2009 Where now for ICT in Education?

A recent posting to the DICTaT mailing list concerning an ICT grant for 72 Primary Schools hasn’t really generated any great debate. Perhaps it’s because most contributors are only settling back into school and haven’t had time to reflect on this posting! However I wonder is it part of a growing sense of despair or possibly even disinterest among teachers about ICT in Education!
There are champions for the cause of ICT in Education throughout Irish schools and there are creative ICT projects and activities to be found in many schools. For example Tommy Maher, Principal of Scoil Naomh Fiachra, Co. Kilkenny won an Innovative Teacher Award at the Microsoft Worldwide Innovative Teachers Forum (ITF) 2007 in Helsinki, Finland with his project, Don Quixote: Impossible Dreamers. In more recent times Kate O’Connell, Scoil Mhuire, Kilvemnon came third in the ‘Innovation in Content’ category at Microsoft’s 2008 Worldwide Innovative Teachers Forum (ITF) in Hong Kong. Kate’s project, “Flying High: Exploring Aviation”, used technology and digital learning to encourage primary school children to build airplanes.

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These champions are in the minority and from my own professional experience while on secondment and now back in school, the amount of ICT related activities in evidence in classrooms is at a low level. Not only in terms of frequency but also in terms of content!
The ICT grant that has been made available to 72 schools will provide funds to purchase computer hardware and associated digital equipment. I hope there are ICT champions in these schools and that the equipment will be used to integrate ICT into the daily teaching and learning. The thoughts of Interactive Whiteboards and other ICT equipment lying idle through lack of interest while teachers who use ICT to enrich their daily teaching struggle with outdated PC’s and lack of funding is hard to take!

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