A New School Year

Now that we have officially reached the 1st day of Autumn, it has amazed me how quickly the summer has passed us by. I hope everyone had an opportunity to relax, recharge and reflect on what lies ahead for another exciting school term. Things have not been static from where I sit as I prepare for a new year. I managed to get some time away this summer (Donegal and Portugal), so I’m ready to go Smile

Already, there has been the Regional Training Unit (RTU) Summer School and I was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to deliver a course on “Microsoft-Delivering 21st Century Skills”. I’m hoping the Teachers enjoyed it as much as I did. I had the good fortune of getting Barry Corrigan, Deputy Head at Millennium Integrated Primary School, help me out on the day. As you may recall, Barry was a worldwide winner at the Microsoft Worldwide Innovative Educators Forum in Capetown South Africa last October. You can see a video of Barry HERE. If you want to get a flavour of the kind of work Teachers from around the world are doing in the Microsoft Innovative Teachers Programme, you can see great examples on the YouTube MSPIL Innovative Teachers site.

There is quite a bit in the pipeline for the coming year and some of the highlights will be:

  • MultiPoint Server Pilot at Millennium Integrated Primary School. Details and updates will follow in the coming weeks and months.
  • This year’s Worldwide Partners in Learning (PiLs) Global Forum in Washington DC from November 5th to the 11th. There will be 2 Teachers from Ireland competing at the event- Christine Murphy-Gardner from Carrickfergus Model Primary School in NI and Doreen McHale from Holy Spirit National School in Ballymun Ireland. Also joining us will be St Mary’s College in Derry NI who have been selected as a Microsoft Mentor School in the Innovative Schools Programme. This follows a successful year of being a Pathfinder School in the programme. It is a terrific honour and accomplishment that validates all of the hard work they’ve done in the past 12 months. There will be a new Irish Pathfinder school attending as well. Rory O’Toole, Principal at Scoil Chonglais Post Primary School in Baltinglass Co. Wicklow, was successful in his submission for this year’s programme. He will be joined by a senior member of the Wicklow VEC.
  • Microsoft Ireland will be working with the Regional Training Unit (RTU) NI to rollout and support their participation in the Partners in Learning Schools Research (PILSR). If your school is interested in participating, please contact me.
  • Launch in late September/early October of the year’s Northern Ireland Innovative Teachers Competition. Watch this space for details or contact me directly if interested. NI has had winners at the past 7 Western Europe and Worldwide Competitions, so show us what innovation you’ve been doing!!
  • Launch in February 2012 of this year’s Innovative Schools Pathfinder Programme. We sat out in last year’s process in NI and will be asking schools to consider going for it in the FY 13 school year. Details will follow
  • Proposed launch of the HE/FE innovative Teachers and Schools Programme. There will be details to follow as they are finalised in the US.
  • We are in the early stages of discussion around holding an All-Ireland symposium on “Teacher Efficacy” which will take place in Belfast sometime late in the school year. This would be a partnership between Microsoft Ireland, the RTU and the Departments of Education in Ireland and Northern Ireland. Details will follow.
  • Loads more to follow so bookmark this site or sign up for the RSS feed.
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