Schools in Ireland are partnering with schools in Germany and the US to learn new languages and conduct social exchanges through an innovative new scheme.
The schools, in County Offaly, Ireland, are taking advantage of two new initiatives – Beyond the Walls and Beyond the Seas.
With teaching being done via LifeSize’s realtime video conferencing (Beyond the Walls), specialist teachers from one school can broadcast to five others in the region. Minority subjects have now become economically viable and students can still ask questions and interact. A recording feature has also been set up to ensure students can catch-up on missed lessons.
Students with an interest in physics or computing at university can now obtain an applied mathematics qualification, which is vital in order to access higher entry points for university.
The second initiative – Beyond the Seas – connects local schools with US partner locations in Georgia for cultural and scientific exchanges.
The Irish Government’s National Broadband Scheme enabled Offaly VEC (Vocational Education Committee – the local education authority for Offaly County) to begin these projects as they were the first recipients of high-speed Internet connections.
More projects are in the pipeline. Children will next design telepresence robots that the other classes can operate remotely.