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O’Dowd invests £7million in technology for schools

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As the new academic year begins Education Minister John O’Dowd has announced an investment of £7million, in new technology for teachers, school librarians and pupils.

The investment has bought 15,400 portable devices for teachers and new Library software for pupils.

The Minister said: “Technology dominates our lives through the use of mobile phones and tablets; shopping online; social media; watching TV and movies.

Therefore it makes sense for the school environment to keep up with technological revolution as well. This investment in portable devices for teachers will enhance the teaching and educational experience for pupils and teachers.

“As well as that, I am also pleased to invest in the school library system. The installation of the Junior Librarian and Eclipse Library software across all schools is a welcome development which will no doubt add to the library experience and support and encourage reading within the curriculum.”

Ed Brown, managing director, Capita added: “We are delighted with the successful deployment and integration of the devices and software across schools in NI as part of our Education Network Northern Ireland contract.”

Welcoming the investment at Coláiste Feirste in Belfast, Senior Teacher Wayne Pickering said: “The new portable devices have been of excellent benefit to our school. Teachers are making great use of these with the added benefit of touchscreen. Another plus side for us is that since they are portable, staff are using them inside and outside of the classroom, using them as laptop and tablet. Excellent benefit to us – we just wish we had even more of them.”

Also welcoming the new technology, Mr Alan Reavie, Senior Teacher at Lurgan College said: “We were delighted to receive our allocation of laptops and multifunction devices, as it has addressed the problem of ageing hardware at a time of budgetary constraint. However, the benefit is much more than just financial; the mobility of the devices has added a new dimension to the use of ICT in teaching and learning as the devices can be used more unobtrusively in classroom activities. In particular the multi function devices enable such seamless integration with the C2k system that we have purchased additional devices for all our staff. To be able to move around the room and around the school with a tablet which connects to C2k is a very positive development.”

Welcoming the new library software Aimee Walker, Library Assistant at Victoria Primary School in Belfast said: “Our pupils love the Junior Librarian system. It is both interactive and engaging and it has made the management of the library a much more enjoyable experience for our staff.”

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