Parents, teachers, students, industry and academics are being asked for their views on how best to make use of computers and technology in the classroom.
The Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairí Quinn T.D., launched the public consultation phase of the development of a new Digital Strategy for Schools today.
The public consultations phase will feed into the development of a new strategy on the use of ICT in teaching and learning in primary and post primary schools. This follows on from a comprehensive online survey of principals and teachers which took place earlier in the year. The findings from the survey, the public consultation process and focus groups to be held next year will together inform the new strategy.
Minister Quinn said, “The potential for using technology in the classroom is huge – but we need to be asking ourselves important policy questions like what is the actual benefit we expect from using technology in schools and how do we measure progress? How can we further embed ICT seamlessly across all curricula?”
“In this consultation phase, we are particularly interested in hearing from schools, parents, industry and academics on how we can genuinely use technology to improve teaching and learning in our classrooms – but also bearing in mind the challenging financial environment that many families and schools are facing.”
“We already have some excellent examples of schools who are using technology to innovate in the classroom. Our challenge now is to ensure that every child in every school has the same opportunities to engage with technology across all aspects of the curriculum,” he concluded.
A key aspect to supporting the use of technology is broadband in schools. This includes the introduction of 100 Mbps broadband to all post primary schools and investment in broadband for primary schools to ensure continued improvements in connections available to schools.
The new Digital Strategy for Schools will be completed during 2014, and will set out how resources, policies and projects can be prioritised and organised throughout the school system for the next five years.
At the launch of the public consultation, principals spoke of their experience of using ICT in their schools. Dr. Deirdre Butler of St. Patrick’s College, Drumcondra, outlined the potential of ICT to support teaching and learning in schools taking account of recent curriculum changes and the international experience. The views of the students were also heard.
The closing dates for submissions is 31st January 2014. Submissions can be made via www.education.gov.ie.