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St. Kieran's College

St. Kieran's College when applying for a SIP already had a computer room in their school. Other rooms were becoming available on the college campus due to the closure of the boarding school. The drama and technical studies teacher Don O'Connor (Project Leader) saw an opportunity to use one of the larger rooms as a mini film studio. A plan was submitted in September 1999 for the "Kilkenny Then and Now" project. This multimedia project focused on the history of Kilkenny through its architectural and archaeological heritage. The idea of the project was presented to the students. Those who wanted to participate in the project used their Wednesday afternoon activities class. Subjects covered by the students included Music, Computer Studies Technical Drawing, Local History and English and the result of their endeavours was a website, a printed publication, a CD and video. The implementation team included Ger Buckley, Technical Studies Teacher, Tom Hogan, IT Co-ordinator, Fr. Eamon O'Gorman, Music Teacher and Nicky Cashin, History Teacher. However, it was not until January 2000 that the eight PCs and Apple 3Gs arrived and it was nearly Easter when the bulk of the software arrived. The team received training on filming techniques, film editing and on desktop publishing. One of the students in the group had web design skills and designed the web site for the project himself.

There were technical problems downloading the film from the video camera to the Apple G3 and then there were more issues removing the edited film from the Apple G3. Don O'Connor stated that "a little knowledge is a dangerous thing." The team were under immense pressure to complete the project due to the delivery delays and technical problems. A lot to time outside of school hours was invested into the project by both the team and the students. A factor adding to this pressure was the fact that the team felt that the "Kilkenny Then and Now" project had to finish with that current group of students as the following year a different set of students were going to be involved. Two students, Mel Clohessy and Martin Green were so rigorous in tracking down the information that they required that they even had a question raised in the Dáil so that they could secure access to copies of original drawings of Kilkenny Castle. Don O'Connor, the Project Leader in summing up said that "when we were planning this project last September (1999) we never envisaged the amount that both we the teachers and the pupils would learn. The students have learned how to take photographs, draw technical drawings by hand and on computer, how to research a topic, how to interview, basic computer skills and advanced skills such as touching up photographs to editing a film. It has been truly amazing!" Derek Collins, a student who has become adept at scanning and manipulating images said he "had learned an awful lot this year from the project" and that it had given him an "insight into working with computers". The website for the project is Some of the students have also uploaded tips that they learned when optimising images for the internet and for a printed publication.

Such was the success of their project that SIP is now a timetabled optional subject for transition year students. The theme of this years project is "The Duel at the Triangle", a drama production on the life of Henry Flood, a Kilkenny man who was a member of Grattan's Parliament. This years students will have the opportunity to learn ICT skills along with research, set design, acting, music, filming and film editing skills. The same implementation team are involved this year. Due to the success of last years group, many "non-IT" students have opted for the SIP the subject, as they would like to see their names on the cover of a CD as well as having a starring role in a film!! SIP in St. Kieran's stands for Student Integrated Project and the first crop of students coined this term. This is very indicative of how they felt the project was theirs. The students work in groups researching their allocated topics or devising backing music for film. Students must visit local museums and libraries to research their topics. Visits to the local recording studio are also organised so that the students can see how a musical cd is produced. In fact, one of last year's students has gone on to start recording his own cd. This project encompasses the fact that ICT is a tool that can be used to enhance the educational experiences of students. This project can be replicated nationally, the themes taken by the implementation team so far have been local but they could just as easily be international. The underlying requirements are a dedicated room, reliable equipment, extremely interested and motivated teaching team, specific training, local contacts, local technical backup etc.


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