Killavullen NS
Educating in a joyful, positive and secure setting

At KNS, we pride ourselves on integrating ICT into teaching, learning and assessment, using a broad range of devices, apps, software and learning platforms. Click on the tabs below to find out how!

Digital Learning Strategy

As part of the Department’s Digital Strategy 2015-2020, schools received a DLS grant based on pupil numbers. Our’s ranged from €5,000 – €8,000. We have had successful applications for additional funding, where our DLS team, led by Ms O’Keeffe set out our journey of distinction to date and targets for the years ahead. The Dept. of Education awarded additional ICT funding in recognition of our school’s excellent efforts to embed the use of digital technologies in teaching, learning and assessment.

To see our progress to date, you can read our Digital Learning Plans by clicking on them below. The last page in each contains the list of Targets and Actions.

Digital-Learning-Plan-KNS-2020-21

Digital-Learning-Plan-KNS-2019-20

Digital-Learning-Plan-KNS 2018-19

    Education in the 21st Century takes place in a dynamically changing environment. Beyond the foundational curriculum-specific skills, students need to be able to utilise technological resources effectively, efficiently and ethically.  At Killavullen NS, we aim to inspire high level creativity, critical thinking, collaboration and communication amongst our students, assisting them to excel academically and inspiring life-long learning whilst also cultivating character.

    An iPad in the hands of our students and teachers is a powerful tool and will assist in the development of every individual as a lifelong learner. Our research shows that within the classroom, the iPad is best used when it is incorporated into, but does not dominate, learning activities. It can open up possibilities that were not available to the learner in the past. Sometimes the iPad’s role will be minor, perhaps enhancing a text book with an animation or video and sometimes it will be revolutionary as the iPad and associated Apps provide a window into a whole new world of learning. 

    Sixth class pupils, under the guidance of Ms Angland, undertook the Fís initiative recently, which involved creating and producing a short film, which they did using iPads. During the first lockdown in May/June 2020, the Sixth Class pupils, led by Ms Angland again, created their own ‘Now! That’s What I Call Lockdown 2020’ video, using their own devices (and some on loan from the school) to edit video snippets sent in by families, into a fabulously uplifting video – See it for yourself here:

    All Staff and students have access to G-suite, laptops and iPads which enable children to produce work and share it with their teacher.  It also enables them to collaborate with classmates, both in school and from home, when completing project work.  We have Interactive Whiteboards in all classes which have full access to a range of teaching aids. 

    “We’ve got an app for that!” With so many apps available, it can be daunting to even know where to start sometimes. Thankfully, over the last 10 years in KNS, we’ve trialled 100s, the good and the bad, and now have a list of high quality go-to apps that we know consolidate our teaching and pupils’ learning fantastically well. While we use lots of apps, we’ve narrowed it down to our Top 5 below.

    Accelerated Reader

    RESEARCH-PROVEN READING PRACTICE

    Student-driven. Teacher-guided.

    We are extremely fortunate in KNS to be able to implement Accelerated Reader from 2nd to 6th classes. It is a research-proven reading practice program. Accelerated Reader puts students in the driver’s seat. Teachers guide students, while engaging quizzes and activities help hone students’ reading skills with authentic practice—encouraging growth. We have an extensive AR library and children have dedicated AR reading time in school and at home every day.

    Guide

    Personalized goals help students stay focused on the factors that matter most for reading growth—and help you monitor their progress and provide feedback to keep learners on track.

    Engage

    Individual reading recommendations use students’ interests and reading levels to suggest “just-right” titles—or students can self-select from over 200,000 choices!

    Practice

    “Just reading” transforms into high-quality reading practice that fuels growth: Reading quizzes monitor comprehension, while literacy skills and vocabulary quizzes extend student learning and build skills mastery.

    Grow

    Detailed reports provide insights into students’ progress. Paired with Renaissance Star Reading, track students’ mastery of focus skills aligned to state-specific learning standards.

    Mathletics

    Mathletics is a multi-award-winning digital maths resource used here in KNS. It is proven to significantly improve results and pupil engagement in maths. Mathletics contains fully aligned comprehensive curriculum content, supporting a mastery approach, developing the core skills of mathematical fluency, problem solving and reasoning. Mathletics can be accessed on PCs and tablet devices both at school and at home, making it great as a classroom resource for teaching and learning.

    Mathletics is proven to significantly improve levels of attainment and progress (independently validated by the University of Oxford) Mathletics creates hugely increased levels of pupil engagement, confidence and motivation in maths. Mathletics is always a very popular choice of activity. The greatest thing about it is that it makes all children, regardless of ability, see themselves as successful mathematicians

    Reading Eggs

    In KNS Junior Infants to 1st Class enjoy a subscription to Reading Eggs and Reading Eggspress. These programs are designed to teach children the core literacy skills needed to be successful at school with a progressive sequence of interactive and motivational lessons. Some of the benefits of the Reading Eggs and Reading Eggspress programme for reading include:

    One-on-one Learning

    Reading Eggs and Reading Eggspress provide children with a one-on-one learning environment, which means that they can learn at a rate that suits their level of ability and progress. Children are also able to repeat lessons in order to overcome any difficulties.

    Focus on core literacy skills

    Reading Eggs and Reading Eggspress lessons focus on developing the core literacy skills children need for success at school. These include:

    •         Phonemic awareness – the ability to hear, identify and manipulate the individual sounds in words.
    •         Phonics – the ability to link sounds to letters, also known as the alphabetic principle.
    •         Vocabulary – building the bank of words a child can automatically recognise.
    •         Fluency – reading automatically, accurately, with appropriate tone and accounting for punctuation.
    •         Comprehension – reading for meaning and making inferences from text

    Making Learning Fun

    Children learn best when they’re having fun. The online lessons and activities in Reading Eggs and Reading Eggspress make learning enjoyable and highly engaging for young children. Children stay keen to learn with the vibrant animations and visuals, colourful characters, catchy music and sing alongs that feature in the lessons.

    IrishHomework.ie

    IrishHomework.ie is a blended learning solution for Irish.  All students from 3rd-6th classes receive an Irishhomework.ie account. This online platform allows students to learn the provided lessons at home.  This is blended with Task Based Learning (TBL) activities in class the following day. 

    Students motivation is built up by ensuring they practice each lesson’s dialogue until they can reproduce it comfortably in and out of context.

    By removing all unnecessary hurdles we create rapid and sustainable progress which feeds into long term motivation.

    Our flipped classroom approach allows for refined Self Assessment for home study and both Self and Peer Assessment during in class activities.

    Hit the Button

    Hit the Button is an interactive maths game with quick fire questions on number bonds, times tables, doubling and halving, multiples, division facts and square numbers. Every iPad in school has hit the button app installed. The games, which are against the clock, challenge and develop mental maths skills. An untimed, practise mode is available, along with lots more extra features.

    The activities can be matched to appropriate mathematical ability. Regular use of Hit the Button can help students to sharpen their recall of vital number facts in a fun way and learning multiplication tables need not be boring.

    We strive to have great lines of communication between parents and staff. Supporting the home-school relationship is an essential factor in children’s learning and can inform the work of the school on many levels, including how the curriculum is taught, pastoral care, extra-curricular development and behaviour strategies. We use email, Class Dojo, Aladdin and the homework journal for our home school communication. Given the importance of children’s families and out-of-school lives for their success within school, embedding home-school relationships as part of a whole-school strategy leads to positive results for children’s learning and achievement within school.

    Classdojo is a school communication platform that teachers, students, and families use to build close-knit communities by sharing what’s being learned in the classroom home through photos, videos. Dojo is more informal in nature. Teachers can share photos with just one parent, the whole class or the whole school. They have a very strong privacy policy and we feel it is a lot safer than posting these more informal photos to Facebook.

    Aladdin Connect

    Aladdin Connect is used by Irish primary schools to securely communicate and share information with parents/guardians. As well as messages from the school, you can view details that the school shares about your child’s attendance, report cards, homework, and library books. You can also enter reasons for your child’s absences from the Aladdin Connect app and give permissions at the touch of a button.

    Aladdin Connect is accessed via a secure login. You sign in securely to Aladdin Connect from your computer, laptop or smartphone. We send new parents an access code so you can register with Aladdin Connect along with a letter outlining the steps to get connected. Then you can download the Aladdin Schools Connect app to receive instant notifications from the school and to have convenient and secure access to your child’s information from your mobile device.

    Aladdin Connect is a fantastic way to enhance communication with parents and helps you to stay connected and informed about your child’s education.

    We recognise the powerful impact digital media has had on our lives and the enormous potential digital devices and the internet can have as educational tools when incorporated into learning activities.  As a school who has embraced digital technology we are highly cognisant that, as educators and parents, we must teach our children the skills that they need so that they can reap the benefits of this technology, while also equipping them to deal with the risks and dangers they may encounter.

    Webwise is the Irish Internet Safety Awareness Centre which is co-funded by the Department of Education and Skills and is co-financed by the European Union’s Connecting Europe Facility.  Webwise provides resources that assist in teaching safe and responsible internet use. They also provide information, advice, and tools to parents to support their engagement in their children’s online lives. In Killavullen NS the pupils in 2nd – 6th Classes study the appropriate webwise materials. 

    We have welcomed Ger Brick of iNetSafetyTalk to Killavullen N.S. over the past number of years to deliver his excellent workshop to pupils from 3rd to 6th class on internet safety and anti-cyberbullying.  Ger also delivers a very informative workshop to the parents of these pupils and these talks are always very well attended by our parent cohort.  

    The workshops are highly interactive & engaging, supported by video and in class group exercises providing the children and Parents with Practical Information and Rules for Staying Safe and conducting themselves Responsibly online.

    Internet Safety Resources for Parents

    Webwise provide advice for parents on all aspects of internet safety including social media and cyberbullying. Click here for a downloadable, printable guide.

    Laya healthcare in conjunction with internet safety expert, Dr. Maureen Griffin, have some excellent guides available for parents that give tips for keeping our children safe online including advice on cyberbullying, children and their use of social media, managing screen time, digital age of consent, smartphones and sleep. You’ll find them in two parts below.

    Cyber Safety for Parents – Part 1

    Cyber Safety for Parents – Part 2

     

    All staff and children from 3rd – 6th classes have their own Killavullen NS email. This is used in a variety of useful ways, from report writing to collaboration in groups. Senior classes regularly email essays and project work to their teacher. G-suite enhances children’s learning in an ever evolving digital world.

     

    When we think of essential life skills for our children, touch typing isn’t something that is often discussed. But that really shouldn’t be the case, as learning to touch type is one of the most valuable skills that a child can learn. We have a whole school account for Typing.com and all our children from 3rd class up have their own accounts. This allows us to monitor each child’s progress remotely.

    It can not only help them with their school work but can also set them up with an advantage in later life when it comes to exploring job opportunities. Many jobs now require quick typing skills, but with technology so embedded in our daily lives it is a skill that benefits everyone.

    Thanks to our Parents’ Association, we are fortunate to have laptops school-wide, with three or four at the back of each classroom. We also have a class set of ipads and have  bluetooth keyboards that can be used for touch typing. Assistive technology can be very beneficial for children with additional needs or literacy difficulties and we make arrangements for children to use their own devices in school, where applicable.