Teacher wins award for cyber time capsule

JAMSIE and Rena Power are no historians but they are giving children in a Waterford village a unique insight into growing up in the 1940s and 1950s.

Their memories were discussed with and recorded by fifth and sixth class pupils of Ballyduff National School, but their use of technology to share those memories on the internet scooped teacher John Carey a national award yesterday.

The website “Living in Ireland in My Grandparents’ Time” is one of more than 1,200 available to schools across all subjects through TeachNet. It is unique because it is designed by teachers for teachers and their students in the country’s 4,000 schools.

Mr Carey has been using video and computers in class for most of his 25 years at the school and suggested the project to pupils last September. Sixth class pupil Jack Power convinced his grandparents Jamsie and Rena to come and be interviewed on camera.

“It’s a great source of material for history classes, but it also taught my pupils about the importance of oral evidence in compiling history. The couple had great insights into their childhood and how so many things have changed,” said Mr Carey.

Rena Power recalls in the video how families had their first taste of oranges — “delicacies” unavailable during World War II. “I remember queuing up outside a shop in Waterford for about three hours to get two bananas and two oranges, it was a real treat,” she says.

Mr Carey said computers and technology are essential to learning, and help make subjects more interesting.

He was one of almost 50 teachers whose TeachNet projects were celebrated in Dublin yesterday. Other projects included a website about St Brigid developed by special needs students at St Brigid’s School in Dundalk, Co Louth, one on the history of Dublin’s 1913 Lockout and a site for infant classes about farm life.

The work involves students learning to use technology, such as blogging, podcasting and social networking, as well as finding out more about their particular topic of interest. Many of the sites feature interactive quizzes and, animation.

The initiative is run by St Patrick’s College of Education in Drumcondra, supported by the National Centre for Technology in Education.

About 35 projects are being funded this year, with the involvement of 900 students. Financial services firm Citi has committed two further years of funding to the programme.

www.teachnet.ie.

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