ICT infrastructure grants for primary and post-primary schools - Jan 2017

Digital Strategy for Schools 2015-2020

In Jan 2017 the Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton T.D., announced an investment of €30Million in ICT infrastructure grants for primary and post-primary schools.

 

In January 2017 the Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton T.D., announced an investment of €30Million in ICT infrastructure grants for primary and post-primary schools. The investment  marked the start of the implementation of the government’s €210 Million Digital Strategy for Schools. The funding will support the development and implementation of a more fit for purpose level of ICT infrastructure in schools to support teaching and learning.

ICT Grants for Schools - Jan 2017.pdf (size 431 KB)

The link to the circular is:  www.education.ie/en/Circulars-and-Forms/Active-Circulars/cl0001_2017.pdf
The link to the Press Release is www.education.ie/en/Press-Events/Press-Releases/2017-Press-Releases/PR2017-03-01.html

Planning for the implementation of the Digital Strategy in schools
The Digital Strategy for Schools (2015-2020) highlights the vision for ICT integration in Irish schools ‘to realise the potential of digital technologies to enhance teaching, learning and assessment so that Ireland’s young people become engaged thinkers, active learners, knowledge constructors and global citizens to participate fully in society and the economy’. It also highlights the role of ICT infrastructure in supporting teaching, learning and assessment practices in schools over the next five years:

  • Every school is unique and as such needs to consider its own specific situation, including objectives and priorities.
  • Schools should first review their current teaching, learning and assessment objectives.
  • The eLearning plan should consider how the school can strategically use the funding, over the 5 years in a phased and coherent approach to incrementally improve learning outcomes for students.
  • Having considered the longer term objectives over 5 years, they should then consider the first stage of implementing their eLearning plan for ‘year one’.

The following ‘school self-evaluation’ type questions should assist schools in the process:

  1. What is our current vision for teaching, learning and assessment in the school?
  2. In what areas are we achieving this vision?
  3. In what areas can we improve over the next 5 years
  4. What technologies (i.e., ICT equipment and ICT Infrastructure) can support the school in improving these learning objectives?
  5. What fit for purpose technologies will best fit our school and our staff?
  6. Can we integrate both our ‘learning’ and ‘technology’ objectives into a coherent 5 year eLearning plan?
  7. Can we break down this longer term 5 year eLearning plan into more manageable yearly priorities and phases
  8. What are the initial ‘year 1’ priorities and stages?
  9. How do we proceed in implementing ‘year 1’ priorities
  10. What ICT related advice and supports are available to assist schools?

Some examples of the ICT equipment and Infrastructure that schools can purchase with this funding are:

  • Computers including desktop PCs, laptops, tablets or hybrid devices
  • Projectors and interactive flat screens (IFS)
  • Networking equipment (e.g. fixed and wireless networking, and including cabling, switches and installation)
  • Cloud based tools including learning platforms
  • Local software or 'apps' to support learning
  • Other ICT Equipment: This can include relevant and fit for purpose ICT elements to be used to support teaching, learning and assessment. An indicative (though not exhaustive) list includes audio visual equipment such as still and video cameras, speakers, interactive presentation technologies, visualisers, and equipment including mobile laptop/tablet trollies, printers and a school server. Advice and support for schools is available from the PDST Technology in Education website: www.pdsttechnologyineducation.ie/technology