«September 2019»

Technology Initiative First for Limerick City School

Date: 23 Sep 2011

An innovative new technology initiative which will see sixty Transition Year pupils at one city school replace their books with Apple iPads for the three remaining years at Post-Primary was launched on Monday 19th September. The scheme, the first of its kind in Limerick, was formally launched at Gaelcholáiste Luimnigh by Mr. Kieran O’Donnell TD.

All of the TY pupils at GCL can now access teacher notes, resources and assignments through the college’s impressive range of ICT platforms, Wikis, Blogs, Moodle, ePortal and MS Exchange and live@edu. Pupils can download and save the entire past exam papers for the Leaving Certificate and associated marking schemes to iBooks. This negates the necessity for an internet connection all of the time.  The majority of textbooks are also available to the pupils in a single download process and updates are pushed to the iPads from the college's Mac server.


Pictured from left: GCL pupils with Mr. Kieran O'Donnell TD; Mr. Éanna Ó Brádaigh, Business Development Manager, Education, Apple; Mr. Paul Patton, CEO, CLVEC and Mr. Donncha Ó Treasaigh, Principal, GCL.

Speaking at Monday’s launch, College Principal, Mr. Donncha Ó Treasaigh, said that the plan forms an important part of how Gaelcholáiste Luimnigh will prepare its pupils for entry into Third Level and the world of work; “By providing Transition Year pupils with Apple iPads in their 4th year, we can focus their learning and acquisition of skills into best preparing them for life at the next level.  They are at the right age to be mature enough in the proper use and care of the devices and to appreciate the responsibility of becoming a young adult.”

Mr. Ó Treasaigh said that the college started the process of looking at hand-held devices in June 2010.  Apple worked closely with GCL and provided training for staff to enable teachers to convert their comprehensive notes ‘as gaeilge’ to impressive interactive resources in ePub format. This ‘electronic Publication’ incorporates videos, MS PowerPoint presentations as well as text into one document, which allows pupils to add their own notes within the document itself. Teachers are now recording practical work with the pupils using the iPads and incorporating their recordings into ePubs.  This is a very exciting new resource platform for both teachers and pupils.

Ms. Ciara Ní Dhrisceoil, one of the Assistant Principals at GCLuimnigh, outlined that the purchase of a powerful Mac server was essential to the proper deployment of the iPad concept in the classroom and college generally; “From this, all teachers upload their resources, notes and assignments for pupils to view and download.  Pupils use blogs and various free apps to complete assignments. The vast range of free, high quality apps is amazing. It really brings to life the subjects in the classroom. For example, there are thousands of beautiful science apps, the quality of images and the information accompanying really engages the pupils and gives them a realistic sense of the theory that far exceeds a 2D image on a page. Our TY students are blogging their finding each day and they are invigorated by the ownership and control that they have of their own work, it really helps towards independent learning and research.” She also stated that the college, which opened in 2006, is very fortunate to have a young and highly proficient staff which embraces ICT so energetically.


Mr. Ó Treasaigh praised the unique and pioneering vision of City of Limerick VEC (CLVEC), which in cooperation with the school provides an excellent range of ICT supports and resources for its learners and staff. CLVEC’s commitment to GCL is in line with one of the key strategic areas of its Education Plan 2011 – 2015 - Teaching and Learning for the 21st Century (TL21). The ICT Strategy which underpins this plan identifies a range of strategies for CLVEC to fully integrate existing, new and emerging technologies in all aspects of its work. Gaelcholáiste Luimnigh, like CLVEC’s other centres, is connected to 100Mb high-speed wireless broadband, enabling the infrastructure to support the iPad initiative to its fullest potential. This, according to Paul Patton, CEO, City of Limerick VEC, is essential to the project’s success; “The GCL iPad initiative fulfils four key strategic outcomes of our ICT Strategy and underlines CLVEC's growing reputation as one of the most ICT proficient VECs in Ireland. This, coupled with our increased use of cloud-computing services, is providing significant time and cost savings across the VEC for the benefit of the organisation, its community of learners and the tax payer.”