Connect School Project Enables Inclusive Teaching
Universities in Ireland have used the Moodle interactive teaching system for years, while schools are just “getting it”. In this piece, we show how the universal design of the Moodle-based Connect School system enables seamless inclusion in class for all pupils.
Connect School is a joint initiative of South Dublin County Council and St. Aidan’s School, in Dublin 24. All students can access the school’s Moodle system on receiving their personal log-in details. Videos, class notes and case studies reside on the system for the students’ use, as wished.
Moodle is a more interactive form of learning for students. Since 2006 at St. Aidan’s School, the first years in each year have had their own laptops. The project is now in its final year with all school students having a laptop.
Instead of sitting back in class and listening to teachers, the students proactively participate in research projects by viewing videos and/or pictures online and sourcing more information on a given subject.
Frank Moran, principal at St. Aidan’s, says Moodle “has a positive impact on the whole school, not just on student learning but on student engagement, student attendance and student participation”.
While the project is yet to be used with deaf students, the potential benefits are clear. Deaf children can see class notes on their own laptop during class. This supports their learning and clues them into topics discussed in class. The teacher simply has to prepare the notes for all students before class.
The project in St Aidan’s has been a big success. Benefits include:
- Higher school attendance rates
- Improved participation levels in class
- Better educational outcomes for students
- New teaching methodologies developed
- Increased awareness and application of ICT in class
- Wider range of technologies available to the school
- Awareness of the project’s benefit within the Irish education sector
With such clear benefits, more schools should consider this way of learning.
(compiled by Miriam Walsh)