Gaeilge agus teicneolaíocht : Agallamh le Frank Ó Tormaigh

14 Mar 2018

There is no doubt that the implementation of technology can be challenging at times for schools. However, implementing technology in Gaelscoileanna can pose another set of challenges for digital leaders to overcome. Frank Ó Tormaigh is an Assistant Principal in Gaelscoil Eiscir Riada. He has stood out to Wriggle not only as a digital leader, but as a champion of the Irish language too. 

 

Here, he talks about his experience of using technology in Gaelscoil Eiscir Riada. He offers advice on how other Gaelscoileanna can overcome challenges in an arguably English-centric or majority language ed tech world.

 

 

As a teacher in a Gaelscoil, do you feel that there is enough scope to use technology in an Irish language setting?

 

I think that a lot of Gaelscoileanna feel a bit left behind when it comes to technology as the vast majority of platforms, apps etc are in English. So the challenge for me is to find technology which can be used in a bi-lingual setting. For example, we use Book Creator in school to write stories as Gaeilge, the virtual learning environment Edmodo where children can upload work as Gaeilge and assessment tools like Kahoot, where I can create my own quizzes as Gaeilge. Scratch is also available as Gaeilge. What’s important is the process that the children go through. If they are collaborating, creating and analysing as Gaeilge then that’s the most important thing. 

 

 

Ceapaim go bhraitheann a lán Gaelscoileanna go bhfuil siad fághta taobh thiar maidir le teicneolaíocht mar tá an chuid is mó de na áiseanna trí Bhéarla. An dúshlán domsa ná teicneolaíocht gur féidir úsáid go dhá-theangach a fháil. Mar shampla, bainimid úsáid as Book Creator chun scéalta Ghaeilge a scríobh, Edmodo, spás foghlama ar líne, ina féidir le páistí obair Ghaeilge a uaslódáil. Tá Scratch ar fáil as Ghaeilge chomh maith. An rud is tábhachtaí ná an próiséis a dtéann na bpáistí tríd. Má tá siad ag obair le chéile, ag cruthú agus ag déanamh analís trí mheán na Ghaeilge sin an rud is tábhachtaí. 

 

 

 "If they are collaborating, creating and analysing as Gaeilge then that’s the most important thing." 

 

 

How does using digital technologies benefit the children in your class?

 

In many ways. I find it particularly helps children who struggle with the more traditional methods. I’ve seen children who struggle with writing create wonderful projects through various forms of media like iMovie, Minecraft and Lego We Do. It gives them a different channel with which to express themselves. I’m not a fan of abandoning the pen and paper altogether but I would certainly say that it is beneficial to all children to experience as many different types of creative tools as possible. For example when my class are doing a particular project they can choose whichever media they like and they have created excellent projects using Minecraft, Scratch, Powerpoint. They then learn from each other and are motivated to use a different media for their next project.

 

 

I a lán slite. Go háirithe le páistí nach go mbeadh deacrachtaí acu le módhanna traidisiúnta. Tá sé feicthe agamsa go mbíonn páistí le deacrachtaí scribhneoireachta ábalta tionscnaimh iontacha a chruthú trí mheán éagsúla cosúíl le iMovie, Minecraft agus Lego We Do. Tugann sé bealach éagsúil dóibh chun iad féin a chur in iúl dúinn. Nílim i bhfábhar fáil réidh le peann agus páipéar go hiomlán ach is buntáiste é do pháistí réimse leathan de uirlisí cruthaitheach a úsáid. Mar shampla nuair atá mo rang i mbun tionscnaimh bíonn rogha na meáin acu agus tá siad tar éis rudaí iontacha a chruthú le Minecraft, Scratch agus Powerpoint. Bíonn siad ag foghlaim óna chéile agus bíonn siad spreagtha chun mean éagsúla a úsáid don chéad tionscnamh eile.

 

What advice would you give to a Gaelscoil, or any school, starting out on their digital journey?

 

 

Don’t feel as though you have to get everything up and running as soon as possible. It’s a continuous process. Investigate and research what will work for your school, start small and build on that.


Don’t skimp on technology. In my experience if you buy cheap then you end up replacing it a lot sooner. It’s worth making a big investment which will last a lot longer. Also, if broadband is an issue in the school, investigate technologies which don’t require a strong broadband connection, like Sphero SPRK’s, Lego We Do 2.0, Microbits. A lot of technologies have download and offline options which would suit some schools better.

 

Professionally develop your staff. Teachers need to feel confident in using the technologies that you are bringing into the schools. Events like Road to {Code} with Wriggle are great ways for teachers to get a taste of what is out there plus the Wriggle Roadcaster can come and demonstrate lots of things at your school. There’s nothing worse than feeling under pressure to introduce something into your teaching but not having the confidence or professional development training under your belt. Confidence is the key. 

 

 

Ná mhothaigh go caithfidh tú gach rud a bheith réidh agus in úsáid chomh luath agus is féidir leat. Is próiseis leanúnach é. Déan taighde agus faigh amach cad a n-oibreoidh i do scoil, tosnaigh ar an mbeagán agus obair ar aghaidh uaidh sin.

 

Ná bí sprionlaithe le teicneolaíocht. I mo thaithí má cheannaíonn tú rudaí soar beidh ort uirlisí a cheannach ina áit go luath. Is fiú infheistiú mór a mhairfidh níos faide a dhéanamh. Chomh maith le sin, má tá deacrachtaí ag an scoil broadband a fháil, fiosraigh teicneolaíocht a n-oibreoidh gan ceangailt broadband láidir, cosúil le Sphero SPRk, Lego We Do agus Microbit. Tá a roghanna íosládála agus as-líne ag a lán áiseanna teicneolaíochta anois.

 

Cuir forbairt proifisiúnta ar fáil don fhoireann scoile. Caithfidh muinín a bheith múinteoirí as an teicneolaíocht ata á thabhairt isteach sa scoil agat. Bíonn ocáidí cosúil leis an Road to Code go hiontach chun blas a fháil agus d’fhéadfadh an Wriggle Roadcaster teacht amach go dtí do scoil. Níl aon rud níosa measa ná a bheith ag mothú faoi bhrú rud éigint a dhéanamh i do chuid múinteoireachta agus níl an muinín agat nó an traenáil faighte agat. Muinín, ana tábhachtach.

 

 

 

Frank Ó Tormaigh is an Assistant Principal in Gaelscoil Eiscir Riada and tasked with maintaining and embedding digital technologies in the school. Follow him on Twitter: @FrankOTormaigh

 

 

Read more: Learn more about the qualities of a digital leader here