Out of the blue, a few days ago, the NCCA released an online planning toolkit. It is an interactive web site that aims to help teachers plan their curriculum subjects using an online interface. I decided to delve a little bit into it to see what it has to offer.
On first glance, the web site fits in with the general look of the NCCA’s main web site. It is designed by Digilogue, the people behind loads of Irish education web sites. They have a proven track record in designing and building the few interesting homegrown educational web sites including the INTO, the IPPN and several Education Centres. They have also created a number of tools such as Scoil.net and the Irish TeacherTube.
The interface seems simple enough. Pick your class, pick your subject, pick your strand, pick your strand unit then pick your curriculum objective. Below is an example of a History objective I chose.
If you don’t know where to find a curriculum objective the site even has an excellent search tool. I did my usual search for the keyword “long division” and the 5th/6th class learning objective instantly appeared on my screen upon clicking search.
Once I’ve picked one or more of my short term plans I can add them to my plan by simply clicking the button – “Add to Plan”.
The next stage is developing my said plan. In this case I decided to create a short term plan so I clicked on the button, “Short-term Plan”. A box popped up asking me for templates to be included.
Once happy with these selections, I clicked on the submit button and a Word Document was downloaded to my computer for me to fill in the rest. I actually don’t own Microsoft Word and right now, it didn’t open successfully in OpenOffice, however I can see that, when this is ironed out, that this will be an excellent template for planning.
If I were to suggest an addition to the template of the short-term planning, it would be an option to add a tickable column for people who wish to double-up their plans as Cúntas Míosúils so that when they cover their learning activities, they can simply tick that they are covered. Apart from that, I was highly impressed the depth that was covered, including a template for reflecting or evaluating lessons.
The NCCA Planning Toolkit looks to me like an excellent resource for all teachers. For something that’s only a few days old, it is hugely extensive and has very few flaws to iron out. At the last IPPN conference, I noticed a small number of companies offering planning toolkits to the Irish market and I would imagine they may be a little apprehensive with the release of this free tool. It’s not everyday one finds an Irish-made web site to add to the list of essential web sites for teachers. The good news is today is one of those days!
The NCCA Planning toolkit can be found at: http://www.nccaplanning.com