The Institute of Technology Tralee in partnership with Trinity College Dublin, today launched Access 21, an initiative which supports a number of secondary schools in Kerry to develop innovative approaches to formal and informal learning.
Access 21 has been operating in Trinity for the past three years. One of the main outcomes from the project has been a positive change in student aspirations with an increase in the number of secondary school students intending to progress to university as well as an increase in the number of students wishing to pursue higher professional careers following their completion of Access 21.
The aim of the IT Tralee team involved in Access 21 is to replicate the success of the Trinity project using 21st century teaching and learning approaches, supported by professional development for teachers which combined, provide an environment in which students can grow and develop by taking responsibility for and ownership of their own learning.
According to the Access 21 Programme Leader at IT Tralee Véronique Lostal Davern, schools who embrace the Access 21 programme report a number of positive outcomes including: enhanced critical thinking skills; removal of barriers which restrict progression to third level and a more equitable and inclusive school environment.
“The Access 21 project has a number of key goals which include raising educational aspirations and attainment of Irish second level students from geographical areas where attendance at third level is historically low; supporting schools to develop and promote 21st Century Teaching & Learning and increasing the STEM and ICT capabilities of teachers across the Irish second level sector” stated Véronique. In conjunction with Trinity College, the Access 21 team at IT Tralee will support partner schools in Kerry to develop and expand ‘college-going’ cultures and for the pilot phase of the project and will work with Killarney Community College, Killorglin Community College, Colaiste Na Riochta, Listowel and Causeway Community School
Dr. Ronan Smith from Trinity College Dublin joined the IT Tralee team at the Institute on November 10th where the first workshop with teachers from the link schools was held as part of the official Access 21 launch. This included workshops on Mentoring and Leadership in the school environment.
Dr. Ronan Smith said “Children in Ireland who are growing up barely ten minutes away from each other can have vastly different aspirations in their education. The Access 21 project aims to ensure that no matter where a child grows up, their ambitions for the future are seen as achievable goals. The project aims to support schools in fostering an environment of 21st century teaching & learning and equipping teachers with the skills needed to implement new digital technologies in the classroom. I am delighted to be in the IT Tralee today to officially launch our new partnership.”
Access 21 is funded through support from the Kerry Innovation Centre & Tom Crean Business Centre – Tralee, Trinity College Dublin and IT Tralee.
Further details are available from Brid Mc Elligott@ 066 71 91800