Guest article: Luke Curley (EdWare)

EdWare
Hi everyone. Rozz and Simon were kind enough to ask me to write a short guest article for anseo.net, so here goes. My name is Luke Curley, my background is in software development and I am a graduate from the University of Limerick with a BSc. in Computer Science.
So how did I get involved with education?
My mother, who recently retired, was a primary school teacher for over 40 years. A couple of years ago she found it very difficult to find software designed for the Irish Curriculum. This was an area I knew I could address, so I founded EdWare (www.edware.ie), a software company focusing on developing educational software for schools. A few months later the first edition of Know Your Ireland was released. Since then I have worked with teachers to expand our geography range to include Know Your Europe, Know Your USA and Know Your World. This year we released our first title to focus on teaching maths, Know Your Money – Level 1, more in this series is due to launch later in the year.
Where do I see the future of technology in the classroom?
The arrival of the iPad last year was amazing; it changed how we view and use computers.  The iPad and similar tablet devices will become the future of how we access the Internet. In the classroom they have a real advantage over traditional laptops, desktops or netbooks, they are extremely easy to use, the battery lasts all day and kids just love to use them. In general they are also problem free (no more virus or malware headaches), a great relief for schools.
A device that may become very popular in schools, and will compete head to head with the iPad over the coming year is the Amazon Kindle. The price point of this device is excellent (€130), plus Amazon is due to launch a Kindle App Store in the coming months, this should see some very interesting new educational software coming to the Kindle. In early May 2011, Amazon announced that “as of April 1st, for every 100 print books that Amazon has sold (of any kind) the company moved 105 Kindle books”, an impressive figure.
For the time being though, the interactive whiteboard will remain the focal point of the classroom, as it is great technology for group learning. I do see the technology improving over the coming years, hopefully with better support for multi-touch and a move to LCD screens.
From a software point of view, I think we will see the development of more collaborative learning and greater sharing of resources and ideas amongst teachers. We are also seeing software move to the web, requiring a subscription to access, this will become mainstream over the coming years and it will be interesting to see how this develops in the educational space.
Some technology every school should use:
Flip HD camcorders, a great way to inspire kids to excel at Irish, or any language. Use a Flip HD and do weather reports, or news stories through Irish. This is great use of technology and the kids will enjoy it, you might just find the next Nuacht presenter. Learn more: http://www.theflip.com
Skype, I have attended international conferences for edtech, and teachers are always interested in using Skype to communicate with other classrooms around the world.  Check it out: http://education.skype.com/
Wikipedia, this is an excellent resource and provides a wealth of information, much of it sourced and peer reviewed. I would encourage schools to take an active roll on Wikipedia, and improve the Wikipedia page of their local parish, village or town. Learn more: http://www.wikipedia.org

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