Swot up on the best education websites
The internet has become a wonderful source for subject resources, mainly thanks to generous teachers and schools that post their notes online for all to use.
There isn’t a central resource, so finding them is often a matter of judicious Google searches or happy accidents. Once you scratch the surface, however, the number of resources is growing all the time. The spirit of generosity is alive and well; many teachers have no restrictions on their content.
It’s a leap, however. Traditionally, a teacher’s personal notes were theirs and theirs alone. Noel Cunningham, a physics teacher, has been running his website, thephysicsteacher.ie, for years, and he sees the culture beginning to shift. “Technology which allows resources to be stored electronically, especially Dropbox, is beginning to change that, and discussion forums which can be set up both within and between departments encourages sharing.”
“I’ve found that teachers are very keen to use technology in this way,” says Evelyn O’Connor, founder of leavingcertenglish.net. “There is very little technical support out there, though. It’s so important for us to become familiar with all of this technology.”
St Columba’s College, the Dublin school, appears to be leading the way in this use of technology and information sharing, and sites by its teachers feature prominently in this article. Most of the resources listed here are run by teachers, but mathsireland.comis run by an interested dad who happens to have a degree in computer applications.
The common factors are interest, enthusiasm and a passion for the possibilities of technology.
This site does exactly what it says on the tin. Teacher of the year Evelyn O’Connor works at Mount St Michael’s Secondary School in Claremorris, Co Mayo. She started the site in 2011 when unwell with a sore throat.
The site allowed her to communicate with her students despite not being able to use her voice. It now has more than 1,000 users every day. It has notes, links, resources and an excellent blog. Some comprehensive poetry podcasts are available to buy, for €2.50 a pop. Everything else is free.
The best known of the English blogs, this is run by Julian Girdham and his team at St Columba’s College. It has won numerous awards and provides useful resources, links and insights into the English curriculum. Dig a little: the depth and breadth of what you find will make it worth your while.
The ultimate resource for anyone studying Irish for the Junior or Leaving Cert. This is another of the St Columba’s gems, run by teacher Gary Bannister and his team.
The site is full of notes and resources, again freely available.
The site’s founder Peter Lee holds the record for the highest score achieved by an Irish person on Channel 4’s afternoon show Countdown. When he’s not breaking records on British television he works on his site, updating sample answers and answering student queries. The site started years ago when Lee’s own children were doing the Leaving Cert.