Public consultation opens on use of technology in schools

Consultation will feed into the development of an ICT strategy for schools

department of education

department of education

Tue, Dec 3, 2013, 17:07

The introduction of computer technology had brought Irish education to “a turning point in teaching and learning”, the Minister for Education said at the launch of a public consultation on use of technology in schools.

ICT (information and computer technology) is not another subject, it is another set of tools,” Mr Ruairí Quinn said yesterday. But while its potential was huge it was important to question what benefits we expected to see coming from use of technology in education.

The consultation is aimed in particular at schools, parents, industry and academics. It will feed into the development of a national strategy for use of ICT in classrooms, a document which Mr Quinn said would be ready by summer 2014.

This public outreach complements online surveys of school principals and teachers earlier this year. Meetings with focus groups will follow next year and all of these findings and results from the public consultation will inform the new ICT strategy, the department said.

A strategy was needed that would not become redundant as new technologies emerged, Mr Quinn said. There was a temptation to be obsessed by the hardware but the real goal of the strategy was how do you change the entire way that knowledge is explored and conveyed and communicated with the help of new technology.

The last strategy was published in 2008 but since then there had been a rapid change in the availability of advanced hardware at a lower cost, he said. The technology offered a real opportunity to contribute to education.

“We have to deal with this and what are we doing about it,” said Dr Deirdre Butler of St Patrick’s College, Drumcondra. We needed an education system that prepared children for a technological future, she said.

Submissions under the public consultation must reach the department by 31 January, 2014 and those seeking to contribute can do so on line at education.gov.ie