5,000 kids to start school year using Wriggle’s tablet-based digital curriculum

28 Aug 2013

Guess who? Students from St Joseph's Secondary School in Rush, Co Dublin, at The Helix at Dublin City University (DCU) earlier this week as they tested their iPads as part of Irish firm Wriggle's 'digital schoolbag' drive

Some of us may recall our school days as having to lug around monstrous schoolbags packed to the brim with heavy books and lunchboxes. Not to mention having to carry musical instruments and sports gear. Now, one Irish company called Wriggle is on a mission to lighten the load for second-level students – by helping them migrate to a digital curriculum using tablets, generally iPads.

Wriggle is a subsidiary of Irish IT managed services company Typetec.

Led by Beryl Furlong, director of education at Wriggle, the Typetec digital-learning arm is aiming to capitalise on the digital age, especially in the realm of digital education.

There’s no wriggling out of this curriculum

Last year, Wriggle introduced its digital learning portfolio to 25 schools on the island of Ireland. The company has come up with a system called 1:1 mobile learning. This means that teachers who work in schools that opt for Wriggle’s digital learning programme get upskilled on how to teach students via the digital curriculum, generally using iPads. Schools, however, can opt to go for other tablets, and Wriggle will work with them.

Parents or guardians of students purchase a tablet for their child/children when such such schools get involved with Wriggle.

While this is up to the discretion of the school, some post-primary/secondary schools that have migrated to the Wriggle programme have reportedly liaised with families so that they can come up with an agreement with their local credit union in order to give families the option of paying for such tablets in instalments.

Otherwise, the school may decree that a family will have to pay upfront for a tablet. Generally, however, Furlong said the school community will be quite flexible and will work with parents /guardians. She said that often kids are buying tablets for their own use, anyway.

Beryl Furlong, director, Wriggle

Beryl Furlong, director of education, Wriggle. She said Apple iPads appear to be the device of choice for many schools opting for the Wriggle digital curriculum

Now, Wriggle has just announced it has doubled its roll out to schools since launching its ‘digital schoolbag’ programme in 2012.

Furlong said 25 schools started with Wriggle last September.

She said that each of these schools will continue Wriggle’s mobile learning programme with their incoming first years for the forthcoming academic year.

As well as this, an additional 25 schools are about to use the Wriggle digital education platform and introduce 1:1 mobile learning into their classrooms.

This means that up to 5,000 students on the island will now use mobile devices and digital books in place of traditional textbooks, via the Wriggle programme.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic