Trinity Access 21 Showcase Highlights Innovation in Teaching and Learning

Posted on: 11 May 2015

Students, teachers and education innovators gathered at the Foundry in Google to celebrate the first year of Trinity Access 21 Project, which aims to drive educational and social change in Irish schools, on Friday, May 8th. The showcase event, hosted by Trinity College Dublin and Google, featured presentations from students and teachers in 16 participating schools on the implementation of innovative approaches to teaching and learning and to developing strong ‘college-going’ cultures.

Trinity Access 21 project aims to affect significant long term change in Irish second-level schools through a range of educational interventions.  The project involves targeted efforts to improve computer science and STEM capacity within DEIS schools. It also includes an innovative ‘Mentoring, Leadership and Pathways to College’ programme which connects over 1,100 second-year students from DEIS schools in Dublin with hundreds of volunteer mentors drawn from their own communities to support the development of a ‘college-going cultures’ in schools with lower than average higher education progression rates. This programme has been developed in collaboration with the US educational non-profit, College For Every Student.

Second year students from Marino College Gytis Daujotas and Kevin Andre showcase their Python Piano

The three-year project will also see over 1,000 teachers undertaking a certified course in 21st Century Teaching and Learning, with the aim of building teacher capacity to leverage technology in creating active, engaged classrooms.

Trinity Access 21 has been developed by Trinity Access Programmes, education innovators Bridge21 (in Trinity’s School of Computer Science & Statistics) and Trinity’s School of Education.  It is being funded by Google, which provided €1.5m, along with other resources and facilities, to support and encourage the next generation of computer scientists and technology leaders who will help drive a new wave of innovation in Ireland.

Highlights of the first year of the project include:

  • Participation by almost 200 teachers from 16 schools in the new Postgraduate Cert in 21C Teaching and Learning
  • Involvement of over 1,100 students  from 11 schools in the College For Every Student Programme
  • Implementation of Bridge21 (team-based, technology mediated) learning activities across participating schools.

The Trinity Access 21 Team

Speaking at the event Deputy Ciarán Cannon said: "I have always believed that we can deliver real innovation in Irish education if we foster deep collaboration between teachers, students, industry and academics. Pooling all of our collective wisdom, knowledge and passion for change is an absolute necessity if we want to reshape the classrooms of tomorrow. This collaboration between Google, Trinity College Dublin, teachers and students is a perfect example of that coming together of minds and it should be held up as a beacon to others. In particular I'm delighted to see students being given a real voice in determining their own future."

At a Student Summit this morning students from partner schools made presentations on their experience of the College For Every Student programme and 21st century teaching practices. Among them students from Mercy Secondary School in Inchicore, Dublin described how they transformed their Victorian-Era project room into a 21st century learning space, as their College For Every Student ‘Leadership’ Project.

Later in the day, at the Ideas Galaxy, teachers and students showcased the use of technology-mediated, team-based models of teaching and learning across the curriculum. This included a group of students from Marino College Secondary School, Dublin who made a Pyano – a Python Piano using a Raspberry Pi which uses an ultra sonic distance sensor to play music. The event also featured a live stream video of project patron Lord David Puttnam addressing the Google ‘Education on Air’ global conference about the Trinity Access 21 project.

Students from Moyle Park, Clondalkin showcase their "Stop, Think, Type" anti cyber bullying campaign

Trinity Access Programmes Director, Cliona Hannon, commented:  “We are delighted with the energy, commitment and appetite for change exhibited by participating schools.  Teachers and students are co-creating active, engaged learning environments and creating a real ‘college buzz’ in their schools.  It has been inspiring to watch the focus shift from a ‘deficit’ concept of disadvantage to one focusing on potential, which can be realised through knowledge, networks and high aspirations. Feedback from participants has been very positive with schools reporting that the programme is getting students and teachers to focus on what you can do, what you want to do and how you can do it.”

Fionnuala Meehan, Senior SMB Sales EMEA in Google Ireland, added: “Research has shown that by 2020 there will be one million unfilled vacancies for ICT practitioners across the EU.  Current proposals to include computer science in a new Applied Maths syllabus in the Leaving Cert is welcome but if we are to truly prepare our young people for the world of work in the 21st century computer science must be introduced as a fundamental and rigorous subject throughout the entire school curriculum, starting in primary school. Google is a long term supporter of educational innovation in Ireland. Technology is disruptive by its nature so we know it has been a challenging journey for all those involved in Trinity Access 21. We are thrilled to welcome the staff and students of the first year of the project to Google today, to see how much they have achieved in such a short time and to celebrate their successes.”

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