Five Irish teachers; Tom Fitzsimmons and Ciaran McLaren from Crumlin Integrated College, and Eileen McStocker of St. Pius X College representing Northern Ireland and Kate O’Connell, from Scoil Mhuire, Kilvemnon in Tipperary; and Kathleen O'Connor who teaches at Ballyadams Primary School in Athy, Co.Kildare all made the semi-finals of this year’s Worldwide Innovative Teachers Forum in Hong Kong.

Amidst strong competition from around the world Kate O’Connell secured third place in the ‘Innovation in Content’ category at the conference. Kate’s project, Flying High: Exploring Aviation integrated every subject in the primary school curriculum with ICT and digital learning. The children used  LEGO®to construct their own working models of aeroplanes, building hydraulic lifts to raise the planes and stimulate flight. It used the constructivist approach developed by Professor Seymour Papert of MIT and pioneered in Ireland by Dr Deirdre Butler at St. Deirdre Butler at St. Patrick’s College.

Speaking after the results were announced, Kate O’Connell said: “I am delighted to be taking home third prize in Hong Kong. It’s been an absolutely wonderful week. After spending 5 days here with teachers from all over the world it really opens your eye to the magnificient project teachers around the world are implementing in the class room. I am looking forward to coming back and competing next year.”

Dr. Kevin Marshall, Academic Programme Manager, Microsoft Ireland, said: “It is an inspiration to see teachers from 64 countries around the world collaborate together and show how they are using technology in innovative ways to change the way their students learn. Kate’s entry was one of 100,000 entries and I am delighted that her achievements have been recognized.”

Now in its fourth year, the Worldwide ITF rewards outstanding teachers who practice exceptional 21st century learning and incorporate the creative use of technology in their classrooms.  Teachers Forum is the belief that teachers from all over the world are transforming education and using innovative learning methods to empower their students and prepare them for the 21st century.”

Here’s a video of Tom Fitzsimmons and Ciaran McLaren from Crumlin Integrated College explaining the project.

More information about the Innovative Teachers Forum is available at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/events/wwteachersforum.