Irish Schools have met many challenges over the last number of years. Just when we are exiting the crisis caused by Covid another fresh challenge has presented itself with the large influx of children from the Ukraine as a result of the current war there. By the middle of May 2022 over 6000 children from the Ukraine have been enrolled into Irish schools with that number set to rise steadily over the next number of weeks. While schools have warmly welcomed these children to their classrooms, integrating Ukranian learners into mainstream education, dealing with the huge language barriers and supporting them educationally has presented primary and secondary schools with many challenges. To assist schools, Irish tech entrepreneur Brendan Morrissey from Kilkenny, has developed a free, virtual, web-based classroom to assist Ukrainian children who are entering Irish schools. Morrissey has previously developed a similar app and network for children with dyslexia and ADHD that is used by thousands of users around the world through the eSchools app.
This free online educational tool aims to help Ukrainian children without English to settle into Irish schools and assist schools to support children as they adapt to schooling in a different country. This virtual school app allows students to work in their own language then convert it to English or Irish for teachers. Teachers can do the same to allow them to communicate easily with the pupils.
Mr Morrissey owns an educational company called eSchools, which has been in operation in the UK for 13 years across 1,100 schools. With his experience in the field, he had already worked with language learning apps and decided to re-formulate some of his previous work to form Ukraine School after the war broke out.
The students are assigned their own secure class on the network alongside their teachers, who are then able to share project resources with the children and also assign homework or class-based assignments. Children also have access to class discussion and chat features through the app.
“Language seems to be the biggest barrier. Here in Ireland children are entering schools with no English. Ukraine School means a child can work in their own language” said Morrissey.
“We then assist by managing their homework, activities, calendar, blogs, projects and class discussions. It allows them to connect with other Ukrainian students to start building their own safe community,” added Morrissey.
“It’s wonderful to see Ukrainian people on the platform and using it daily.” he said. “It’s hard to comprehend what’s happened to them in the past few months.”
If your school has an intake of Ukrainian refugees you can sign up via the link on the Ukraine School Website. eSchools will then create your user accounts and send you details on how you and your students can access the platform.