Ready, Tech, Go!
The use of computers has become an integral part of everyday life for all of us. In Alexandra College Junior School, we recognise the importance of developing:
- the girls' understanding of how technology and computers work
- their ability to think of the wider world and question the ways in which technology is used.
Through project based, collaborative learning, our Junior School students hone their computational thinking skills:
- They solve problems and invent new designs to create useful solutions.
- They learn how to develop their emotional intelligence so that they build the habit of using and questioning the use of technology in class and in the wider world in creative, helpful and innovative ways.
- They are no longer merely consumers of technology. They are creators and directors of their own content.
This video was made as part of a collaborative project with the Professional Development Services for Teachers in Technology and European Schoolnet. It showcases an example in project based learning through the use of microprogramming boards.
Have a look:
Digital Schools of Distinction Award
- The technology resources available in the Junior School are second to none. Each classroom is equipped with an interactive whiteboard and a desktop Mac. Cases of iPads and MacBook Airs are available throughout the school.
- Micro-programming boards, Edison robots, Spheros and other devices allow Alex students to explore robotics and different coding languages.
- J5 and J6 have weekly coding classes.
- We also have after-school coding and makerspace clubs.
- An on-site Information Technology (IT) specialist is available to the girls across the campus to deal directly with any technology issues should they arise.
- Our eLearning coordinator runs workshops, various programmes and competitions across the Junior School.
STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Maths. The recent drive in education to focus on STEAM fits well with Alex tradition. Since 1866, Alexandra College has taken a broad approach to education, with equal focus on academics, music, the visual and performing arts, and sport. As educators, the teachers of Alexandra College have always understood that learning in science and math is enhanced by creative pursuits. Alexandra College Junior School has long been noted for its Froebelian approach to teaching. This open, holistic approach allows for flexibility in the classroom. Now, the benefits that new technologies offer to students are brought into this open learning environment in a seamless way. Through our STEAM framework, we recognise and encourage excellence in the use of technology in the school and provide yet another avenue through which your child can explore their learning and develop their potential.
As always at Alexandra College, we emphasise balance. As we provide opportunities for students progressively to develop their digital literacies in the classroom, students become intrinsically motivated to learn how to use technology and develop digital skills for themselves. As noted in the College crest, the academics, creative arts, music and sport are all equally important in school life. It is at the crossroads of these subjects and the individual interest of each child that students can remix the use of technology along with their own interests to become digitally literate.
Students develop a strong self-identity; they learn to understand and collaborate with others; to identify, assess, and solve complex problems; and they develop a suite of flexible communication skills.
At Alexandra College Junior School, we also understand the importance of raising awareness of safer internet use amongst our students. Workshops on internet safety are organised for both students and parents through the school.
Distance Learning Programme
Previous investment in technology and digital literacies meant that Alexandra College was well placed to react swiftly to school closures during the Covid-19 pandemic. From Preschool right up to J6, core curriculum classes, sport, French, drama, art and music classes were taught through Zoom and using Google Classroom to provide supporting learning materials. Learning support was also timetabled and provided through Zoom to ensure that all students' needs were met. Have a look at our Distance Learning Programme.
The Junior School hosted an online “Challenge 2020” in place of our annual Sports Day. All students and their family members, both two legged and four legged, joined in and great fun was had by all! Memories of this novel approach to our online Sports Day were captured in Alex Connections Press, the weekly Alex Junior School newsletter.
Students at Alexandra College Junior School are encouraged to participate in a variety of competitions and challenges to help develop their repertoire of skills even further. Taking part in competitions allows the girls to hone their teamwork and presentation skills. The Junior School students have been quite successful in a number of competitions to date and some students were even invited to present at IT Professionals Day in the Amazon Headquarters in Dublin, 2019 having successfully participated in the Bebras Computational Thinking Challenges. This year, we were also very proud to have been able to support Laura Van Buylaere, one of our J6 students, on her path to success in the Intel Mini Scientist Award. Laura rose above hundreds of other students to claim the overall winner in this national competition.
Student Achievement Slideshow:
Alexandra College Junior School not only recognises the importance of project based, collaborative learning for its students, but also for the school as a whole. Our teachers are learners too!
Our school has collaborated on several occasions with national and European STEAM based projects. These collaborations allow us to keep abreast of current trends in education and allow the students to feel that they are contributing to global technological innovation.
To date the Junior School has collaborated with:
- The National University of Ireland, Galway and CÚRAM through their “teachers-in-residence” programme to create a lesson plan based on medical device research and its impact on the world
- MakeCreateInnovate, an Irish company providing workshops and consultations on technology in education, to create lesson plans linking technology and computers to the Irish primary curriculum
- The PDST and European Schoolnet as part of a case study into sustainable makerspace areas
- European Schoolnet as part of a European project addressing how to integrate the Airbus Foundation teaching resources into a classroom environment.