Intel launches eSchools plan to boost wireless in classrooms

25 Mar 2011

Straffan National School in Kildare is to be the first school in Ireland to benefit from Intel’s eSchools programme, which aims to enable primary schools to embrace the use of wireless technology in the classroom.

Each year, Intel donates a classroom technology package to a chosen school, which includes 30 new laptops, a dedicated teacher laptop, an LCD projector and a portable trolley unit to allow the kit to be moved between classrooms.

Students and teachers can then use the wirelessly enabled laptops to access the internet from anywhere in the school, allowing them to incorporate technology into the teaching and learning process.

This year for the first time, eSchools was linked to Intel’s Mini Scientist initiative for primary schools as those who entered the science program have the opportunity to apply for the eSchools competition.

There was a fantastic response to both the Mini Scientist program, which had more than 2,600 participants in 2010, and to the eSchools initiative, which had a large number of applicants.

After a difficult judging process, Straffan National School was chosen as one of two winning schools and it unveiled its technology package this week at a special ceremony hosted in the school.

The event was opened by school principal Fiona Toolan, who praised Intel for this exciting initiative and spoke about how the children at the school were already benefiting from the introduction of the laptops, which have been in place since the beginning of the year.

The launch was also attended by Sean Ashe, CEO of Kildare VEC, who stressed the importance of transforming how students learn in order to drive Ireland’s future economy.

He also spoke about the fantastic progress Straffan National School has made to date with implementing ICT solutions at the school and how the eSchools package will be an important addition to this.

Intel’s €25m investment in Irish education

Last week, St Fintina’s VEC secondary school in Longwood, Co Meath, become the first Irish school to equip all its first-year students with laptops with e-books installed as part of an initiative pioneered by Intel, Steljes and The Education Company of Ireland (Edco).

Intel’s director of Corporate Affairs, Brendan Cannon (pictured), was also in attendance and noted the importance of technology for education.

“New technologies will continue to change the world in ways we cannot even imagine yet. Equipping schools with comprehensive ICT solutions is an important element in driving transformation in our education system that will ensure that our young people are equipped with 21st-century skills.”

He went on to praise the teachers and students of Straffan National School for their commitment to both science and technology. He also introduced the school to two Intel employees, David Fleming and John Kennedy, who will act as dedicated technology mentors for the school going forward.

Intel has been involved in education since the company first came to Ireland in 1989 and in that time has spent more than €25m in driving programs which support transformation in curriculum, infrastructure and teacher development.

Two complete technology packages were awarded as part of the 2010 Intel eSchools Scheme, the second of which will be launched at Christ the King Girls School, Cabra, in the coming weeks.

Intel launches eSchools plan to boost wireless in classrooms

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years