Launch of Student Digital Learning Hub

The transition year Digital Champions team has developed a website  called the Student Digital Learning Hub. The purpose of the website and the accompanying Android app is to provide information for all students in our school about digital technologies and resources which will help them with learning. 

This project is also designed to support the introduction of an ePortfolio solution in the school. The ePortfolio solution will be introduced in Transition Year and the team for this project is made up of transition year students. The Digital Learning Hub site uses the same platform (Google Sites) as the ePortfolio solution. The site will give information and advice from a student perspective on how to build an ePortfolio. The team is currently doing a pilot of eportfolio using Google Sites and their advice will be helpful to other students in the future.

The team has built the site and Android app and are now promoting them. They will also, enable others to collaborate in adding content. The rationale is to give students a voice in promoting digital technologies in learning at our school and to collaborate in building a community of practice among students in effective use of technology in learning.

Well done to the team for doing an excellent job!

Created as part of the Digital Champions Project 2018 by: Wiktor Kwapinski, Michael Liu, Diarmuid Sutton, Adam Jarvis, Diro Lawal and Andrew McMahon


EU Code Week Taking Place 15th – 23rd October

EU Code Week is back again! Taking place from 15th – 23rd October. First launched in 2013 by the European Commission, the initiative aims to make programming more visible, to show young, adults and elderly how you bring ideas to life with code, to demystify these skills and bring motivated people together to learn.

To celebrate EU Code Week, a number of different events will be held across Europe and organisers can add their event to the website. If you would like to get involved or check them out, visit

The 2017 Scratch Competition will launch this week, to coincide with EU Code Week, taking place from 15th – 23rdOctober. Run by the ICS Foundation and supported by Lero, the Irish Software Research Centre, the Scratch Competition promotes computing and software development at both primary and secondary school levels.

Students can register online at for the 2017 Scratch competition with entries to be submitted by February 10th 2017. The national finals of Scratch will be held during Tech Week, taking place 23rd to 29th April, 2017

Coding Workshop 2nd Yr

A team of four TY students prepared and assisted in a coding workshop with Mr.Shortt and his second year ICT class. They put Galileo boards in protective cases and set up coding kits in plastic storage boxes. The kit together with headphones for working online with Khan Academy has transformed ICT classes. Students are now introduced to coding in Junior Cycle ICT classes and get to apply what they have learnt with a hands on coding workshop using Galileo boards.

The first coding workshop in Junior Cycle using Galileo boards took place this week as part of an initiative to pilot aspects of the new short course in Coding for Junior Cycle.Castletroy College was delighted to be chosen as one of a group of approximately twenty schools to participate in this initiative which will pioneer the introduction of coding using electronic hardware devices in schools nationally.

We are making progress with coding which previously had been confined to learning through Scratch, a free programming language and online community where you can create your own interactive stories, games, and animations. Classes are now beginning to learn to write code and using Arduino software to programme a Galileo board. Mr Shortt’s second year class is the first group to do this but we expect many more groups to build on this success next year.

There are lots of opportunities for students to learn how to code. Join CoderDojo and look out for summer camps such as the Summer Computing Camp For Girls at UL which is suitable for post-primary girls aged 14 and up.



The Only Productivity Application You’ll Ever Need

Like most teenagers, the first thing I do in the morning after turning off my alarm is check my smartphone. Using a phone requires less effort than walking around so I choose checking my e-mail as a way of gradually climbing out of the pit of sleep.

After e-mail, it’s time to check into my favorite productivity app. It tells me what classes I have that day, and I have a skim through the homework from the previous night to refresh myself with what we covered.

In school, I boot up the app and use it as a copybook for note-taking. If I get a hand-out from the teacher, I’ll scan it when I get home and place it alongside my notes. If I have to use a different computer, I can still access all my school notes by using the web interface of the app. I can also access it from an iPhone, Android or BlackBerry cell-phone. Got an iPad or Android tablet? Access notes from there too. The app can also store videos and sound files, if text files and images aren’t enough.

What’s the application? Enter, Evernote!

What is it? The simplest way I can think of describing it is like this: imagine a powerful text-editor (that can also hold images or videos) where you don’t have to manually save the files, and then those files are available on any other computer with a connection to the internet, or a multitude of mobile devices.

The title of “only productivity app you’ll ever need” is a pretty hefty one so how come I think Evernote deserves it?

Access Anything Anywhere

If I’m at home, researching a couple of books I’ve been meaning to get, I can use Evernote to save pictures, ISBN numbers and prices to one text file. Then, all that info appears on my phone when, a week later, I get a chance to go into Dublin to the bookstore. I can comprehensively weigh my options much quicker than I otherwise could have, and it stops me buying the wrong edition or paying extra for no reason.

The same applies to accessing schoolwork when I’m away from my laptop or saving recipes that I want to try later.

Everything’s Safe

I love Flickr because I know that 12,000 photos are safe, even if my laptop is stolen or my hard-drives fail. Why should I take similar chances with school-work? Because Evernote files are saved on Evernote’s servers, something bad can happen to my laptop but all my files are safe.

Powerful Search

Gone are the days of rifling through mounds of paper for that one phone-number. Evernote files are immediately searchable on all devices, including text in any images you import (such as a PDF or the scan of a bill).

Evernote is free, with some limitations. Going premium will bump your monthly allowance from 60 MBs to 1 GB. A free account is still enough for thousands of text-notes; you’d only be strained if you had a lot of hi-res images to upload.

Try it for a week and you’ll wonder how you survived before.

Tommy Collison, 5th Year student, writing for Simply Zesty