Fund to encourage schools to pilot new technology in classroom

Minister says €1 million fund to target innovative projects aimed at boosting learning

Minister for Education Richard Bruton said children were naturally curious, adaptable and inquisitive and could benefit from the scheme.

Minister for Education Richard Bruton said children were naturally curious, adaptable and inquisitive and could benefit from the scheme.

 

Schools are being invited to apply for funding to launch innovative projects in teaching and learning using digital technology.

The school excellence fund, to be announced by Minister for Education Richard Bruton on Friday, will provide average grants of about €30,000 for software, hardware and training up staff.

In all, about €1 million is being made available as part of this element of the digital excellence fund.

Successful programmes will involve the use of technology to help embed new subjects – such as politics or physical education at second level – or enhance students’ literacy and numeracy.

Other potential categories may include using technology to collaborate with higher education institutions or industry, or to develop new forms of assessments.

All schools – at primary and second level – are being invited to apply individually or as part of clusters of schools for funding.

They will receive grants to upgrade technology and provide paid substitution cover for training or networking events.

Where there are clusters of schools, the co-ordinator will receive up to two hours per week paid substitution cover for work on the project.

Transformative change

Mr Bruton said technology could allow schools to collaborate and work together in exciting ways.

“Truly transformative change does not come from the centre but from the ground up, schools and teachers working together and sharing good practice,” he said.

He added that children were naturally curious, adaptable and inquisitive and could benefit from the scheme.

“Digital technology can create an environment that nurtures, values and stretches these attributes. They are all also competencies that our children will need to develop to thrive in the future,” he said.

Clusters can be made up of between four and six schools, although the Department will consider larger clusters depending on the project.

They can be made up of just primary schools, just post-primary schools or a mix of both. Each cluster will be expected to work on their project over the course of three years.

These groups of schools will be expected to report on the impact of their projects on the participating schools and consider how the learning can be spread to all schools.

Information on how to apply is available at the Department of Education’s website (www.education.ie).