Mullingar Community College Pioneers AI Technology in the Classroom: A National First

Mullingar Community College, a post-primary school under the administration of Longford and Westmeath Education and Training Board (LWETB) is proud to announce that in early 2024, they will become the first school in the country to pilot the innovative Merlyn Mind, Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology in its classrooms. This ground-breaking initiative is set to revolutionise the way students learn and educators teach, providing an advanced and personalised educational experience.

Mullingar Community College has always been at the forefront of embracing cutting-edge educational innovations to enhance the learning process for their school community. Just last March, the ground-breaking work of a group of their staff was acknowledged nationally, when they were awarded the overall ‘Excellence in Education’ prize at the inaugural ETBI Awards in Croke Park.

Now with the scheduled introduction of Merlyn Mind’s AI technology, Mullingar Community College aims to further elevate the quality of education and set a new standard for modern learning environments nationwide.

At the push of a button, Merlyn’s generative AI creates lesson plans, grading rubrics, professional communication, assessments, and differentiated learning experiences.

Merlyn is the only AI solution offering safe and secure voice control of classroom technology. With Merlyn, Mullingar Community College teachers will be able to operate their computer, front-of-class display and internet applications from anywhere in the room via their voice or remote control. Thus, freeing up the teacher to be among their students.

Through this pioneering AI technology, teachers can use their voice to control Merlyn’s AI chat experience, which means that during active instruction, teachers and students can tap into the power of generative AI to reward curiosity and foster higher-order thinking.

The opportunity to become the first Irish school and one of the first in Europe to pilot this technology, presented itself through a connection made by MCC teacher Joe Rayfus, whilst he was a panellist at the recent Learnovation 2024 Summit at the Aviva Stadium.

Joe Rayfus, assistant principal and HSCL co-ordinator at Mullingar Community College said, “The theme for this year’s Learnovation Summit was ‘Learner Disruption & Technology Evolution’, I was invited to attend as a formal education panellist to discuss the role of technology in the classroom. It was at the summit that I connected with Jason Mayland, who had flown in from the USA to attend the event. Jason is the vice -president of Merlyn Mind and when he explained how his technology works, I immediately saw the potential for its application in the Irish Classroom. One-week later, Jason and his colleague, Ian Nairn, flew back to Ireland to deliver a special presentation and demonstration of the Merlyn Mind AI to our staff.

Seamus Mohan, Principal of Mullingar Community College, expressed enthusiasm about this new endeavour, saying, “We believe that technology can be a powerful tool to support both teachers and students in their educational journey. Merlyn Minds technology will help us offer a more personalized and adaptive learning experience, which is essential in today’s rapidly evolving world. Mullingar Community College will be closely collaborating with US based AI experts – Merlyn Mind throughout the pilot program, to fine-tune the technology and ensure it aligns with the school’s educational goals.

Liz Lavery, Chief Executive of LWETB, is delighted to welcome this new initiative that will enhance the delivery of education programmes in an already highly innovative school. Ms. Lavery stated that it will be a wonderful tool to support teachers and students in the future.

About Mullingar Community College:

Mullingar Community College is a co-educational post-primary school in Mullingar, Co. Westmeath. Mullingar Community College part of Longford and Westmeath Education and Training Board. Earlier this year, Mullingar Community College was awarded the overall Excellence in Education Award at the inaugural ETBI Awards. With a strong commitment to innovation, Mullingar Community College has consistently embraced new technologies to enhance the learning experience and prepare students for success in the modern world.