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Kilkenny school wins award for using tech in teaching

Principal Brian Boyle believes they are the smallest school to have achieved the ‘Microsoft Innovation School’ title.

Sixth class children helping junior infants develop early reading skills on iPods.
Sixth class children helping junior infants develop early reading skills on iPods.
Image: Brian Boyle via Scoil Mhichil Naofa, Galmoy Co. Kilkenny

THE FIRST SCHOOL in Ireland – and the 36th in the world – to win a major award from Microsoft has only 58 pupils, three teachers, 14 laptops and 12 iPods.

The ‘Microsoft Innovation School’ title was awarded to Scoil Mhichil Naofa, Galmoy, Co Kilkenny for their “use of technology in their everyday schoolwork and their teaching”, the principal Brian Boyle told TheJournal.ie.

“Some of the most prestigious schools in the world have been awarded this title like Ormiston College, Australia and some of the exclusive schools in Saudi Arabia and Hong Kong. It’s great that a school of our size can complete with the rest,” Boyle said. “We’re probably the smallest school to have achieved such a title”.

The principal explained that initially the school started off with “a very slow internet connection” but after getting a high speed broadband, it started to make use of IT in everyday schoolwork.

The teachers and pupils of Scoil Mhichil Naofa, Co Kilkenny use IT for their everyday school work. (Pic: Brian Boyle/Scoil Mhichil Naofa)

The ways in which the children of Scoil Mhichil Naofa use IT include older children helping younger children with reading on iPods; using Animoto a Microsoft movie-maker to make and edit special videos and editing the school’s blog.

“No matter what you show them they pick it up very quickly,” Boyle said. “The best thing is they are not afraid of the technologies, like you might see with older people who are afraid to touch a button sometimes.”

Microsoft will now use the school to road test new products and the school is happy to provide them with feedback. They will also have first access to any new education projects that Microsoft comes up with.

“With government cuts across the board, it has made it more difficult to get computers and equipment to win a title like this,” said Boyle. “We’d eventually love to start getting iPads instead of iPods, but we realise we’re fortunate with what we’ve got, and parents are also good enough to help fundraise.”

Read: Government halves its spending on education over the last 16 years>

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Amy Croffey

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