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Integrating ICT into the Teaching of Foreign Languages..

C.B.S. Secondary School

Br. O'Keeffe the I.T. co-ordinator in the CBS Secondary school when applying to participate in SIP realised that his school did not have the room nor the need to create another computer room as a networked one already existed in the school. He felt that concentrating on finding ways of incorporating ICT into the teaching of foreign languages could be of benefit to the students and the school. Currently students and teachers are investigating the benefit of CD-ROM based French and German language software in a networked computer environment. The implementation team in this school are in the main "non-IT types". It has been difficult to try to persuade teachers to bring transition year students into the computer room to use language software. The teachers lack in confidence and are daunted by the numbers of computers in the room and the potential for technical problems arising. The way around this has been for Br. O'Keeffe to explain the rules of the room and procedures for turning on and off the computers to the teachers concerned and in addition he will sit in on the first session with the teacher and if further assistance is needed will be available. The teachers will mainly bring in their smaller groups as they find the reduced number of students more manageable in the technical environment. Another aspect to this project is collaborative email and video conferencing projects with partner schools in France and Germany.

In November 2000, Mary O'Leary, Cork IT Advisor, and Richard Galvin, St. Angela's Secondary School in Cork, organised through NCTE a training programme for schools involved in video conferencing projects. Br. Dan O'Keeffe, the C.B.S. IT Co-ordinator and Judith Scully, German Teacher attended this.
Photo of teachers at video conferencing training in Cork
Photo of Br. O'Keeffe training colleagues on how to use the video conference system in the CBS
The videoconference system installed in the CBS is in the music room. The ISDN line (Basic Rate) has been extended to this room as it is directly below the computer room. The music room also has tiered seating so it is ideal for group conferences. The teachers using this video conferencing system only need to know the ISDN number of the school they are contacting and how to use a remote control. This system was chosen, as it is user friendly.

All teachers involved in this project agree that they need to be prepared and confident before they embark on bringing students into the computer room or to use the video conferencing system and this is going to take time. However, the teachers are beginning to see the potential benefits that ICTs can bring to their teaching.

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