IPPN calls for greater use of technology in primary school classrooms

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23 January 2013 | 0

Technology should be used to improve teaching methods in primary school classrooms, according to the director of the Irish Primary Principals’ Network (IPPN), Seán Cottrell, at the annual summit of the Irish Technology Leadership Group (ITLG) in Cork yesterday.

Mr Cottrell told the ITLG panel, Education and Skills for Ireland’s Tech Industry – Closing the Gap, that the way to establish Ireland as a high-tech vanguard was to invest in digital pedagogy.

"The Government should set targets for the delivery of an IT-based curriculum where the teaching of each subject is mainly delivered by means of technology. It could start by committing to the teaching of a single subject through technology – science or maths, for example – from junior infants through to the Junior Certificate," said Cottrell.

IPPN has called for multi-annual budget for technology in primary school classrooms, an integrated technology-supported curriculum, and adequate professional development support for teachers in delivering digital pedagogy.

 

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"Our future will be in the knowledge economy, enabled by technology. We need to invest in areas that will have a longer term dividend. That means creating a new generation of ‘digital natives’ in our classrooms, and equipping them with the fundamental skills to analyse, listen, communicate, listen, enquire, problem-solve and team-work. Teachers, too, must be properly resourced to deliver an integrated technology-supported curriculum."

Results from the latest major international tests of literacy, maths and science, known as PIRLS and TIMSS, shows that Irish primary school students are scoring above average. In reading, they rank tenth out of 45 participating countries. But, in all three tests, still trail other countries.

This week, some 1,000 primary school leaders will attend the Irish Primary Principals’ annual conference in Dublin. Themed ‘The Future is Now’, the event will be the largest gathering of primary school principals in Europe this year. Over 20 industry and academic leaders from household names like IBM, Ely Lilly, Kerry Group, DCU and UL will join school leaders for a workshop to discuss leadership and future skills needs.

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