Annual Online Global Challenge Scoil Mhuire Náisiúnta, Corofin, Co. Clare Senior infants to sixth class participated in the World Education Games. The World Education Games are run over three days coinciding with World Literacy Day (5th March), World Numeracy Day (6th March) and World Science Day (6th March). Pupils are encouraged to engage in a stimulating way in learning and education focusing specifically on literacy, mathematics and science.
Aims of Our Project This project was undertaken with the following objectives:
Pupils would enjoy taking part in the challenge and engage with their learning in a fun way.
A curiosity and excitement about learning would be fostered and pupils would improve their ability to answer knowledge, application and reasoning questions.
Teachers and parents would see the benefits of online learning platforms such as Mathletics, SpelloDrome and INTOScience.
ICT would be used as a tool to differentiate learning.
Pupils would learn collaboratively and there would be an increase in the use of peer tutoring as a teaching method.
Our Project: Initial Steps Pupils were registered on the World Education Games site by their teachers and received a laminated card with their unique user name and password. The site opened for practice challenges on the 1st of February so pupils were able to spend some time familiarising themselves with the site and getting some practice in.
SpelloDrome, Mathletics and INTOScience power the World Education Games. Initial registration is free and once registered pupils can participate in all 3 events from school or home. When a student begins a challenge they are matched in real time with three other pupils of similar age and ability around the world. Each challenge lasts 1 minute and pupils gain points for each correct answer as they progress through the challenges. There are five levels of difficulty in the World Literacy and Maths Days Challenges and three levels of difficulty in the World Science Day Challenges.
Classroom Focus Each classroom had the use of a PC and a laptop and each class was timetabled for the computer room at different times throughout the day for the duration of the Games. English, Mathematics and SESE time was used for these slots. In class a timer was used and each pupil had 10 minutes at the computer in their turn. The PC and laptop in the infant classroom were also used when available.
Peer tutoring was used to help younger pupils become familiar with the process of logging in and choosing a challenge. Pupils from older classes were paired with younger pupils during the practice sessions until they were able to participate independently. Pupils were also encouraged to take part in the Games as part of their homework if Internet access was available.
Benefits - Impact on Teaching and Learning Pupils, parents and teachers were surveyed about participation in the Games on completion. Responses showed that all the objectives were achieved. Those surveyed also highlighted several other benefits of the project.
“I had great fun. I got to play with children from all over the world. I even played with people from countries I never even heard of.”
Pupils were highly motivated by the challenges and were consistently on task during their time on the computer. They found the site visually appealing and loved the online interaction with pupils from their own class, their school, other schools in the county, other schools in Ireland and all over the world. Their classroom was truly global during the Games!
“I liked the way the questions got harder as you went along.”
Mathletics and SpelloDrome are adaptive so pupils were differentiated by default and had positive learning experiences. Self – directed learning was evident throughout the project.
“I liked science best because we got to pair up and help each other.”
Collaborative learning ensured pupils were not daunted by the more difficult questions especially in science. This also helped pupils who did not have Internet access at home.
“I particularly liked the fact that the efforts of all pupils were acknowledged by the receipt of a participatory certificate, irrespective of achievement.”
Every pupil received a PDF certificate. These were either a Certificate of Participation or a Certificate of Distinction (if they completed 50 challenges). The school is getting these printed and they will be presented to pupils at an End-of-Year Assembly. Senior Infants and First Class finished 45th in the top 50 classrooms in the world in the 4-7 age category and will receive a certificate from the World Education Games organisers.
Informed Teaching and Assessment
“When the Games ended, we conducted a class brainstorm where we wrote down all the science facts we had learned. Each child then picked the science fact they liked best. They wrote their fact on A4 card and drew an illustration to accompany it. All the facts were displayed on the notice board on the school corridor.”
Observing the pupils taking part in the challenges informed teaching and assessment and allowed teachers to identify areas which needed extra focus or revision.
Advice & Suggestions Participation in the Games does not require a sophisticated ICT infrastructure. This project was completed using five classroom laptops, four classroom PC’s and a computer room with eleven PC’s. This enabled 82 pupils to take part. In the school Internet speed is average and Internet coverage in the locality is mediocre at times. Timetabling, collaborative learning and a hugely supportive group comprising principal, teachers, SNA and parents overcame any potential challenges. This is an ideal project for teachers who are less confident in ICT. The teacher is only a facilitator after the initial registration and the longest the project can last is a month while also being easily completed in two weeks. One pupil’s response ensures Scoil Mhuire Náisiúnta will be taking part in the World Education Games again.
“I can’t wait for next year to come!”
PDST & Clare EC would like to thank Ms. Caroline McCarthy, the staff and pupils of Scoil Mhuire Náisiúnta, Corofin for sharing their project work. See www.sncorafinne.comfor more information.