Irish president urges students to connect online

By Laura Baker
Booth Memorial High School
St. John's, Newfoundland

 Students from Newfoundland and Ireland paired up over the Internet to work on an animation project and display the finished product during a visit from the Irish president to St. John's.

Students and teachers at Booth Memorial High School held an assembly on October 14 to mark the visit from President Mary MacAleese, the only school stop during her eleven-day trip to Canada.

The reason for the assembly was to "Continue The Connection". Two years ago, STELLAR Schools was launched in Newfoundland, a program which provides Internet use to students and teachers for curriculum purposes. Last year, Booth Memorial held a ceremony to launch STELLAR Schools in Ireland.

Irish and Canadian students participate
in the animation of a graphic
Clip 1 -Creating an Animation
This year marked a new milestone in Booth Memorial's technology advancements. Using a top- notch computer software program, students from Booth Memorial and students from Christian Brothers Secondary School in Tramore, County Waterford in Ireland put together an animated design that included the Canadian and Irish flags. This was done solely through the use of computers and the Internet.
The audience watched the video linkup in awe as Kandi Gray and Keith Maddocks, grade 12 students at Booth Memorial, displayed their half of the project. Then, David Dineen, a grade 12 student, and Tomas Breen, a grade 11 student of CBS in Tramore, took over the mouse and finished the rest of the design.

The president then proceeded to talk with the students, both those gathered in the school auditorium in St. John's and those on the computer screen in Tramore, Ireland. She was interested to know their views on the use of technology in terms of education and global unity.

When she asked the students in Tramore what the weather was like in Ireland, MacAleese pointed out that the people who organized the event in St. John's had even gone through the trouble of making her feel at home by having fog and rain. She then elaborated on the many similarities that Newfoundland and Ireland have, from dialect to culture to food.

Irish President Mary MacAleese talks with
students in Tramore, County Waterford
Clip 2 -Talking with Tramore

President MacAleese addresses the
Clip 3 -Addressing the students

After chatting with the students, the president made an address to the audience. She spoke about the importance of technology in education and how it could be used to renew and strengthen Newfoundland's ties to Ireland.

The ceremony at Booth Memorial was broadcast live on the World Wide Web and on Irish television. Overall, the ceremony was about multimedia and the future of students. Not only did it show how advanced a school Booth Memorial is, but also how important computers are in today's classrooms.


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