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Shauna McGill, School of Education and Rachel Doherty, St John's ICT Co-ordinator, with St John's PS pupils Leah Irwin, Bailey Nelis, Eimear McColgan and Caoimhim O'Neill

Over 50 primary school childrenshowcased their IT skills to staff andstudent teachersatthe University of Ulster today using the latest mobile technologies.

The event, organised by the School of Education, is part of a widening access initiative designed to raise children’s aspirations and improve knowledge and skills.

Pupils from St John’s Primary School in Derry~ Londonderry have been using iPads provided by the university toproduce video tutorialswhich demonstrate how apps can be used for learning and peer teaching.

Thetutorials will be used to helpPGCE Primarystudent teachers understand howto use the iPadsin the classroomand improve their IT skills.

Working in groups, the children presented their work to the invited audience at the university’s Coleraine campus today.

Professor Linda Clarke, Head of the School of Education said:“This project builds on several research, development and widening access initiatives in the School of Education which aim to raise young people’s aspirations and encourage them to consider a graduatelevel career.

“Today’s event gives these children the opportunity to visit the University of Ulster and experience what life might be like if they consider higher education as an option for them in the future.”

Shauna McGill, Lecturer in Education, added: “These pupils from St John’s Primary School have really excelled through this initiative. Their hard work and dedication to this iPad project reflects how creative approaches to teaching and learning can contribute to developing children’s confidence and self-esteem.

“Our own student teachers in the School of Education will benefit from the video tutorials that have been produced by the children and they will now be working on integrating iPad technology into their teaching practice.”

ICT co-ordinator at St John’s, Rachel Doherty, said she was delighted with the success of the project.

“Children have noinhibitions when it comes to trying out new technology.Adults tend to be a bit more apprehensive andwant to followinstructionsto the letter but children are different. They don’t worry about what might go wrong – they just try to work it out for themselves.”

Rachel added that she hoped the iPad project would encourage some of the pupils to consider going to university.

“The childrenused the iPads to makevideos about their visit to the Coleraine campus. They really enjoyed working on the project and we’re hoping that this will plant a seed and get them thinking about what they’d like to do when they leave school.”

The PCGE students admitted that they were really impressed with the St John’s pupils’ grasp of technology.

Clare Dixon, from Dunloy, said she was blown away with how much the children knew.

“They’ve worked out their own short cuts on how to do things and were able to pass on loads of tipsto usabout how we could use iPads in class.”

Another student teacher, Rachel Stone from Derry, said she really enjoyed working on the ‘role reversal’ project.

“It was a great learning experience and I’m looking forward to using some of the tips we picked up from thechildren in the classroom.”

Peter Moorland, a student teacher from Ballyclare said that even though he was already using an iPad, the tutorials from the primary 6 and 7 pupils gave him a completely new perspective on how to use technology in the classroom.

“It was a great craic and I certainly learnt a lot from them,” he said.