie Association Hibernia College student and Melanie Ní Dhuinn Programme Director Hibernia College PDE.

virtual campus, the Higher Education Learning Management System (HELMS), which combines all the benefits of accessibility and flexibility inherent in online education with a high level of interaction between students and their peers and between students and their tutor. HELMS facilitates a wealth of specifically designed education aids: online campus communities, web-based e-mail, calendars, announcements and tasks providing students with a sense of campus community. HELMS provides programme management tools that enable tutors to provide students with programme materials, discussion boards, virtual chats, online assessments, and a dedicated academic resource centre on the Web. One of the most exciting features of HELMS is the multiple forms of tutor-student and student-student interaction it provides, including e-mail, asynchronous discussion forums and an interactive synchronous chat environment of the virtual classroom. The HELMS platform allows all forms of multimedia including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, html, Java applets, mpegs, audio files, streaming video, animations, and Flash technology. The Student Online Learning Experience: Academic programmes are based on a philosophy of education that seeks to combine advanced expertise with the development of the broader skills that are required for success in the field of contemporary education . These skills, including IT, analytical and research skills, give graduates the ability to search out and exploit information and enhance their creative and leadership capacities. A student at Hibernia College interacts with three main forms of content on a

weekly basis: On-Demand Content: This fully interactive content represents the main lecture material and can be studied online, downloaded for viewing offline or downloaded as a podcast. It can consist of text, audio, animations and video. Live Virtual Classes: Each on-demand lesson will be accompanied by a scheduled live class where students and a tutor can interact as if in a normal classroom. In the virtual classroom, the tutor presents material on a whiteboard and facilitate discussions on this material. All students can communicate (by voice and text) with the group or privately with the tutor. Learner Communities: Each week students are asked to reflect on that week’s material in the course discussion forum or through a personal learning diary. Fellow students will comment on each other’s experience and post their own comments. Students are also able to build groups of friends and send messages to their peers. Hibernia College makes use of on-site teaching facilities to deliver the face-to-face components of the College’s educational programmes. These include facilities at other academic institutions, commercial providers of teaching facilities and Education Centres. Education Centres are in existence to provide training, development & support for teachers and the wider school community. Hibernia College has chosen the best equipped and best located on-site teaching venues and Education Centres to suit the needs of its students. Find OUT MORE Education 5

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Department of Humanities @ ITT Dublin

A vibrant and proactive place to study


he Department of Humanities, at ITT Dublin is a vibrant and proactive place where students can chose to study for a degree in such diverse areas as Creative Digital Media, European Studies, Social Care Practice, Culinary Arts, and International Hospitality and Tourism Management. Besides undergraduate study students are able to pursue research degrees at Master and PhD levels in Social Science, Languages, Creative Digital Media, Literature, and Adult Mathematics Education. considerable investment A central theme of all programmes offered in the Department of Humanities is the alignment of theory and practice so students who complete any of the awards are able to DO and not just TALK ABOUT what their course qualifies them to do. To this end considerable investment has been made to ensure that students can study and work in practical environments where access to studio equipment, language resource materials, culinary and restaurant facilities enables them to achieve their creative and professional potential. With a practical class ratio set at 20:1 students are able to put theory into practice very quickly and become active players in their own learning. Practical and academic Besides the practical components on degree programmes students also pursue traditional “academic” modules where all student learner supports are available online. This approach ensures that students are prepared before they come to class and then in class can derive greater benefit through their exchanges with lecturers. Proof, if any is needed, that our approach works can be seen in the number of awards attained by students in Chef Ireland 2011 by Culinary Students; and the drink aware campaign (2011), and Student Media Awards 2011 by Creative Digital Media Students. active citizenship While formal study is an important part of a third level student’s life, critical aware-

ness of responsible and active citizenship is an essential component of education which is needed now more than ever as Ireland seeks to re-engineer how its society should function properly and in the process avoid committing grave errors made in the recent past. To this end the Department operates a highly successful Active Citizenship programme whereby students receive academic credit arising from voluntary work in the community. So whether it’s working with a local social and community services or assisting in the construction of a school abroad all such activity is valued and rewarded appropriately. The task of co-ordinating such activities is quite demanding and recognising these challenges, the Department has put in place both Internship and International co-ordinators to ensure that students can make their contribution in a constructive and meaningful manner. The work of the Internship and

International co-ordinators is not confined to volunteering activities but also to ensuring that Social Care Practice Students, European Studies, and International Hospitality and Tourism Management students can avail of placement opportunities to work and study at home and abroad. CAreer Launch All in all the Department of Humanities is a vibrant place where prospective students who wish to study arts, humanities, and social sciences should consider as they launch their careers whether as students coming straight from second level school, or those wishing to change their careers, or those who are coming back to education for whatever reason. The Department’s door is open and all are welcome to come in have a look, stay awhile, and hopefully leave better for having accepted the invitation to study with us.

DEPARTMENT OF HUMANITIES Undergraduate Programmes on offer for which applications are made through the Central Applications Office: TA006













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Galway Mayo Institute of Technology

GMIT highlights 50% increase in honours degrees offerings


he number of honours degree programmes offered by GMIT has increased by 50% in the past year, in response to student demand. Recent CAO statistics, show first preferences for honours degree programmes are up 10% on last year. The overall number of applicants for honours degree (level 8s) is up 13%. Some of the newer level 8 programmes on offer in all GMIT campuses are Construction Economics & Quantity Surveying (GA482), Architectural Technology (GA483), Mechanical Engineering (GA680), Physics & Instrumentation (GA783), Digital Media & S o ci e t y ( GA 8 8 4 ) , F u r n i t u re D e s i g n & Manufacture (GA981), Furniture Wood Technology (GA982), Business (GA182), and Information Systems Management (GA183). GMIT Registrar Michael Hannon says a special feature of applying to study honours degree programmes in GMIT is that students have the option of exiting after year two with a Higher Certificate or after third year with a degree. “What’s important is that students who exit have the option of returning a year later or whenever they are ready to proceed to the next level.”

“We have been successfully offering honours degrees for the past number of decades but are delighted to have significantly increased our level 8, or honours degree, offerings in recent years. Our students are at the centre of every decision we take, as evidenced by our unique ‘First Year Experience’ programme which helps our new students make a successful transition from second to third

level, supporting them throughout the entire first year”. GMIT Schools Liaison Office has produced a new video interviewing staff about the wide range of degree programmes on offer in GMIT. Watch it on the GMIT YouTube channel or check out the GMIT Schools Liaison Office on Facebook, and online at www.gmit. ie/slo

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Science careers All you need to know about your science career is a resource website promoting science, technology and engineering careers to second level students, with lots of great videos highlighting career opportunities – a great career guidance resource! The site provides profiles of companies in the ICT and Medical Devices sectors such as Ericsson, SAP, Boston Scientific and Abbott, as well as smaller indigenous Irish companies. Read career questions submitted by students and answered by industry professionals on how to get started in a career such as games development, cybers e c u r i t y, e n e r g y, d i a g n o s t i c s a n d manufacturing in our Chat area http:// Further engineering careers information and resources can be accessed on www. • Career videos: Young engineers talk about their work in their own words • 'What is engineering?' A complete guide to the various engineering disciplines • A searchable list of all engineering courses in Ireland • Maths video tutorials for Junior Cert and Leaving Cert revision • Free school visits from volunteer engineers Smart Futures is a joint partnership between Science Foundation IrelandDiscover Science & Engineering, Engineers Ireland, ICT Ireland, and the Irish Medical Devices Association "Smart Futures provides resources to students, teachers, guidance counsellors and parents, in order to stimulate an interest in STEM subjects in secondary school and at third level" Find OUT MORE Send your name and email address to to join the Smart Futures mailing list

The Smart Futures video series Want to give your students an insight into what it is like to work in some of the most progressive ICT and engineering firms in Ireland? The Smart Futures video series can help you achieve this, as each video captures “a day in the life” of engineers and technologists in the following organisations: • Wavebob – renewable technologies • Boston Scientific – biomedical engineering • Havok – computer gaming/physics • The Defence Forces – engineering in the Defence Forces • ESB International – working with wind energy SmartFutures visited the BT Young

Scientist and Technology Exhibition in January 2013 and spoke to students that had submitted some fantastic techrelated projects. Check out their video interviews: Students from Alexandra College, Dublin, talk about their ‘Space efficient light harvesting Fibonacci’ project, which went on to win the Science Foundation Ireland Special Award (Junior) Shane Curran, 1st year student from Terenure College, Dublin, talks about his project ‘Libramatic: Cloud Based System’ that went on to win the Google Trailblazers in Technology prize (Jnr Category). k8yOjxg0olo And much more...

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Meet Deirdre Kelleghan – astronomy, art and communication The SmartFurures website runs a series called The Friday Interview. In this interviews Science Ambassador Deirdre Kelleghan is an artist, amateur astronomer, informal educator and writer. Here she talks about how she chose her career, what her job is like, the cool things in her work, and her tips on what to study. Science Ambassadors include newly qualified and well established Irish scientists. They work in science and technology, love their work and want to help others learn about what it’s really like working in their particular areas of research and innovation. What have been your main ‘career decision’ milestones so far? As regards talks, public speaking and designing workshops, my seven years as a member of the Saturn Observation Campaign (SOC) has been most influential. The SOC is an informal educational programme for amateur astronomers run by JPL /NASA. My membership involves sharing information about the Cassini Mission to Saturn at least three times a year to a public audience. I have written and delivered talks about the Mission to hundreds of people over those years. I have also shared the planet Saturn with so many wide-eyed children and adults. This invaluable experience has given me a platform to write other talks and engage my audiences in a shared further exploration of our solar system and beyond. Doing voluntary astronomy talks over the years at Dunsink Observatory has also been very rewarding. Participating in Science Week for several years has been wonderful. Giving talks in libraries, schools and arts centers to thousands of children each year is very satisfying. Being invited to do three presentations at Hofstra University New York during International Year of Astronomy 2009 was very cool. Who are the people who most influenced your career direction? All the positive teachers, relatives and friends in my life. Other wonderful astronomers and astronomical artists who I have met along the way. Describe your typical day I don’t tend to have a typical day; each day is different depending on the work in hand. If I am painting, once I begin I tend to work for hours, then maybe not work on it for days and then come back to the canvas with fresh eyes. Some paintings take only days, some take months. Most of my paintings are explorations of the surfaces of other worlds. If I am doing a drawing workshop I pack the equipment in the car the evening before, so getting to the venue is my only pressure. It’s very rewarding to impart the excite-

ment of our solar system and space exploration via drawing to children. Sometimes several workshops in one day can be a challenge, especially if the venues are distant from each other. I have to be very flexible when I arrive as each venue is different and I need to adapt my presentation, equipment etc on the spot to suit the attendees. If I choose to do a Moon drawing for a book or an article I am on tenterhooks hoping for a clear evening. On an ideal night I have the telescope set up early in the best position to follow my target. I might observe the area I intend to draw several times before I am ready to start. My drawing easel and pastels are ready and I have to be very focused indeed to capture the lunar feature in as much detail as possible. Full-phase Moon drawings can take up to two hours or more to complete, other features perhaps an hour. Photography is involved if it’s a step-by-step article or book chapter that can be very awkward in the flow of the drawing. Mostly I would write an outline report on my drawing soon as it is finished.

"It is totally cool to see photographic images taken at the same time of the same lunar or solar feature that I have also drawn" What’s cool about your work? Regarding my astronomical drawings, it is totally cool to see photographic images taken at the same time of the same lunar or solar feature that I have also drawn. Compare both and be amazed at how close I got to reality with my eyes. It’s the coolest thing in the world to see children’s smiling faces when they have learned about a solar system object for the first time and produced a wonderful drawing of that object for themselves. What particular skills do you bring to your workplace? I have the ability to speak about the wonders of the night sky in a way that really touches people and gains their interest.

What subjects did you take in school, and how have these influenced your career path? When I was young, going on to third-level education was not something everyone did or could do – I had to go straight to work when I finished secondary school. This was difficult as I wanted to go to art college but could not. However as I was working (in graphic design) I paid for myself to go to college at night and did a Diploma in Art in Industry and Commerce. To fulfill my needs I also did courses in life drawing at night in the National College of Art and Design which I totally loved. There is no hindsight worth pursuing, as what happened is in the past and I got on with my life in my own way, with my own drive. What aspects of your education have proven most important for your job? Probably the most important education course I took on in later life was Communications in UCD. It enabled me to polish up what I was already doing. What personal qualities do you have that helps you in your career? In the career I have carved for myself it is vital be able to impart my excitement in the wonders of space exploration to my audience. The central core of being successful in this task is to be totally honest. What advice would you give someone considering this job? Being a self-employed artist is probably the most difficult job really. You need to be highly motivated in the tasks you set for yourself. You need to be able to work on your inspirations and be totally focused on your targets. If your painting does not work first time you need to be able to learn from your experience and use what worked in another piece. Your ability to have confidence in your journey exploring your choice of subjects in paint is important. As regards doing workshops, bringing fun into the entire effort is the most important element to achieve. Your audiences will learn in a more sustainable way and produce drawings to be proud of. Education 15

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Information Technology Education

Supporting people to get on a Fastrack to IT F

IT (Fastrack to IT) enables marginalised job seekers access new employment opportunities through the acquisition of marketable ICT skills and professional development. Since 1990 over 12,000 marginalised job seekers have participated in FIT training programmes of which 8,500 have progressed into employment. FIT collaborates with the Government across a number of Departments and in particular with the Department of Education & Skills, FÁS and VECs. The Board of FIT which is a not-for profit company, is comprised of major multi-nationals Accenture, AOL, ATOS, Cisco, Dell, Eircom, EMC2, IBM, ICT Ireland, Lionbridge, Maxim, Microsoft, NTR, Oracle, Origin Enterprises, PayPal/eBay, SAP, Skillsoft, Siemens, Sisk Healthcare, Symantec, Version 1, welocalise and The jobs of the future will increasingly come from the new growth sectors such as ICT (Cloud computing, gaming, mobile...) and creative technologies; renewables/lowcarbon energy solutions and professional services in business, finance, e-commerce, e-healthcare, tourism and education. FIT has developed a broad strategy responsive to the market opportunities outlined with the focus on equipping people with skills for the knowledge economy. At EU level FIT is committed to share its experience for the benefit of other member states especially those that are struggling with high levels of unemployment and in many cases with massive youth unemployment. The European Commission launched the Grand Coalition for Digital Jobs on the 4th March 2013 in the context that the EU is approaching one million unfilled jobs in the ICT jobs sector. The following are some of its objectives: • Improve the image and attractiveness of ICT careers • Offer training packages co-designed with the ICT industry

• Offer more aligned degrees and curricula at vocational and university level education that will respond to the needs of the students and the industry • Improve recognition of qualifications across countries FIT was invited to present at the launch in Brussels and also made a Grand Coalition pledge to offer its expertise and experience across the EU and in particular in Spain,

n FIT young ambassadors for the Youth2Work programme Wayne Benzies, Emma Temple, Jonathan Gorman meet Taoiseach Enda Kenny T.D. and Cathriona Hallahan MD of Microsoft Ireland at the launch of youth2Work on February 21st.

Portugal and Greece and to further increase its activity in Ireland. FIT had the endorsement and support of Microsoft Europe for this initiative and believes that the Irish Presidency of the EU is a perfect scenario for FIT to share its learning and model. Challenge for Young People in Get Online Week FIT is the national partner for Telecentre Europe’s Get Online Week and is promoting the campaign in Ireland in March 2013. The themes of the EU backed initiative are • Empowering youth • ICT education and skills for employment • Engaging new Onliners FIT is promoting the use of Internet Buttons in partnership with UPC and challenges all young people to go on to the free www. web site and to create buttons for their parents, grandparents and others who have not yet gone online. It’s a great way for young people to share their everyday IT skills with the older generation. FIT and Young People As part of the Microsoft YouthSpark programme, FIT and Microsoft have come together to develop Youth2Work to help tackle Ireland’s youth unemployment problem.

It is a training and development programme targeted at 18 – 25 year olds, giving them information, advice and access to ‘indemand’ skills, work experience and interview and CV development support. Complementing existing government funded interventions, this youth focused initiative it aims to reach 10,000 unemployed young people over the next three years helping to strengthen their chances of securing work in the IT sector. Speaking at the YouthSpark launch Taoiseach Enda Kenny, T.D. said: “The Government's top priority is to get Ireland working again. We are committed to addressing the issue of youth unemployment as we cannot allow a generation to become long term unemployed. In responding to this challenge we are implementing our Pathways to Work reform programme, which has radically transformed how the State supports jobseekers to get back into the work force. "In addition, we have launched a series of training intervention programmes over the past two years to help tackle youth unemployment and to promote ICT skills training. The issue of youth unemployment has also been prioritised in our EU Presidency. “I welcome Microsoft’s commitment to supporting our efforts by rolling out a series of measures to address the youth unemployment challenge. I am confident that YouthSpark will have a significant impact over the years ahead, while the scale of the

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FIT and Schools

Youth2Work initiative, being rolled out in partnership with FIT, will deliver large numbers of training places immediately. This will be a great opportunity for our young people who are anxious to acquire new skills and kick start their careers.” Commenting about the launch of YouthSpark in Ireland, Cathriona Hallahan, recently appointed MD for Microsoft Ireland said: “While the economic indicators are beginning to improve, a major concern for the future is the high level of youth unemployment. I welcome the Government’s commitment to addressing this problem and was delighted to see that it is a priority for the EU Presidency. “As a company, we feel that we have a responsibility to develop solutions to this major challenge. By investing in YouthSpark, and specifically in Youth2Work with the invaluable support of FIT, we aim to positively impact the lives of thousands of young people over the next three years helping to close the opportunity divide by giving them access to technology and skills which will help them get on the pathway to work.” Commenting about the impact that Youth2Work will make Peter Davitt, CEO, FIT said: “Through Youth2Work, we are seeking to support all young people from the most challenged circumstances to the most capable by providing the opportunity for each one to take the next step toward a career. By doing that we want them to be inspired to develop their talent and follow their dream. FIT is proud to work with Microsoft to deliver what we expect to be a life changing programme for thousands of Ireland’s young people.” the champion Speaking at the launch Bernard Dunne, WBA Super Bantamweight World Champion and Youth2Work champion, said: “Helping to ensure that young people have the opportunity to achieve their potential is one of the things that I feel passionate about - whether that is in sport, in education or in professional life. Regardless of what you want to do or what kind of a job you ultimately end up in, having technology skills is essential. I am delighted that Microsoft and FIT have invited me to be the champion for Youth2Work. I believe it is going to make a serious difference to the lives of many young people.

FIT is a firm believer in supporting young people in our secondary schools to get access to ICT skills to help them to enjoy their learning experience, to give them additional practical skills and to expose them to ICT as a possible course of study and career. FIT has been privileged to work closely with a number of schools in pilot programmes over the last few years. The experience has been eye opening and FIT learned that the potential to support young people is great, especially when it is facilitated by inspirational Principals and extraordinarily committed and enthusiastic teachers. George Ryan, Programme Manager at FIT spoke to two of the Principals involved in the pilot programmes and asked them to recount their experiences. Mary Daly (pictured top right), Principal of St. Dominic’s in Ballyfermot said “These resources from FIT give our students a wonderful opportunity to develop their technological skills which enhances their learning experiences. Therefore, the students become more independent, creative, self-directed, curious, responsible and motivated learners. They are continually encouraged to think critically, problem solve, communicate effectively, work collaboratively and utilize the technology in preparation for college life, careers and the challenges of the 21st Century. Since 2000, we have had a steady increase in the number of students pursuing 3rd Level education. In 2012, 47% of our students progressed to 3rd Level colleges and Universities, an increase of 22% from 2011!!!! Our students are now pursuing courses in Trinity, UCD, IT Tallaght, NUI M , DIT, DCU , M a t e r D e i , IT Blanchardstown, IT Athlone and most of the remaining students are following PLC Courses. This success is due to our dedicated and professional staff in St Dominic’s who are constantly planning and review-

ing to ensure that every student is supported to take control of their learning, and are motivated to have high expectations to achieve their full potential. I would like to thank FIT who have worked closely our school since 2000 and have afforded our students the opportunity to integrate the use of technology in their learning experiences.” Pauline Duffy (pictured bottom left) who is the Principal of Collinstown Park Community College commented “Young people identify with technology. They regard it as an important part of their lives and they connect with it. Technology captures young people’s attention and interest. As educators, we constantly research and develop alternative and new resources with which to engage our young learners. What better way to engage young people in learning than through something that matters to them, in this case technology. Knowing the significance of technology in young people’s lives and with a long history of a close and very effective working relationship with FIT, we were pleased to be part of this eFuture project. In my opinion our students have benefited hugely from their involvement in the project. Their learning has been enhanced through their previously established interest and connection with technology. The interest and established connections acted as a firm foundation on which to build the students learning. The project provided learning opportunities within and beyond the classroom.” If you are a school that is interested in learning more about the free resources available from FIT please contact Helen Mahon at and for more information on the FIT initiative or the programmes mentioned in this article please go to Education 17

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FIT and Microsoft launch the Youth2Work Initiative Microsoft and FIT are collaborating in the implementation of an innovative youth initiative called “Youth2Work” which seeks to build on the successful track record of both organisations to address challenges facing young people in terms of access to quality employment opportunities. Developed in partnership between Microsoft and FIT, it combines industry insight and commitment with years of hands on experience of delivering successful employment programmes providing ‘in-demand’ IT skills. Building on this track record, the Youth2Work initiative aims to support 10,000 young people to acquire ICT skills and thereafter assist them to secure employment within the ICT Sector. The programme will support unemployed young people who have untapped potential to benefit from in-demand market led ICT skills training and access to relevant guidance and mentoring supports leading to careers in ICT. For further information contact youth2work@

Follow Bernard Dunne and our three young ambassadors , Emma, Jonathan and Wayne at Peter Davitt CEO FIT, Cathriona Hallahan MD of Microsoft Ireland, Taoiseach Enda Kenny T.D. and Bernard Dunne, WBA Super Bantamweight World Champion and Youth2Work champion at the launch of Youth2Work on the 21st February 2013.

in partnership with

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College of Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Sciences, UCC

Arts - acquiring skills for the real world It is the skills that Arts graduates acquire while studying for their degree that employers are most interested in


eptember is the busiest time of year in the College of Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Sciences at UCC. We have students returning to second, third and fourth year on the eight undergraduate degree programmes we offer. But, more importantly, we have students registering for first year of these degrees. We are very conscious that coming to College for the first time is a big change for many students and while first years attend a very comprehensive orientation programme before term begins, the following are some of the concerns most frequently raised by students. Mentoring for First Year Students At orientation all first years meet and are linked with a student from second or third year of the same degree programme. This ‘peer support leader’ will guide you at orientation and can show you what life at UCC is all about. Your peer support leader will give you their contact details and will meet with you as little or as often as you like during the year to offer a friendly and confidential ear

students make a smooth transition from secondary school to University. Your personal tutor will be happy to help you with any aspect of your academic life at UCC. What subject to choose?

as well as providing practical, emotional and social support to you in your first year in the College of Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Sciences. Mostly peer support leaders can offer you their take on life at UCC and offer some practical help in dealing with issues that they themselves experienced in first year. In addition, all first year students in the College of Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Sciences are assigned an academic member of staff under the CACSSS Personal Tutor Scheme. The aim of this scheme is to help

The College of Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Sciences offers students the choice of 29 subjects in CK101. Some subjects will be familiar from school like English and History and some will be completely new like Philosophy and Sociology. Because you have to register for four subjects before the year starts (and before you have even tried anything), it is understandable if you are afraid to try a new subject in case you don’t like it and opt, instead, to play it safe and register for a subject you know. Many students do not realise that for the first five weeks of term, you can attend any lecture in any subject. As many subjects as you like, in fact. If you find a subject or subjects that you like more than those you are register for, then you can simply call to the College office and, if the subject isn’t full, switch into it then and there. So, use the first five weeks of term to make sure that you are registered for the best subjects for you.

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New International Pathway in CK101

New Subject – Portuguese Brazil is now rapidly moving to the forefront of the word stage and, as a result, Portuguese is becoming a language of increased global significance. Responding to the need to equip students with the skills to deal with a fast-changing global workplace, the College of Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Sciences at UCC are expanding our current suite of languages of French, German, Italian, Spanish and Chinese to include Portuguese as a subject in our BA degree. With dedicated staff and native tutors of language, students will take Portuguese language as complete beginners and will also study the history and cultures of the Portuguese-speaking world of Portugal, Brazil, Angola and Mozambique.

From this year, all incoming students into CK101, the three-year BA programme, will have the option of extending their degree by one year and spending third year studying at a university in another country. Living abroad for a year is a fantastic opportunity, it not only fosters maturity and independence, it also enhances cultural awareness and demonstrates commitment and adaptability, all attributes valued highly by employers. We currently have links with Universities in Europe, USA, Canada, Brazil and China offering students a huge choice of destinations. Students indicate their preference for this pathway when they register for second year. Why employers want Arts Graduates It is a fact that, in their careers, most Arts graduates never directly use the subjects they study in their degree. It is also true that nearly half of the employers who contact the Careers Service in UCC are seeking graduates of any discipline. It is the skills that Arts graduates acquire while studying for their degree that employers are most interested in. That and good overall results, of course. Intellectual skills (problem solving, researching and analysing data), social skills (communication, presentation, team work) and management skills

(organisation, time/project management, IT skills) make Arts graduates the preferred employee for many employers. Holders of an Arts degree with good overall results have already proven that they are willing to learn, that they are dependable, motivated and committed with good oral, presentation and written skills. Look at our ‘Careers after an Arts Degree’ section on our homepage which features some of our Arts graduates who are now employed in such diverse areas as advertising, publishing, banking, forensics, film and theatre. Find OUT MORE For further information or to arrange a school visit please email Karen Coughlan at Scan our QR code or check out of School Leavers 2012 page at

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Educational Assessment

A professional qualification in Psycho-Educational Testing


never knew that there was so much to know about educational testing”; “Even after all the years of testing, I feel much more confident and I feel much more qualified”. These are just two comments from experienced teachers that have completed a professional course in educational testing. The course they are talking about is a 4 day course, run by Éirim: The National Assessment Agency Ltd. On successful completion of the course students receive the Certificate of Competence in Educational Testing (CCET), awarded by the British Psychological Society. Rebecca Good from Éirim says “we have been running this certificate course for the past 5 years and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive with 100% of students saying they would recommend the course to a friend. In the last few years it has become increasingly popular as schools and individuals begin to realise the importance and benefits of such training”.

have for students I think it is imperative for schools to have staff that are appropriately qualified in educational testing. "While many teachers do have practical experience of testing they regularly tell us that they simply do not feel confident giving, scoring, interpreting and feeding back results of tests. In fact many tell us that they didn’t realise that there was so much to know about educational tests and that they will be much more cautious in the future” .

confident and qualified The course is run and taught by experienced Educational Psychologists. Kate James, one of the trainers on the programme says “one of the great benefits of the course is that many teachers feel much more confident and qualified at identifying learning difficulties and putting appropriate interventions in place for students. This is particularly important as it is becoming increasingly difficult to access educational psychology services”. As one course graduate wrote “we will be much less reliant on our educational psychologist to identify needs – I will be able to clarify ‘hunches’ and better able to intervene at earlier stages”. Over the four days the course covers theoretical and practical topics such as test administration, what makes a ‘good’ and ‘bad’ test, how to choose appropriate tests, data protection, interpretation of test data and reporting results back to others. It is unique in that not only does it require teachers to demonstrate their knowledge and skills during the four days but it also requires them to demonstrate their knowledge and skills afterwards, in the workplace.

many backgrounds An additional benefit of the course is that successful graduates can use their qualification as credits towards a masters degree in special education with Middlesex University. The success and popularity of the course is not only due to the high quality training that students receive but also because of the increasing recognition by schools that they need to have qualified educational testers amongst their staff. support Ms. Good says, “All schools are regularly involved in testing. Much of this testing is used to identify pupils who have special educational needs, so that support or accommodations can be put in place. Some testing can have hugely important consequences for the students, for example whether they get accommodations in exams or access to support classes. Given the enormous implications test results can

“This course will appeal to anyone involved in testing. We have run these courses all over Ireland and have had people from many professional backgrounds including teachers, SENCO’s, assistant psychologists, resource teachers, principals and occupational psychologists.” A last piece of advice from Ms. Good is “come prepared! This is an intensive course with a heavy work load but students tell us that although they are exhausted it is a thoroughly worthwhile experience. In fact I think many students are pleasantly surprised to hear that all their hard work counts towards a master’s degree in special education”. Find OUT MORE For information on the next 4 day courses being run please visit or contact us by email ( or by phone (01) 4992217 Education 23

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College of Computer Training

For careers in the growing ICT sector T

here is a 14th Century proverb that claims “Great Oaks from little acorns grow” and whilst this thought was furthest from Neil Gallagher’s mind when he set out his vision for a specialist IT higher education college in Dublin, nevertheless when one enters CCT ’s s t a t e o f t h e a r t c a m p u s i n Westmoreland Street, Dublin 2, one cannot help believe that indeed in a short space of time, a mighty Oak has risen from very humble beginnings. Identifying a significant niche in the market whose needs were not being catered for by the traditional college and university structure, CCT has specialised in offering industry led specialised courses to those who were interested in pursuing careers in the growing ICT sector. This policy has paid dividends with the college having an excellent reputation within industry and graduates being successfully placed in the top companies. From that first day with 10 students in one classroom, CCT today has an extensive range of full and part time programs accredited by HETAC, FETAC, University of

Hertfordshire UK, NCC Education and City & Guilds. The college also runs industry certified programs such as Microsoft certified, Cisco Networking, .net and Java programming. It also partakes in a range of government funded programs including Springboard, Momentum and FAS. This year sees another milestone in CCT’s history with the college entering the CAO process for the first time. The courses offered on CAO will be the Higher Certificate in Science in Computing in IT Level 6 programme, and the BSc in Information Technology Level 7 programme In reflecting the college ethos of keeping close to industry, monitoring current education trends and being adaptable to changing circumstances, last year CCT launched a secondary school initiative called Bridge to College. This is an unique program specifically aimed at 4th,5th and 6th year students who wish to get a “taste” of computer programming, web development and design, networking. It is designed to make students aware of the opportunities in the

sector and to encourage them to actively think of a career in ICT. This initiative is strongly supported by leading multinational companies and is provided Free to all students. However that is enough general information, what about college specifics such as facilities, student life, course details, enrolment procedures College & Facilities Housed in an ideally located city centre state of the art premises, CCT has contributed to the complete renovation and restoration of a historical building, situated at 30-34 Westmoreland St., Dublin 2. The building which is a very recognisable landmark was previously the head office of EBS, Recently renovated the new CCT premises avails of all city-centre amenities, and is situated on all public transport routes servicing all areas of the city and greater Dublin, including bus, train and tram. Below is a list of just some of the facilities and resources present at the CCT campus on Westmoreland St.: • Accessible city centre campus building • 26,000 square feet of learning space • Extensive Library space actual and online resources • Canteen area • Starbucks Coffee House on campus • Series of practical and educational computer laboratories • Lecture auditoriums • Technology and Automation Engineering Lab • Creative spaces • 2,800 square feet of Recreational area with access to pool tables, table-tennis, table football, eating area, student kitchen, student lounge, and cinema room • Internet Lobby Bar • Reception Atrium • Disabled Access Certification • Corporate Training Suites • State of the art learning and teaching resources

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Student Life As one might expect from a college specialising in leading edge technology the student population has a truly international outlook with the 800 students representing 27 different nationalities. This not only allows students gain an international perspective but also means that local students can avail of the excellent support services that has being developed to manage the International student. Being away from home and facing third level is one of the most difficult transitions in a student life. Having a relatively small student population has enabled CCT to take direct interest in student development and provide the help and extra support that a close knit college community can provide. Course Details CCT provides full and part time, ICT and Business programmes from Levels 5 to 9. The College also offers Business and Computer Science programmes at Postgraduate and Masters level. Further education and training programmes are mainly awarded at CCT by FETAC or City & Guilds, with higher education and training programmes awarded by HETAC or University of Hertfordshire, UK. The current offerings on the CAO listing are the Higher Certificate in Science in Computing in IT Level 6 programme, and the BSc in Information Technology Level 7 programme. They also provide corporate training programmes, many of which are customised to clients such as Ulster Bank, Irish Aviation Authority, Failte Ireland, and Bank of Ireland, and delivered at all levels from basic to specialised. Typical programmes provided over the last year to organisations ranged from ECDL Applications based training to .NET Programming, to Information Security, and Project Management. CCT is one of the few independent colleges in Ireland currently providing courses under Irish government funded Springboard and Momentum schemes. They offer industry-aligned and well developed programmes which enhance and increase the opportunities to job-seekers in Ireland today. As previously mentioned one of the most

successful recent initiatives was the free Bridge to College or Taster course that targeted at the Irish secondary school market. CCT ran a pilot programme in 2012 delivering FETAC Level 5 component certificate programmes to a large number of 5th and 6th year secondary school students around the Dublin area, in the fields of Computer Programming, Computer Networking, and Web Design. This initiative seeks to give more information to college and ICT course seeking students, who perhaps did not have access to structured learning of Computing based subjects through school, and who have an interest in pursuing college careers and further in ICT. Knowing more or developing a taste of these subjects can only serve to further focus the minds in this area It is expected that once again this year that these course s will be oversubscribed. Information on booking places on this program will be forwarded to all secondary schools in early April. Enrolment Procedures The enrolment procedure for all programs is quite straight forward with the students being able to apply direct to the college admissions office, , or alternatively through the CAO for the two courses which are on their listing. As a private college you are liable for course fees however there is no registration fee which has become quite significant in recent years. Also there are a number of

scholarships and fees concessions available for which students may apply. When these are taken into account, there is very little difference in terms of cost. Once again it is best to contact CCT admissions in order to get more information on the schemes available. Future In finishing, it is hard to get away from the fact that ICT has a very strong future in Ireland and offers fantastic potential and opportunity in terms of employment and career development. At present depending on which government or European agency you listen to there are over 4,500 current vacancies in the ICT sector in Ireland alone at present and this at a time of 400,000 unemployed. Also it is expected for demand in Europe to rise significantly over the next ten years with a recent European study highlighting the fact that by 2020 there will be a need for 900,000 ICT professionals in Europe. I started with an English quotation and I would like to finish up with one as Gaelige, “Is tús maith leath na hoibre”, a good start is half the work. CCT have definitely made a great start and when one chats with the management team, one can easily understand how they have progressed so far so quickly. Taking this into account, given CCT’s management focus and knowledge, considering the employment opportunities available and allowing for the unique position that CCT has developed within the higher education ICT sector, I would think that the future is looking very positive for CCT and Irish education. Find OUT MORE College of Computer Training (CCT), 30 - 34 Westmoreland St., Dublin 2 Tel: 01 6333444 • Email: Web: Education 25

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Digital Media at GMIT

The cutting edge of digital media


his new, unique and innovative programme explores how individuals, society and technology interact. This programme is for students who want to be at the cutting edge of the digital media technologies, who have an interest in how technology is changing society and want to participate in shaping that change. Students will spend most of their time working with technology, learning how to manage Digital Media: from planning, creating and managing digital content to building fully functional websites that include social features, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), web analytics and much more. Participants will learn how to design solutions and customise images, podcasts & social media for voluntary and commercial organisations.

Other programmes at GMIT: 4 Applied Social Studies 4 Accountancy 4 Arts 4 Heritage 4 Nursing 4 Outdoor Education

4 Computer Applications 4 Construction Management 4 Business 4 Human Resource Management 4 Information Technology Support 4 Sustainable Building Technology

Modules Students will explore sociology and how technology affects society. Business and Marketing modules provide a solid foundation in relevant theories and applications. Students may also choose to study a part i c u l a r E u ro p e a n l a n g u a g e a s y o u r elective. What will differentiate Digital Media & Society graduates from the other digital media graduates is an understanding of the influence of digital media on society and highly developed communication and team-work skills. Students will build their own e-portfolio within this programme capturing their experiences and skills. This portfolio may be used later in advancing a professional career or furthering academic studies. Career opportunities As a graduate of the B.Sc. (Hons) in Digital Media & Society students will meet the huge demand for a new type of interactive technologist who customises social digital media solutions for organisations, communities and individuals. Watch out for the new Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Digital Media & Society facebook site. Find OUT MORE Website: technology/bsc-hons-digmes.html Education 27

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Getting in The universities' view of the points race

Early on in his job as Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn asked the Irish Universities Association (IUA) if the universities could come up with some ideas to address the vexed question of the points race and its effect on teaching, learning and outcomes. This is the IUA response (minus the appendices). 1. The Problem is Systemic We have concluded that the structure and content of the second level curriculum, methods of assessment and the transition to third level are systemically interconnected. They have an impact and influence on both learners and educators alike. Solutions to the problems articulated by you can only be derived through “joined up� concerted action, since most changes to the system have repercussions at both second and third level, and indeed, potentially in the broader social and economic environment.

2. Core Principles Change has to have regard to the core principles underpinning selection and admission. For our part these are to: l Reward merit and student effort l Promote equity of access l Ensure transparency and simplicity l Maintain integrity, incorruptibility and

high levels of public trust l Ensure efficiency and cost-effectiveness l Promote positive educational values and achievements and personal development l Avoid distorting other elements of the educational continuum. We want to highlight the pragmatic reality that the design of any selection and admission system involves trade-offs between these principles: there is no perfect system. However, we equally want to highlight that there are significant problems with the current system which need to be addressed. While the existing admissions system worked well following its initial introduction, and in many respects continues to work well, a pattern has emerged where the selection process for higher education is having disproportionate and undesirable effects on student learning behaviours at second level. Specifically, the interaction between a highly predictable

and high stakes Leaving Certificate Examination, the manner in which grades are awarded and converted into a points score, and the proliferation of options for entry into higher education has had three adverse effects (i) a tendency to rote learning at second level (ii) strategic subject choice in the senior cycle and (iii) premature specialisation at third level. We highlight the issues with the current system by reference to its positive and negative features.

3. Pros and Cons of the current Leaving Certificate / Points System 3.1 Positive features of current system (Pros) In its favour, the construct of the current (mainstream) selection and entry system is: l Utterly transparent l Highly efficient and cost effective l The Leaving Certificate continues to be

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a reliable predictor of student performance in higher education. 3.2 Negative features (Cons) However, optimising these positive features comes at a price, as the system: l Does not promote positive educational values or personal development, but rather a very narrow instrumental approach to education and development which distorts approaches to teaching and learning, including subject choice, and creates a feed forward distortion into third level; l While equitable in the transparency and incorruptibility of the assessment and selection process, it promotes significant inequity through the capacity of the more advantaged to game the system.

4. The system must be rebalanced in favour of positive educational values The current benefits of the Leaving Certificate/ Points system come at a significant price. We have concluded, therefore, that the system needs to be rebalanced in favour of positive educational values, personal development and a more seamless relationship between second, further and higher education. This can only be done by the key actors responsible for assessment, selection and admissions acting in concert.

5. Specific Recommendations of the IUA Council At this juncture, we wish to highlight three specific recommendations which we wish to see progressed: 1. Reduce Leaving Certificate Grading Scale from 14 to 8 Points We have concluded that there is merit in reducing the current fourteen point grading scale to an eight point scale, i.e. A1, A2, B, C, D, E, F, NG. This will allow beneficial changes to how the leaving certificate is assessed and consequent changes in university selection methods. 2. Further move towards common entry Much of the “heat” in the “points race” arises from those courses where places are most limited and thus points are highest. A move to greater common entry would be challenging but would significantly alter the dynamic of competition for university places. It is desirable that institutions progress towards greater common entry, while noting that there will continue to be a particular challenge regarding competition for entry into highly selective programmes

such as the health professions and other similar areas. 3. Incentivise Strategically Important Subjects Currently (with the exception of bonus points for maths) all subjects are treated equally for points purposes. There is scope to change this approach to create further incentives for students to study and achieve in specific, prioritised subjects. These recommendations and a number of other priority issues will now be taken forward.

6. Expert Taskforce to Report in December 2012 We are now establishing an expert Taskforce to develop final proposals on the necessary system changes and a roadmap for implementation. The taskforce will be chaired on behalf of Council by Professor Philip Nolan, President of NUI Maynooth. In addition to the relevant university representatives, we are seeking the close involvement of senior NCCA and SEC officials in the work of the Taskforce. The Taskforce will complete its work by the end of 2012.

7. Priority issues We do not wish to be prescriptive in regard to the issues to be addressed by the taskforce. However, based on our work to date, we wish to draw attention to a number of priority issues outlined below. Where relevant, more detailed information is provided in the accompanying notes in relation to our specific recommendations and these priority issues. 7.1 Revised Leaving Certificate assessment methodologies This is a priority issue which will be addressed by the Taskforce, including how the long term relationship between the universities and the State’s curriculum and assessment structures can be more strategically developed to support positive educational values and learning behaviours at second and third level. In particular, a critical review is needed of how the structure of the examination and

its assessment modalities may backwash into undesirable learning behaviours at second level and impact negatively on the preparedness of students for third level. 7.2 Changes to University Entry Requirements (It should be noted that there will be a certain small amount of double counting of students across these various categories (for example, the same student may be classified under both FETAC and part-time, or may have applied using both the Mature and DARE routes). However, any such double counting would be at the margin.) There are various ways in which university entry could be modified to be less dependent on the points system. At present, the mainstream points system is the dominant (but far from exclusive route) to higher education entry, accounting for approximately 78% of new undergraduate entrants each year. As can be seen by the summary table below, significant numbers of students apply to and enter Irish universities through alternative, less competitive, entry routes such as the Mature student and FETAC entry routes, the Higher Education Access Route (HEAR) and the Disability Access Route to Education (DARE). 7.2.A More common entry programmes Such programmes are already a feature of the university system. 7.2 gives our analysis of the place of common entry and more specialised entry in an Irish and international context. 7. 2 B. Graduate entry only for certain professional courses These are the courses for which the competition is greatest and thus have the highest points. In the US many of these courses are graduate entry only. Issues including cost and the accreditation requirements of professional bodies need to be explored. 7. 3. Reversion to the previous less granular method of grading the Leaving Certificate – with implications for the points system As stated in section five, we are recommending movement from the current 14 grade point system to an 8 point system

Applicants 2010

% of Total Applicants 2010

Net Accepts 2010

% of Net Total Accepts 2010





















Academic Year 2010 -11

Total Undergraduate FT + PT

Undergraduate Part-time

Undergraduate Part-time %



15% Education 29

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New Models of Assessment - TCD Pilot Following on from its international conference, ‘Undergraduate Admissions for the 21st Century’, held on 18 May 2012, Trinity College Dublin is developing a pilot scheme to admit students using an alternative admissions route. A University implementation group is examining how to admit students to a high points course, such as Law, with a view towards trialling this approach for Leaving Certificate 2014. Law is considered a good test case, as it is a high-demand, high-prestige course. The approach follows the advice of Steven Schwartz, the Vice-Chancellor of Macquarie University and the author of the UK government’s report on ‘Fair Admissions to Higher Education’, who said at the conference: ‘The best approach is not to use a single indicator or score. It is better to use a comprehensive set of predictors in the hope that the weaknesses of one might be compensated by the strengths of another.’ As regards the modalities of this approach the following example is illustrative: For a course havand have undertaken research on the effects of this. 7.4. Ranking based scores for points purposes This involves moving away from awarding points for absolute performance in the Leaving Certificate and focusing on the relative performance in the discipline. In essence, the highest points are awarded to the cohort of students who perform best relative to their peers in the specific subject. (Note 3) 7.5. Supplementary Assessment Introduce more extensive non-leaving cert based supplementary assessment methodologies such as personal statements or HPAT type assessments. 7. 5 A. Introduce a Mathematics and Irish examination for matriculation purposes at end fifth year While bonus points for maths have assisted in addressing the issue of students dropping back to the ordinary course from the honours course, there is potential to use additional approaches to address this phenomenon. Consideration could be given to an examination at the end of fifth year which could be used for matriculation purposes where passes in Irish and / or maths are required. The effect of this would be to give students the confidence that they had satisfied minimum university requirements for entry and to encourage them to continue to pursue the higher level course. 7. 6. Effects of subject combination (including for repeat purposes) Another area which may be worth addi-

ing a nominal 100 places, 60 places would be filled in the traditional way, with those with the highest points receiving a first round offer, 20 places would be reserved for non-traditional students reflecting the commitment to access and diversity, and 20 places would be set aside for the pilot. Any applicant student who achieved 400 points or more would be considered for these pilot places. Students wishing to study Law at Trinity in 2014-2015 would apply using the online CAO form, but would be directed to a separate page in respect of their application for the course. Here they would provide some contextual data, and be required to answer a range of long (500 words) and short (25 words) questions. For example, a long question might be: ‘Benjamin Franklin once said, “All mankind is divided into three classes: those that are immovable, those that are movable, and those that move.” Which are you?’ A short question might be: ‘If you could witness one moment in history, what would it be and why?’

tional consideration is the fact that some subjects in the Leaving Certificate overlap. There is anecdotal evidence that some students combine these strategically, especially when repeating the LC. Some research into the distribution of these subjects, especially in repeat LC situations, would give a clearer indication of this. Examples of potential overlap areas worth examining include Agricultural Science, Biology and Home Economics (Social & Scientific). This will be pursued in the context of the Taskforce’s work. 7. 7. Expansion of bonus points Provide additional points for certain subjects – sub options here are to do this for specific entry routes or at a more general level for subjects which are deemed to be strategically important and/or are more demanding in terms of workload at second level. The planned review of the Bonus Points for LC Higher Level Mathematics pilot scheme, introduced in 2012, will inform this option. 7. 8. Information and Transversal/ Foundational Skills A number of other issues relating to the transition to Higher Education have featured in the policy dialogue including the provision of better information for students on course offerings and the development of transversal skills. These matters are well progressed at university level. One structural issue which arises is the timing of the release of the LC results. Currently, this allows very little flexibility for learners, guidance counsellors or providers to ensure that the final choices made by learners regarding post-secondary options are made based on the most complete

information possible, including LC results. This is important in ensuring that learners progress effectively and efficiently to their most suitable option, and that this transition is made in a way which enhances the learner’s chances of success.

8. Overall configuration of the Post-Secondary system A significant part of the pressure on students which is attributed to the points system arises from an excess of demand over supply for university places, as opposed to places in other parts of the post- secondary education and training landscape. This pressure would be alleviated by improving progression through the entire post-secondary system. In particular, further education is quite underdeveloped in Ireland. Demographic projections indicate that there will be strong pressure on further and higher education over the next two decades and concerted action needs to be taken now to more critically examine the structure of provision to address this. IUA is already working closely with HEA in this regard. These efforts need to be expanded at national level to holistically assess provision and progression routes across further and higher education.

This is an abridged version of the IUA report. The full report can be downloaded at

30 Education

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Exciting career opportunities in the financial services sector - 10,000 new jobs to be created

Choose this programme to gain a comprehensive and market-relevant qualification leading to a rewarding career in Ireland or overseas New IFSC strategy for creating 10,000 jobs... In New York in June 2011 the Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan, announced that he would be bringing forward a new strategy for the creation of 10,000 jobs in the IFSC (International Financial Services Centre) over the next five years. The Strategy will unfold a plan to develop the funds, insurance, international banking, aircraft leasing and Islamic finance industries. IFSC employment increased for the first time in three years in 2010, bringing total numbers in the centre to nearly 33,000 and the sector contributes â‚Ź2bn in tax annually.

ITT Dublin

Entry Requirements

is three years on from the successful launch of its Honours Degree in Financial Services and Investment Analysis. The degree programme was developed to meet the growing requirements of the financial services sector. It is timely that in 2013 the sector is now entering a phase of planned expansion through government initiatives that include: expansion of the network of tax treaties around the world, speedier transposition of European law into Irish legislation, marketing of Irish financial services abroad and through attracting funds from emerging markets to set up domiciles in Ireland.

Leaving Certificate students may apply for the Higher Certificate level 6 two year programme, the Abinitio Ordinary Degree level 7 three year programme or the Abinitio Honours Degree level 8 four year programme. Mature applicants may be considered on their merits. For further information logon to: Programme Leader: Ph 01 4042426

PAthways to your qualification

Education 31

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Adult Education

NUI Galway’s Adult and Continuing Education Information Evening


re you looking to develop a new skill, do you want to re-train or are you thinking about going back to education, but don’t know where to start? Why not attend NUI Galway’s Adult & Continuing Education Information Evening on Tuesday, 14th May 2013 from 6pm – 8pm in the Orbsen Building on the University campus. Representation from over 30 part-time programmes will be present on the day, these include subject areas of: Arts & Social Sciences, Business, Community Education, Education & Training, Languages, Pre-University Courses and Science & Technology programmes. Variety of needs

NUI Galway’s Adult & Continuing Education courses suit students with a variety of learning and lifestyle needs. Courses are offered through a classroombased mode, online learning or through a blend of both offering flexibility and support to prospective students. “The flexibility offered by online and blended methods allow students to study while maintaining their employment and personal commitments”, highlights, Nuala McGuinn, Acting Director, Adult & Continuing Education. Programmes are available from foundation level through to masters level. Alternatively, students can chose to take individual modules from it’s suite of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) credit options. “This may be useful for learners who may not have the time to commit to a full programme of study or for students who already have attained a formal qualification and wish to take a standalone module for the purposes of retraining or up-skilling”, explains Nuala McGuinn. Modules are available in Innovation Management, Technology Management, Education & Training, and Software Engineering. newer courses One of the newer courses on offer this year is the Professional Diploma in

n At a recent conferring ceremony at NUI Galway were (from left) Clodagh Murray, Marion Rose McFadden, Michelle Ryan and Ciaran O’Shea, students of the postgraduate Diploma in Technology Commercialisation.

Education (Further Education) which provides FE teachers with the professional knowledge and skills to carry out their teaching roles. The Certificate in Advanced Trainer Skills (Coaching and Mentoring) is also available and builds on trainer competencies by developing their coaching and mentoring skills and abilities. This is another new programme on offer since September 2012. ideal for teachers and educators A Postgraduate Diploma/Certificate in Practice Based Play Therapy is available in conjunction with the Academy of Play and Child Psychotherapy (APAC). APAC are the national leaders in developing and providing training for students interested in becoming a certified play therapist. With it’s tutorial components delivered during July each year, this course is ideal for teachers and educators who wish to add therapeutic play skills to their existing

teaching or psychology skills for working with children. Diploma Courses For students who wish to pursue a shorter term award, Diplomas are available in Gemmology, French, Italian, Spanish, Psychology of Counselling, Irish, General Studies and many more. All Diplomas are two-years in duration with classes taking place on campus or at outreach centres one evening per week. Find OUT MORE For further information don’t forget to check out the Adult and Continuing Education website where a full list of all programmes and application details are available: For additional information: E-mail: ; Phone: 091-495241; Facebook: www. Education 33

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Christian Brothers

Edmund Rice and the Christian Brothers

Christian Brothers


LESSED Edmund Rice founded the Christian Brothers in 1802. His life had led him to explore at a deeper level his experience of religious faith while also reaching out to the neediest in society. He decided to found schools for the education of poor boys. The Christian Brothers have followed and adapted this tradition in more than twenty-six countries throughout the world. In the developing world, there is still a pressing call to provide education for the poor as a pathway to liberation and human dignity. Nowadays, Brothers also work in townships, villages and slum areas as teachers while also co-ordinating health, social services and adult education among the people of these communities. In the western world, Brothers still teach in schools and colleges. In more recent times they are engaging in projects for youth, the disadvantaged and migrant peoples. They run centres for spiritual development, educational life centres and adult education. Christian Brothers today recognise the need to engage in a new spiritual search and in a new search for meaning. There has been a rapid change in the faith and consciousness of people in the twenty-first century. Scientific and religious knowledge are discovering each other in new and creative ways. The challenge today is for education in a new experience of religious meaning and purposefulness in the world.

In a new search for – Meaning Spiritual Living Justice with Peace To make a difference – By living a full life with a new mission in brotherhood

For more information contact: Brother Edmund Garvey, Christian Brothers Province Centre, Griffith Avenue, Marino, Dublin 9. Email:

Education 35

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14/03/2013 13:32:18

Find out the difference one week of your summer holidays can make…


his July why not spend one week of your summer holidays with the Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF) on a cycle that matters from the Atlantic to Med! From July 21st – 27th cycle across France from Ocean to Sea (Biarritz to Narbonne) all the while raising vital funds for the IHF’s Nurses for Night Care Service. The IHF’s Nurses for Night Care Service is a free service that provides night time care to non-cancer patients who are at the end of their lives and being cared for at home. This service enables more people to fulfil their wish to die at home with dignity. In 2013 we need to raise €350,000 to fund this vital service. The Atlantic to Med Cycle Challenge is a 630km (incl. climbs) or 560km (ex. climbs) cycle over five days. An average of 115km per day, the route will take in sandy beaches, lush rolling hills and spellbinding images of castles and drawbridges, as well as through beautiful Basque style towns and villages. For the keen cyclist and those looking for a greater challenge there will be the opportunity to tackle some mountainous terrain in the Pyrenees, with one of the greatest climbs of the Tour de France, the mighty Tourmalet, and the Col de Portet d’Aspet! The total participation fee is €2,950, (which includes the costs of the trip). Each day spent in the saddle will mean at least one night of comfort and reassurance for a patient and their family. The amount raised by each cyclist (after costs) will fund six nights of night time care. A full training guide is provided to everyone who signs up, and the Fundraising team are on hand with tips and guidelines to help you in reaching your fundraising target. There is a special offer for teams of four signing up of a reduced participation fee of €2,650 per person. The Atlantic to Med Cycle Challenge is proudly sponsored by Kingspan. Find OUT MORE For more information on this challenge of a lifetime please contact Amy Vaughan on or call 1890 71 7000 or visit Education 37

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38 Education

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Education 39

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Suppliers and installers of top-quality outdoor fitness equipment.

Enjoy a daily workout outside


UE to wide media coverage and a wealth of statistics thrown at us every day, there can be few amongst us who are not aware of the fact that a fit body is a healthy body. It's true that partaking in sports, be it gaelic football, soccer, basketball, or any of the many other sports and team games on offer in schools and colleges, can help to keep young people fit and therefore healthy in mind and body. But we're not all sports lovers and there are many young people whose talents and interests lie in other areas and whose worst nightmare would be to tog out on a freezing cold day and kick a ball around a muddy park for a couple of hours. Their fitness levels and overall health are, however, equally important, so what can be done to encourage them to also get out and get fit? Well, now every school can avail of its own outdoor gym area for a minimal initial cost when compared to the more common indoor gym facilities, and practically ongoing maintenance costs. Log into to learn more about how this new concept in fitness is encouraging the nation to get out into the fresh air and enjoy a daily workout on equipment specially designed for the whole population, regardless of age or level of ability. We know that obesity levels are increasing across all ages and that exercise is most important in tackling this serious health issue, and, therefore, a good daily workout should be part of everyone's routine in order to maintain a fit, healthy mind and body. Over the past decade there have been hundreds of studies demonstrating the strong connection between our mind and body's health. A study undertaken by the University of Illinois suggested that physical activity may even increase students’ cognitive control – or ability to pay attention – and also result in better performance on academic achievement tests. We all know how much better we feel after exercise, even after a good brisk walk we return with more positivity and energy. There can be no doubt that exercise is beneficial to all of us in keeping our bodies and minds in top condition and keeping us free of the many diseases and adverse conditions that can befall us as a result of a sedentary lifestyle. So the message to everyone is find your nearest outdoor gym and get out | get fit.

If you would like to see an outdoor fitness facility in your area, then visit us at or call us on 094 9381088/ 087 9042423 for a free quotation.


40 Education

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Transport training

25 Years of CPC Training


ONGRATULATIONS to CPC.IE and their founder and Managing Director Tony Hynes as this year they are celebrating a quarter of a century delivering their Award Winning and Internationally acclaimed CP courses. CPC.IE will train an incredible 15,000 drivers this year alone. However, for those who have experienced the quality and professionalism of their training, this is really no surprise. Visit CPC.IE you will read thousands of outstanding and impressive Testimonials that their students have provided. Always innovating, CPC.IE have created and sponsored Ireland's first and only reality TV series in search of Ireland's Most Professional Truck Driver and all 4 episodes of this fascinating competition can be viewed on the home page of their website. CPC.IE are currently running a new competition seeking Ireland's Most Professional Truck Driver 2013 and this new series will be aired on TV3 in May of this year. Not surprising then that CPC.IE are now Ireland's foremost Transport Management and Driver CPC Trainers. They have successfully put thousands of students through their Transport Management CPC and because of the quality and dynamic delivery of this course by Tony Hynes many students fly in from abroad to attend their Transport Management CPC. Completing this course with CPC.IE has been a life changing experience for many students as can be seen from the feedback on their website With 30 venues nationwide and 30 Driver courses (all modules) every week it is no wonder CPC.IE are the preferred choice for drivers and companies for their courses. CPC.IE employs 4 office staff and 35 Trainers. All staff are recruited and Trained by Tony Hynes and all attend Annual CPD training to enhance their skills and empathize with drivers who also attend one days training per year. To launch the beginning of their next 25 years in business and to satisfy their customer demand CPC.IE now offer ADR/Hazchem courses and CPC. IE can be contacted on 1890-374837 or email

Education Magazine is available to read online in the same format as the paper edition.

Read the current edition

Click on the cover







Education Magazine is available to read online in the same format as the paper edition.

Getting in - how the universities would change the points system Education at Hibernia College ● Smart Futures for science GMIT Digital Media ● College of Computer Training ● Arts at UCC

Education 41

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Additional Learning

School visits at the Castlecomer Discovery Park


ess than 20 km form Kilkenny city a n d a t e n m i n u t e d r i v e f ro m Dunmore caves, Castlecomer Discovery Parks offers a range of programmes suitable for secondary school students. Learning takes place in the great outdoors of our extensive 80 acres woodland, by the lakes and streams, and through our interactive coal mining exhibition and purpose built indoor education programme. Secondary School programmes are designed to reflect the school curriculum with a particular focus on geography, science and history. Classes can also combine educational and recreational activities with our NEW Tree Top Walk course to create the perfect school tour day for team building or start/ end of term activity!

studios/workshops), and short guided walk of the park. This exposes students to the opportunities that exist in learning a skill and in cultivating an understanding of enterprise and among students. Transition Year Students Activity day: Modules are based on practical and group

based activities with an emphasis on teamwork i.e. Map Reading skills & Coal Mining exhibition: â‚Ź10 To discuss your school visit and for information on COMPETITIVE TRANSPORT COSTS call Mary: 056 4440707. For more information see

Coal Mining exhibition: Our interactive multimedia Coal Mining Exhibition charts the formation of coal over 300 million years ago. The exhibition is an educational aid because of the many linkages and connections with topics covered in both Junior and Leaving Cert subjects: Geography, History and Biology. Ecology Field Studies & Leaving Cert Ecology programme: Learn about some of the first plants and earliest animals to inhabit the earth. Small Mammal Capture & Release: Examination of physical /behavioural adaptations of a small mammal. Quadrat Survey: Carry out a qualitative and quantitative study of woodland organisms. Line Transect: Measure the effect of abiotic factors on plant growth. Junior Cert Ecology Programme: learn about some of the first plants and earliest animals to inhabit the earth in our interactive coal mining museum; Quadrat Survey: Carry out a qualitative and quantitative study of woodland organisms; Line transect: Measure the effect of light and shade on plant growth. Leaving Cert Vocational programme (LCVP): Programme includes overview of management, development and structure of the park – as a community project, visits to micro creative enterprises (design craft Education 43

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The story of the capital

Dublin City Hall An outstanding example of the Georgian architecture for which Dublin is world-renowned

CITY Hall, situated in the heart of Dublin is an outstanding example of the Georgian architecture for which Dublin is world-renowned. Designed by Thomas Cooley, it was built by the Guild of Merchants as the Royal Exchange and used as a financial centre until Dublin Corporation bought the building in 1851. It was re-named 'City Hall' in 1852 at the first meeting held there of Dublin City Council. City Hall was the hub of Dublin’s civic administration until 1995, when Dublin Corporation moved its headquarters to the newly completed Civic Offices at Wood Quay. It was then refurbished from 1998-2000, and was open to the public in 2000. It is still the focal point for the Council’s elected members, Dublin City Council and the Council meets on the first Monday of every month in the historic Council Chamber, originally the coffee-room of the Royal Exchange. The sheer size and sumptuous fittings of City Hall reflect the prestige of Dublin in the late 18th century. The spectacular entrance hall or Rotunda with its spacious dome is surrounded by an ambulatory where the merchants strolled and discussed business. The Rotunda is now available for hire for corporate events, private functions and Civil Marriage/ Civil Partnership Ceremonies. The superb vaults at lower ground floor level were also restored as part of the refurbishment of City Hall and they now host a multi media exhibition, “The Story of the Capitalâ€?. The exhibition traces Dublin’s evolution, from before the Anglo-Norman invasion of 1170 to the present day through a mix of video and newsreel footage, display of a number of important artefacts, interactive software and interpretative text. Audio guides and leaflets are available in several different languages, the building is fully wheelchair accessible and a charming cafĂŠ on site adds to the ambiance.


44 Education

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News Scan...........................................................................................................................

100mbs school broadband roll-out All second level schools in Dublin, Meath and Kildare will have high speed (100Mbps) broadband installed during 2013. This is the second stage of a national roll-out to all second-level schools. The 2012 phase of the project saw broadband installed in all post-primary schools in 14 western and midlands counties, covering 202 schools. This built upon a pilot project involving 78 schools nationally, where the use of broadband has been shown to have improved both teaching and learning. The announcement details a further 216 schools to be connected in Dublin, Meath and Kildare by September 2013, with all remaining 250 schools to be connected in 2014. Speaking at Presentation Secondary School in Warrenmount, Dublin, Minister Ruairi Quinn said “The use of ICT/ digital technology will be one of the key skills in the new Junior Cycle, and it will be enhanced through the availability of a short course, currently being developed by the NCCA, that will deal with programming / coding for junior cycle students from September 2014. “The roll out of 100Mbps to all post primary schools will also facilitate schools to develop e-portfolios to augment the school-work component of the new Junior Cycle.” The Government is funding all of the capital costs of this project, estimated to be approximately €11m, as well as contributing some €10m in current costs for the years 2012 to 2015. ENDS

technology subjects, business and liberal studies are equally enhanced through access to chosen digital content and communication platforms. The benefit of having this bandwidth available in schools includes: · Empowering teachers to explore the use of ICT in the learning and teaching process; · Enabling sharing and collaborating online within their own schools, with other schools, with universities and with

expertise in curriculum areas; · Enabling the use of video conferencing and use of Skype or other online communication tools; · Encouraging the use of online learning and teaching spaces such as Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) & Blogs. Under this programme all second-level schools will have 100Mbps broadband installed by the end of 2014 – 202 in 2012, 216 in 2013 and the final 250 schools in 2014.

virtual learning experience The minister participated in a virtual learning experience, whereby students were taught by a teacher in Scoil Colaiste Bride, Clondalkin via an internet connected screen. In this live learning experience four Warrenmount students are only able to take Honours maths classes because of the high-tech system now allowing them to link up with a class in Colaiste Bride. The introduction of high speed broadband will have a major impact on how teachers use ICT in their teaching. The internet provides access to an increasing amount of highly relevant content which can enrich learning, enliven teaching and, generally make learning a more rewarding and motivational experience. For example, online 3D simulations and animations can significantly and quickly assist the learner towards a thorough understanding of mathematical and scientific concepts. Modern languages, Education 45

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Climb Kilimanjaro in 2013 15 August 2013 to 25 August 2013


t’s the highest mountain in Africa and one of the most famous in the world. Let’s face it, it’s the mountain everyone says they would love to climb and those who have say it was the most exhilarating experience of their lives. So, are you ready for our seven-day Kilimanjaro trek?

The scenic route Out of the six possible routes to climb Kilimanjaro, we have chosen the most scenic of them all: the Machame route. Our seven day itinerary on the mountain allows for greater acclimatisation and maximises

your chances of reaching the summit. The route provides spectacular scenery – nothing will prepare your eyes for these stunning views! No technical experience required This charity trek is calling all of you adventurers with a good level of fitness who enjoy a challenge. Climbing it requires no technical experience. But don’t let fitness levels stand in your way, we provide training days once a month so you’ll be well-prepared for the climb in no time. What’s stopping you? Worried about your fundraising targets? Unsure how fit you need to be? Don’t worry, this is far less daunting than you might think. We’ve got answers to all your questions: read them and prepare to be pleasantly surprised. We can help prepare you for the practical and physical aspects of this challenge, but nothing can prepare you for the sense of achievement you’ll get when you reach the summit. The trek itself may well leave you breathless but it will be the view from the roof of Africa that takes your breath away for years to come. Why Climb Mt Kilimanjaro for Concern? Tanzania remains one of the poorest countries in the world, with more than onethird of people living below the poverty line. Concern has been working in Tanzania for over 30 years and in 2011 we were: • Increasing access to clean water and investing in groundbreaking research on the role of natural botanicals in disease prevention • Boosting food and economic security among 53,100 people in rural Tanzania • Delivering humanitarian assistance to 47,600 people following drought, flooding, and other disasters We are very proud of our work but more needs to be done! By taking part in our Mount Kilimanjaro Challenge, you will be fundraising to support our existing Tanzanian programmes and your money can go a long way to help. Find OUT MORE climb-kilimanjaro-2013

46 Education

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Education Magazine Ireland  

Education Magazine Ireland