NI educational bodies produce e-learning tool for Olympics and Paralympics
An online learning course has been launched at the Jordanstown campus of the University of Ulster and should help teachers engage their pupils with the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
It is entitled Aspire, Aim and Achieve and is targeted at children between the ages of seven and 14.
The e-learning product provides educators with the ability to engage in video-conferences with elite athletes, sporting athletes and schools, promoting networking between peers and allowing children to work alongside each other in a cross-community manner.
It features a range of educational and interesting activities that can take place in classrooms and in gym lessons, as well as video material based on the Olympics.
Funding for this development came from Northern Ireland's (NI) Department of Education and the online learning environment was created through collaboration with Sports NI, the Sports Institute, the Council for the Curriculum Examinations and Assessment, C2k and Every School a Good School.
NI education minister John O'Dowd called it an "inspirational e-learning tool".
He argued it could help young people to become involved in activities that will increase their understanding of the world and encourage them to have a healthy lifestyle.
"The virtual learning environment provides a novel and engaging way for pupils to connect with subjects including history, geography, art and citizenship," the minister continued.
Mr O'Dowd urged teachers to take advantage of Aspire, Aim and Achieve and to make use of the opportunities it presents, before commending the organisations that worked alongside his ministerial department to produce the e-learning course.
Sports minister Caral Ni Chuilin said the online learning platform will be an "excellent legacy of the Games for local schools", pointing out they will be able to use it after the event.
It will help students to understand different cultures and countries and explore the relationship between art and sports, he added.
The Olympic Games take place between July 27th and August 12th, while the Paralympics occur from August 29th to September 9th.