Coolderry Central School
Coolderry Central School
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Coolderry Central School is a small five teacher rural school with about 100 pupils. It is in south County Offaly and is about half way between Roscrea and Birr. Coolderry Primary School has been involved with computers since the early eighties

Coolderry's first involvement was the initial Pilot Project (Dept of Education 84-86) . The school progressed through the use of tape driven machines such as the Oric and Spectrum to the BBC "B" and then Master 128/ master Compact and Amstrad computers. More recently the school has acquired Macintosh and IBM machines plus an Acorn A5000 which the school won in a national competition sponsored by Bord na Gaeilge.

Each year each classroom does some computer project or more correctly some Educational project in which I.T plays a part as a cross curricular resource. The premise on which school computer use is based is that the pedagogy leads and the technology follows. The computer is a cross curricular resource which helps the teacher and student to enhance his or her learning.

Mrs.Lucia Mc Carthy the Infant teacher has produced booklets by the Infants using child based word processors and a concept keyboard. She has also used the MAPE Owls program, a simulation of Lost baby owls. She also uses an old Amstrad for reinforcement drills.The concept keyboard is a very useful peripheral for Infants who would find typing very difficult, and also for children with special needs.

Mrs Una Teehan the teacher of First and Second classes has extensively used authoring programs such as Hypercard and Hyperstudio on the Macintosh and Magpie on the Acorn A5000 . Her class regularly publish little booklets on such topics as Animals, Me fein, Ourselves, Christmas . Her class also corresponds with Gumly-Gumly a small school in Australia and they wrote to Tim Severin while he was in the Spice Islands. her class uses the graphic program Kidpix and they are quite proficient in the use of a hand scanner.

Mrs. Ann Kennedy who teaches third class has used I.T in a very imaginative way in such projects as Clann Lir, An Bradan Feasa, Farming and the Solar System using the Microsoft CD The Solar Bus . Her class have produced two Irish programs Clann Lir and An Bradan Feasa which were presented to Bord na Gaeilge. Creative writing, poetry and art were all integrated into the various projects with the help of child based word processors such as Creative Writer and Phases and Stylus. Las year her class made a particularily impressive model of the solar system based on the use of the Cd-`rom,Solar Bus.

Mr.Tom Lupton, who teaches fourth and fifth classes, 's Encarta Resource pack to help his class understand the finer elements of research work.

The senior class teacher (Mr.P.Bates) have produced many publications over the years using Authoring programs and content free programs. The projects have included Irish History, European Countries, The Normans,Ar gCeantar Fein, Animals etc. These projects have included creative writing, gaeilge, art on computer and on paper , research . They have also been involved in Internet and E-Mail projects. Last year the class did a big project on Globe . They collect weather data each day and send it to Boulder,Colorado. Schools all over the world collect this and weather maps are made up to simulate a met. service. Through this also the class have been in contact with schools in Australia, United States and other schools in Ireland. The class then produce interconnecting Hyperstudio stacks on Weather, Flora and fauna of our subsite for the Globe Project.

The class also were in touch with Tim Severin n the Spice Islands Project and they research the information he sent back and mad Hyperstudio and Hypercard stacks. they have also used Toolbook (IBM) . Hyperstudio is available on the three platforms Mac/PC/Acorn. The Globe project is ongoing and may be inspected on the NITEC Internet site.

We now have our own Internet site at

This year we are involved in a POLLEN project(vide NITEC site which hopes to link the peripheral areas on the West coasts of Europe and we have already been in contact with a French primary school. Our senior class does French with Mr. Lupton and the French school will send us letters in French while we will reply in English.

Each year the school has a computer exhibition . Each class presents its project on computer, artwork etc and the parents and visitors come to the Open day.

Each year the senior class goes to the Dublin Computer Student Fair . The other classes have also presented projects at the fair but not every year.

A branch of C.E.S.I is based in the school and last year an Inservice course for teachers in I.T was delivered in the school under the auspices of the Laois Teachers's Centre .

Visitors to the school last year included : Dr.John O Brien Limerick University, Peter Walshe, Limerick University, Dr. Michael Hegarty , Computer Applications D.C.U, Michael Cotter , School of education, D.C.U, Dr. Linda Baggot, Exeter University, Lisa Temple Ashmore Education Exec Microsoft Brian Reid , ICL Eoin Mulligan,Product Manager Siemens Nixdorf, Department Inspectors, Tim Severin, Children and teachers from other Primary and post primary schools.

Since then we have been very fortunate to have been chosen as a "Centre of Excellence" by Microsoft and Siemens Nixdorf . They have equipped the school with 13 new multimedia computers and a vast range of Microsoft Software. Parents, teachers and pupils have reacted in a very positive way to our good fortune and this year we produced many I.T projects with the use of the modern equipment.

We were featured on Learnet_NL RTE on an Internet Special show_NL.. We were also featured on PC Live as "School of the month". Our website was featured in "Multimedia Schools" an American IT journal as number 1 school website outside the U.S.A. There was also a feature in Parent and Teacher on the Centre of Excellence idea. There was a feature on the Irish Times on one of the last Saturdays in June.

On our open day this year we demonstrated the following projects

Infants_NL..had a Hyperstudio stack on themselves including sound and digitised pictures. First and Second classes had Hyperstudio stacks and Magpie folders(authoring programs) and extensive wordprocessing work done on Microsofts' Creative Writer. Third class had used wordprocessing to produce a book on Setanta and sprinkle their project liberally with art examples,some on computer and some on paper.They also demonstrated Explorapedia of Nature .. a child friendly multimedia encyclopaedia. Fourth and Fifth Class had produced a book in Hypercard form based on research from their grandparents and their findings are now on our website_NL Folklore of Kilcolman. The senior class demonstrated the school website,indeed they are the main authors of the website and their local history research on the Leap Castle forms part of the website.This class had also used Hypercard on the Mac and Hyperstudio to produce a booklet on countries of the world,based on research from Encarta and Encarta Atlas. Again some of this is on the web.