GMIT rolls out new video conferencing service between secondary schools and GMIT

GMIT has launched a new online talks service linking GMIT campuses and secondary schools across the country using the latest hi-definition video conferencing systems and an online learning software tool.

GMIT is one of the first institutes of technology to roll out this new service, which enables the institute to communicate directly and more frequently in real time with secondary school students and their teachers, exchanging information about GMIT programmes, CAO options, student life, innovation on campus, career paths, and a range of discipline talks and school projects.

The new service uses Adobe Connect, Vidyo, and BigBlueButton for video conferencing between the schools and GMIT. Vidyo is similar to Skype but is in hi-definition and more reliable. It allows users to record and re-play as well as zoom in and out. Documents and presentations can also be viewed on screen during the course of the VC talks.

“The secondary schools are very excited about this new service, in particular guidance counsellors and principals,” said GMIT schools liaison officer Dr Carina Ginty. “This is a whole new classroom experience for secondary school pupils. The service enables GMIT to collaborate live online with schools across Ireland or internationally. We provide talks on all the learning pathways available in GMIT’s five campuses and exchange ideas on business, science, technology, engineering, and tourism.

“Going live into the classroom enables GMIT to reach a much wider audience and allows us put a panel of experts together onsite that may include lecturers from different disciplines and students and industry partners.”

According to GMIT’s IT project co-ordinator Pat Heffernan, organisations as diverse as CERN (Europe’s leading research organisation ) and Concern have been using Vidyo to communicate to their stakeholders and staff.

“It’s an excellent cutting edge IT resource that saves on time, travel, and expense, and enhances internal and external communications,” he said. “Secondary schools not only benefit from the new service, as it is also being used by management and staff in GMIT for group and one-to-one meetings between the institute’s five campuses in Galway and Mayo.”

GMIT’s computing services department and the schools liaison office sponsored Vidyo licences and equipment such as high definition webcams and Jabra speakerphones (and software ) to some 12 feeder schools in locations

in counties Galway, Mayo, Roscommon, and Donegal.

The schools issued with licences to use the HD technology are Calasanctius College, Oranmore; St Enda’s School, Threadneedle Road, Galway city; Glenamaddy Community School, Glenamaddy; Gairmscoil Mhuire, Athenry; Dunmore Community School, Dunmore; CBS, Roscommon; Ballyhaunis Community School, Co Mayo; St Catherine’s Donegal; St Joseph’s Secondary School, Foxford, Co Mayo; Avondale Community College, Co Wicklow; HRC, Mountbellew, Co Galway; Carrick Vocational School, Co Donegal; Abbey Vocational School, Co Donegal; and Errigal College, Co Donegal.

“The opportunity to interact with engineers online when completing a recent GMIT CANSAT schools project gave our students an insight into advanced communications used in the world of business and engineering,” said David O'Sullivan, guidance counsellor, Coláiste Enda, Galway. “Initially reticent, we slowly observed the students becoming more confident with the technology, enabling them to ask real time questions, share ideas, and get feedback from GMIT staff and students live online. All of this enhanced their problem solving abilities."

The ICT systems have been funded by the GMIT computing services and IT department and the schools liaison office through HEA Strategic Innovation Funding to promote access to higher education.

To register for GMIT online schools talk service contact the GMIT schools liaison office at [email protected].

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