St Kevin’s Community College is the 1st DEIS (Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools) school in the country to provide digital devices to every student. DEIS Connect ‘Bridging the Digital Divide’, is a bold and innovative approach to enhance digital capacity for all learners in St Kevin’s Community College, Clondalkin, Dublin 22. This programme was launched by an Taoiseach, Micheál Martin T.D., on February 4th, 2022, in the college.
St. Kevin’s Community College, which is under the patronage of Dublin and Dun Laoghaire ETB (DDLETB), has also become among the first schools in Ireland to receive the Digital Schools Award status. An EU-wide initiative, which recognises and celebrates best practice in digital education. “To be one of the first schools in Europe to receive this award is such an achievement, and our whole school community is very excited by it” stated Principal, Mr. Tony Barry. “Both our teachers and pupils have worked incredibly hard to develop and embed digital learning into the curriculum. Ensuring that our pupils have access to the equipment, resources and support to develop their skills and literacy in this area has been top of our agenda for some time, but the European Digital Schools Award programme has given us the momentum to drive forward new strategies” added Mr. Barry.
Following extensive school funding through Dublin and Dun Laoghaire ETB (Digital Connect and DEIS Connect Initiatives) and their partnerships with Microsoft, Power2Progress (UCD/Zurich), Digital Wealth Project (ReThink Ireland), Clondalkin Access Network, St. Vincent de Paul and the Trinity Access Programme, St. Kevin’s Community College is now able to provide a digital device to every student in its school. They are also rolling out training for parents to support them with their digital literacy. This is being coordinated through South Dublin County Partnership.
The school has decided to give all 1st and 2nd year students an iPad for use in school and at home, and laptops for all students in 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th year. They believe this hybrid approach is the first of its kind in the country and will afford students the opportunity to upskill in the latest digital technologies available. It will be a blended approach using devices to enhance Teaching and Learning, and continue the progress previously made with students, in terms of Teams and ClassNotebook. It will also enhance the formative feedback capabilities of teachers.
“The DEIS Connect initiative is a clear demonstration of DDLETB’s commitment to delivering a high-quality learning experience for all of our students and school teams. We are very proud of St. Kevin’s CC’s achievements in leading the path in embracing the best of what technology enhanced learning has to offer. We look forward to further developing this initiative throughout the DDLETB DEIS network“ stated Mr. Adrian Flynn, Director of Schools at DDLETB.
With the World Economic Forum estimating that 90% of all jobs in 2030 will require digital skills, and extensive research indicating that students from diverse backgrounds are least likely to enter STEM careers. There is a clear need to ensure that every young person is given the opportunity to engage in STEM education and become a digital leader into the future. DEIS Connect is the first step on this journey.