Breaking: Government to bring high-speed broadband to all schools
Under a new digital strategy plan the Government is set to invest €200 million in schools over the next five years.
As part of this €200 million spending spree there are plans to bring high-speed broadband to all schools, as well as the wider use of digital devices in classrooms.
The funding will drive the five year Digital Strategy for Schools which Education Minister Jan O’Sullivan launched today at the Mercy Secondary School in Inchicore, Dublin. The publication of this Strategy represents the completion of another important Programme for Government commitment.
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 key points of the Digital Strategy are:
1. Dedicated multi-annual funding to schools to invest in technology.
2. Build on the successful roll-out of high-speed broadband to every second-level school by investing in high-speed wifi networks in every school.
3. Integration of digital skills in the curriculum and in assessment.
4. Develop opportunities for students to take an in-depth ICT course at Leaving Cert, as well as embedding digital skills within other subjects.
5. Promotion of the use of e-portfolios at primary and post-primary level.
6. Provide enhanced digital content to schools, including working with cultural institutions, sporting bodies and other to expand this range of resources.
7. Embed ICT skills as part of initial teacher education and ongoing training for teachers.
8. Work with stakeholders to promote safe and responsible use of the internet and social media, including providing new resources to schools to better prevent cyber-bullying.
The minister said: “I want to encourage all teachers to use technology in the classroom to bring learning to life for students; to give learners the tools to collaborate and to examine engaging problems; to research and analyse information; and to use digital resources to communicate their ideas and to share what they create with others beyond the walls of their classroom or school.”
The costly strategy is the result of extensive national and international research, which has involved extensive consultation and reflects the views of education stakeholders including those of students. It has been developed around four key themes: Teaching, Learning and Assessment using ICT, Teacher Professional Learning, Leadership, Research and Policy and ICT Infrastructure.
Of the spending plan, the Minister stated "We are at a turning point in the use of technology in teaching and learning. The technological landscape is unrecognisable from where we were even a decade ago. Digital technologies are now part of everyday life. We must equip our learners to be able to live and work in this rapidly changing world.”
Well, this is great news for our school-children, no? Share your thoughts with us by sending me an e-mail at Trine.Jensen@HerFamily.ie.