Castleisland Community College – Experience of Online Teaching and Learning

Castleisland Community College acting principal, Teresa Lonergan explaining the logistics of new teaching and learning methods.  ©Photograph: John Reidy

Castleisland Community College, acting principal, Teresa Lonergan with a behind the  scenes report which looks at how the college is dealing with the online teaching and learning experience with a testimony from students from both first year and leaving cert classes.

By:Teresa Lonergan, Acting Principal

In light of the COVIS-19 pandemic, Castleisland Community College, like all schools was faced with a short window in which to prepare to deliver teaching and learning remotely.

However, we had been preparing for the possibility of school closures. Both, teachers and students are adapting to a new remote way of learning.

We were very lucky in that all our students already had a Microsoft 365 account – set up by Kerry Education and Training Board – for the past number of years.

Access to all the Tools

This meant that all our students and staff had access to all of the Microsoft 365 tools at home. Therefore, we were able to move very quickly.

While flexibility was needed to ensure that different learning outcomes could be achieved in a variety of subjects, consistency of approach is important for our students and teachers at this time. Microsoft TEAMS and its key tools provided consistency so that students were neither confused nor rushed into this new way of learning.

The use of TEAMS has provided our teachers with an on-line classroom enabling them to create their own class in Teams.

They can share lessons, create assignments, collaborate virtually in real-time, virtual face to face connections, assignments, files and conversations, grading and personalised feedback all in one hub accessible on a mobile phone, tablet or PC.

Students can chat with their whole class in groups with other students and with their teachers, this has resulted in a huge mindset shift for teachers, students and indeed parents.

The full text of Ms. Lonergan’s comprehensive report can be read with the click on the link below.

Students Have Their Say: First Year Student, Bláithín O’Mahony

First year student, Bláithín O’Mahony.

While the prospect of a global pandemic can be daunting, the teachers have really proven to be stars in this crisis.

The teachers have worked hard to ensure we carry on learning without difficulty through these tough times, with the help of online platforms such as Microsoft Teams, Office 365, YouTube and more.

Uploading Assignments

We have been able to work on school projects and submit them, usually by emailing photographs of the project to the teacher or uploading such to ‘assignments’ on Microsoft Teams.

I chose to submit my Home Economics project by uploading a video to YouTube and sharing it with my teacher.

Although I would like to get back to school again, I believe that the teachers are managing the situation excellently and creativity has truly blossom.”

Sixth Year, Leaving Certificate Student, Liam Moloney

Leaving cert student, Liam O’Mahony.

“Initially studying from home as a leaving cert 2020 student proved to be very challenging because of a sense of disconnection.

Lack of daily structure and routine has been difficult but thanks to all resources and teachers’ constant communication it has become less isolating.

Liaise with Teachers and Classmates

Being able to liaise with teachers and classmates helps me to focus and brings a certain amount of clarity.

There is no doubt, in these unprecedented times, that trying to achieve my goals is very difficult.

But at the end of the day it is important for teachers and students to unite in keeping our minds and hearts healthy.”

The full text of Ms. Lonergan’s comprehensive report can be read with the click on the link here: