St Pius pick up prestigious award

Picture: Michael Cooper
Picture: Michael Cooper

ST Pius X College was recently recognised with the prestigious People’s Choice Award in the Impact 2012 Youth, Sustainability and Environmental Awards.

The awards are hosted annually by Department of the Environment and Office of First Minister and deputy First Minister. This year’s ceremony was in the Waterfront Hall, Belfast and was hosted by Frank Mitchell.

The entry ‘Carbon Footprint Online’, designed by Mr Gerard Duffy, (e-learning co-ordinator), was named as the overall winner for the People’s Choice Award.

This e-learning success developed environmental links with primary schools using virtual learning environment technologies and video conferencing with schools in Texas, USA.

The project ran over two years and included collaboration with pupils from Holy Family PS, Spires Integrated PS, Annahorish PS, St Mary’s PS, Bellaghy, Moneynick PS and St Patrick’s PS, Loup. Non-teaching staff and St. Pius X College pupils acted as mentors for participating pupils.

Real-time video conferencing with Cigarroa Middle School, Texas provided an interactive and dynamic aspect to the course.

Learning opportunities were provided to learners on the theme of carbon footprint and the impact of our environmental habits on planet earth.

Pupils were encouraged to use ICT as a driving force to communicate their environmental message to a wider audience. LearningNI, the shared virtual learning environment, was used to host key Web 2.0 technologies including resources, discussions, wikis, blogs and video conferencing.

The course focussed on the development of ICT activities in after-school intergenerational classes, with feeder primary schools, teaching assistants, parents, grandparents, St Pius X College pupils acting as mentors, and regular international video conferencing with Cigarroa Middle School, Texas.

A sincere word of thanks is extended to everyone that supported this e-learning initiative. The course has greatly benefited all learners across the St. Pius X College learning community.

Mr O’Reilly, (DOE), who took the opportunity to meet with some of the young people displaying their projects, praised their enthusiasm, innovation and knowledge. He later closed the awards ceremony and presented the People’s Choice Award, which was chosen entirely by public votes, to St Pius X College.

He said: “My Department is keen to reward these young people who have made such a valuable contribution to our society, economy and environment. We hope that with the public voting for their favourite project many others will be encouraged to get involved in projects in their own communities, schools and workplaces that will benefit our environment and help us all to live more sustainably.”