Winners of second ‘ICT Excellence’ awards for Northern Ireland schools announced
Capita Managed IT Solutions and the Education Authority’s C2k Service have announced the winners for the second annual ‘ICT Excellence’ awards. The awards ceremony, held on Thursday 8th December at The Merchant Hotel in Belfast, celebrated Northern Ireland schools that are demonstrating innovation in their use of technology for teaching and learning.
The awards, established in 2015, celebrate the innovative and collaborative use of technology in schools across Northern Ireland and the positive impact on students and their wider communities. This year, schools competed under two categories: Transforming teaching and learning through technology, for schools who have used technology to transform their educational experience and improve the engagement and motivation of staff and students.
Overcoming barriers to learning by empowerment through technology, for schools who used technology to overcome barriers experienced by children whose particular circumstances make it difficult for them to access learning in other ways. The winning school in the category ‘Transforming teaching and learning through technology’ was St Mary’s Grammar Magherafelt. The judges were impressed by the school’s use of technology to enable their students to direct their own learning, embed technology into the lesson plan process and support innovative approaches such as the ‘flipped classroom’. The judging panel also highlighted the fact that St Mary’s Grammar School’s approach successfully prepared the school’s students for the next step of University or employment.
Deirdre Gillespie, principal of St Mary’s Grammar Magherafelt, said: “This award is a real testament to the hard work of the team at St Mary’s. We have always intended to use technology to enable independent, personalised and self-initiated learning – and it’s made a tremendous difference to the experience and education we’re able to offer our pupils. This has been a huge effort from the entire school – so we’re proud to have that work recognised by Capita and C2k.”
The other finalists in this category were:
- St Columb's College, Derry
- Seaview Primary School, Belfast
- St Mary's College, Derry.
The winning school in the category ‘Overcoming barriers to learning by empowerment through technology’ was Harberton Special School and Outreach Centre in Belfast. The judges recognised the school’s impressive work in developing its technology strategy, the outreach work done to share best practice with other schools in the area and the care with which the school ensured every child was supported in the most appropriate way. Harberton’s multi-sensory approach using iPads has helped improve progress on reading and word knowledge, whilst the use of humanoid robots has assisted pupils significantly on the autistic spectrum and pupils with social difficulties.