Typetec develops digital schoolbag


IT SERVICES firm Typetec is developing a new brand to represent its educational division, as part of a €500,000 investment.

The establishment of Wriggle will create 25 jobs at the Dublin-based firm over the next 12 to 18 months.

The division is working with 21 second-level schools as it pushes the “digital schoolbag”, ditching printed textbooks and heavy schoolbags in favour of mobile devices with digital editions of the curriculum.

The company is set to unveil the biggest deployment to date of the digital schoolbag early next week at Malahide Community School, where more than 200 first year students will get the new technology.

Chairman of Typetec Tom Close said the firm was looking at enabling schools to transform how they teach at both primary and secondary level.

The division is responsible for training teachers in the use of the system, and will also provide access to digital textbooks, interactive content and support for schools.

“Prior to the letting the technology near the classroom, we train the teacher so the teacher is conversant in what the iPad can do,” said Mr Close.

“We have a team of school educators who give all the training required to get to grips with the device. It’s the ownership that’s necessary for the iPad to really be adapted into the learning process. It’s when the teachers themselves get to grips with that it really come into its own.”

Traditional education publishers are working with Wriggle on the project. Schoolbooks are given to students on a licensed basis for three years, which prevents them being swapped free of charge among students indefinitely.

However, there is also a degree of flexibility for students, with one-year licences available to students who are unsure about what subjects they may continue with for the Junior Certificate.

Typetec employees more than 40 people at its Dublin headquarters, with additional staff around the country.

The additional headcount of 25 for Wriggle is a conservative estimate, Mr Close said, with the company hoping to create more than that as it grows.

Plans include an expansion into the UK, as well as the extension of the programme into Irish schools.

Mr Close said the company is hoping to get the programme into a pilot scheme for primary schools in 2013, aimed at pupils from fourth class and upwards.

“Children can learn to use an iPad or a device like that quicker than tying their shoelaces,” said Mr Close.