IT/Blended Learning

At the end of this page you will find information relating to our school Information Technology systems used for education, communication and administration. We would kindly ask that all Parents/Guardians download and install on their phones the Unique Schools St. Joseph’s Secondary School Castlebar App, and allow their phones to receive notifications from this app. Failure to do so may result in the nonreceipt of important communications from the school relating to your daughter, a failure for which the school will not be held responsible. 

Pastoral care underlies all relationships within the school community. We aim to create a safe and happy environment which enriches the lives of the students. From the moment a student is enrolled, there are specific teachers on the staff whose roles are to ensure that students’ wellbeing is supported throughout their time in St. Joseph’s.

Blended learning is the integration of digital tools, techniques and materials alongside the traditional physical classroom. In blended learning, students may view classes, access readings, ask questions, and complete assignments online in virtual learning environments (VLE). Other terms, such as mixed, hybrid, or integrative learning, all describe the same method of teaching. The Framework for Junior Cycle programme places significant emphasis on the acquisition of digital skills as a subset of the 8 key skills that are part of the core of the new programme.

The main digital tool that St. Joseph’s uses is Google Workspace (formerly G Suite) for Education – a suite of digital tools, including Google Classroom, tailored for schools. Each student on entering the school is given a Google Workspace school account via which she will communicate and participate in blended learning over the duration of her time in the school.

The school online management system, VSWARE, as well as being the main medium for communication between the home and school, is also used as a communications tool between teachers and students for the purposes of teaching and learning.

The school has invested heavily in IT infrastructure in recent years. A WiFi network was installed and recently upgraded throughout the school. We have two specialist computer rooms and a large number of laptops and iPads for students to use. Equally, our WIFI system enables students to use their own devices for their learning under the supervision of the class teacher leaving the school in a good position to adopt a more blended approach to teaching and learning.

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in an accelerated adoption of blended learning by all teachers and students. In the event of a school closure the digital tools used for teaching and learning will move centre stage and all students should be prepared to receive and return work via their school Google Workspace. Where staff need to self- isolate as a result of being deemed a close contact, teaching and learning will continue through the above digital platforms. We would ask students to be respectful of the times they contact the teaching staff, that is, strictly within school hours (08:00hrs – 17:00hrs).

Register

Please enter your details for our virtual Open/Enrolment Evening. Ensure email address is entered correctly. Register any question/query you wish the senior management team to address on the evening.