The first Irish school to embrace e-books

17 Mar 2011

A VEC secondary school in Longwood, Co Meath, has 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).

A new, innovative approach to delivering the school curriculum for Junior Certificate students has been adapted at St Fintina’s Post Primary School in Longwood, Co Meath. The school is the first in Ireland to equip all first-year students with a Fizzbook Spin tablet -style laptop, which each have a full range of Edco e-books installed upon them. 

Edco is leading the way in providing exciting digital content to schools in the form of e-books. The provision of this digital curriculum comes on the back of the development of the award-winning teacher platform, which is in use classrooms nationwide.

The e-books provide students with digital content for the Junior Certificate curriculum, covering the full range of subject areas.

“We have been working closely with developers, designers, teachers and pupils to roll out this new offering, and have been involved with a selection of pilot schemes throughout the country to classroom and technology test the new e-book offering, which is suitable for both school and home use,” said Julie Glennon from The Educational Company of Ireland, who is the content partner on the initiative.

Fizzbook Spin laptops for every first-year student

Steljes, the innovative technology distributor, is offering the Intel-based Fizzbook Spin with a full range of Edco e-books installed on the devices. The Fizzbook Spin is the first specifically-designed PC for the Irish education system.

“This solution provides an economic way for teachers and parents to provide a one-to-one e-learning environment for students,” explained Greg Tierney from Steljes.

“What we are offering here is a complete solution – a tablet-style laptop designed specifically for the education market coupled with classroom control for the teacher and online access to the Junior Certificate curriculum,” Tierney said.

Based on the Intel classmate PC design architecture, Fizzbook Spin offers a total classroom solution. Specifically designed for the education sector, it provides netbook, e-reader and touchscreen tablet functionality together with full PC capability, including word processing, spreadsheet and art software packages. It can be easily converted from a clamshell design to a tablet PC, allowing students to move effortlessly between activities and learning spaces.

The Fizzbook Spin also comes pre-installed with SMART Technologies’ SMART Classroom Suite – an integrated software solution comprising four software applications that support the key stages of teaching and learning, from lesson creation and delivery, to student assessment.

SMART Sync classroom management software enables a teacher to connect the computer quickly and easily to every other computer in the classroom so they can teach, monitor and collaborate with students.

This new digital learning solution is an eco-friendly initiative which allows students to move away from the traditional heavy weight school bag, towards a 21st-century learning tool that can be integrated as part of an entire e-learning environment, allowing students to access content digitally whenever and wherever they require it.

“Intel is committed to supporting education transformation – helping students and educators move from a content-based to a skills-based learning and teaching model, which will help learners acquire 21st-century skills, such as critical thinking, collaborative learning, design skills, innovation, communications and creativity. ICT is a key enabler of this strategy,” said Colin Mac Hale, Intel Ireland.

Photo below: Julie Glennon, sales and marketing manager, Educational Company of Ireland; Seamus Ryan, Meath VEC; and Colin Mac Hale, country manager, sales and marketing, Intel (right), with students of St Fintina’s Post Primary School Longwood, Co Meath

Ireland's first school to embrace e-books

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