Teachers: Joe Ó hEachteirn
School: Scoil na nÓg, Glanmire, Co. Cork
Class/Subjects taught by teacher: Primary (All subjects fundamentally)
Last Thursday afternoon, I met with Joe Ó hEachteirn (Joe Aherne) in Scoil na nÓg in Glanmire where he is a Primary School Teacher. I know him through our local GAA and Camogie Clubs in Kilworth. Again I opened the meeting by explaining myself and giving a brief presentation on the project and then I asked him the following questions:
- What are the most important subjects on the STEM Curriculum?
Because it is a primary school they only cover Science and Maths. In Joe’s opinion the most important subject depends on the student. He believes that the subject which the student is most strong at is then most important to him/her. Every case is different. But there is no one most important subject in his opinion.
- Coding is to be introduced onto the Primary School Curriculum by 2018, is this a welcome development in your view?
Joe said: “Indeed, it the most modern form of literacy if you like. It’s vital that students are advanced in such an area as the computing age continues to advance at a rapid rate.”
- Would the teachers or students in this schools have much interaction with Transition Year students? For example, has there been any occasion where TY students has visited the schools for some reason?
The student from the secondary school next door to the primary school have often come into them demonstrating projects etc. Interactions can be easily accessed between 6th class and TY students.
- What do you feel at present are the most urgent needs or resources for teaching STEM subjects in schools?
Access to computers and skilled teachers. They’re number one. Everything else will follow.
- In terms of how STEM subjects are taught in schools at the moment, what resources are used? Are any digital resources or devices used?
In our school we have laptops, Interactive White Boards (IWB).
- Have any students in your schools taken part or will take part in any initiatives to promote STEM subjects such as BT Young Scientist and TECH Exhibition, the Coderdojo Programmes etc.?
We won the Young environmentalist of the Year two years ago. We did a project based on the effects non native trees are having on our environment. We were very proud of our students that year as they were up against secondary school students in their category.
- Before this meeting, were you aware of the term UmI technologies?
Joe wasn’t aware of these technologies before our meeting but said they sounded very interesting and he would love to hear more about them in the future.
- Do you believe the teaching of STEM subjects is more important now than what it was 10 years ago? If so, why?
It’s way more important. The percentage of work and modern skills in the workplace that are technology based are is so much higher than it was 10 years ago.
Take for example architects, all there work it done on computers. Engineers also do their homework digitally.
Nothing works without technology these days.