The government have invested nothing in ICT in the majority of primary schools since about 1997. Yes, we were wired up to very slow Internet connections a few years ago but the vast majority of schools have funded their own hardware and software purchases without any proper independent guidance. The only guidance available are from government-backed agencies such as the NCTE or by individual companies, who are not renowned for their independence.
By the end of 2009, between 30% and 60% of schools owned at least one Interactive Whiteboard. 30% of these were Promethean boards which cost these schools at least €3,995. This money has been raised by parents and many schools did anything they could to get one at the expense of much more valuable equipment pedagogically.
Now, we all know we shouldn’t believe everything we read, so the title of this post is somewhat untruthful. You’ll probably need to buy a couple of other things.
In my opinion, you can have a basic set up for free. Here’s how:
- Visit your local college or business and ask them to donate any unwanted PCs to your school. Parents are also another source of free computers. So far, my school have got 25 working PCs for free.
- If the PCs are really old, wipe them. Now get a free Linux CD (preferably Edubuntu) and pop it into your computer and you have a nice (and fast) working computer.
- Plug your computers up into your network (which the government gave you for free) and log onto the Internet.
- Download the following programs: Open Office (a free alternative to MS Office), Audacity (a free recording studio), The Gimp (An image editing package), Scratch (a free visual programming language), Logo (another free language), ActivInspire Personal Edition, EasyTeach Viewer and Notebook viewer (IWB viewers). Search for “open source software” for almost anything you need.
- Start up a blog using WordPress, Scoilnet or anything similar
- Find an old camera phone and you have a digital camera.
- You’re done.
Now, add €2 for a microphone in a Euro shop and you’ve got everything you need to start publishing a podcasting station.
So, for €2 you probably have enough equipment to keep you going forever.
For the record, if you want to buy equipment, make sure you spend no more than:
- €200 on a laptop or Desktop PC (refurbished computers)
- €500 on a projector
- €2,500 on a complete IWB solution (see my many reviews and videos)
- €25 on a webcam
- €50 on a digital camera
- €100 on a digital camcorder
ADDENDUM WITH THANKS TO: Rob… A guide to post-instalation of Edubuntu in school with links!
Last Update: August 9, 2017