With the 2013/2014 school year end fast approaching, primary schools across Ireland are being encouraged to sign up for a programme that funds schools to integrate technology into the classroom.
Starting at the beginning of the school year last September, the programme, which receives funding from the likes of HP and Microsoft, has seen 655 primary schools sign up across the country.
Twenty schools have already been fully validated through the programme, with the remaining schools at various stages of the validation process which, according to the Government, is proceeding well.
Now however, with 19 school weeks left this year, any remaining schools who have yet to sign up for the programme will not be able to avail of financial support or advice that comes with signing up to the programme.
HP Ireland and Microsoft Ireland are providing support to the programme for five years, including a financial commitment of €300,000 in the first year, as well as the provision of practical support and resources.
Achieving digital status
Schools who register and who are successfully validated through the programme are awarded Digital Schools of Distinction status by the Department of Education.
A dedicated resource is provided to help schools go through the registration and validation process, including an ICT helpline.
The validation process has already highlighted some innovative and collaborative approaches from schools and teachers regarding the integration of ICT in teaching and learning and the team behind the programme wishes to encourage this further for the benefits of current primary school students.
Ireland's Minister for Education and Skills Ruairí Quinn, TD, said: “The effective use of ICT for teaching and learning in our schools is a key policy objective of my department.
“It is central to the achievement of the key reforms outlined in the Literacy and Numeracy Strategy and I would encourage schools who have not yet signed up to do so, so that they can benefit from the support and expertise on offer.”
Digital school image via Shutterstock