Today the Irish government gave its biggest commitment to ICT in education by announcing a 5 year digital technology strategy for schools. Education Minister Jan O’Sullivan announced that the
government plans to invest €210m in digital technology in schools, the largest ever investment of its kind. The announcement took place at Mercy Secondary School in Inchicore, a school which has a strong partnership with Camara and has already successfully introduced technology into the school curriculum.
Speaking at the launch Minister O’Sullivan said “Giving our students the opportunity to develop 21st century skills is a priority. Technology is embedded in all aspects of our lives, and is bringing our society new advantages and solutions every day. This five year strategy will achieve our goal of allowing all students to develop 21st century skills. The strategy is backed by the most substantial funding ever made available in this area to make that goal a reality. The strategy is a comprehensive and coherent roadmap to prepare schools, teachers and students to take advantage of the vital role that technology will play in the years and decades ahead.”
The strategy has been developed around four key themes identified from the ICT Census in Schools:
Theme 1:Teaching Learning and Assessment using ICT
Theme 2: Teacher Professional Learning
Theme 3: Leadership, Research and Policy
Theme 4: ICT Infrastructure
Strong research was used to back this new strategy and the positive impact technology can have on students in the classroom. Taoiseach Enda Kenny spoke to the students of Mercy Secondary School via video and claimed, “We will rely on students like you to build the future.” This is especially welcome news in the sector after the negative press that was generated from the inconsistent findings in the recent OECD report, which condemned the impact of technology in schools.
The work Camara has been doing was also a large contributor to this strategy with Minister O’Sullivan commenting “This is a strategy based on evidence about what works.” John Fitzsimons, CEO of Camara Education was delighted with the announcement of the 5 year strategy having long campaigned for Irish Schools to embrace technology in the classroom, “We know it’s not enough to just place computers in schools and to expect results. A large part of what we do is training, upskilling teachers to have the confidence to use technology in the classroom. It’s not just about technology, it’s about how to use that technology in education.”
Technology can give students access to a whole new world of knowledge and information. Students shouldn’t be limited to a textbook that was printed two years ago, and maybe designed ten years ago, when the world’s best and most up to date information can only be a finger click away with the introduction of technology in classrooms. This new strategy will ensure Irish schools can offer the best in a first class education system to its students and Camara is committed to ensuring that this strategy and actions are achieved.