Thoughts on the Sunday Business Post

Today the Sunday Business Post published a 7 page special on technologies in education. It focussed on many aspects of ICT in all three levels of education. Amongst articles of interest to me as a primary school teacher were the NCTE’s plans to roll out laptops and projectors to us all, Interactive Whiteboards, Scoilnet’s services, Fís and a profile on constructionist learning in Gaelscoil Ó Doghair. I was not altogether happy with every article and below are my thoughts about each one.
This article outlined the NCTE’s plan to roll out a laptop and projector to every classroom. It also mentioned the €2.2 million allocated to classrooms at primary level this year. I found this article interesting for a couple of reasons. Firstly, the phantom €252 million was mentioned again and it was alluded to that it was only frozen…meaning that we may receive the grants after all. Somehow, I don’t think I’m living in the same country as Jerome Morrisey. The other thing is that I was told by the DES that I would be receiving €4,500 every year that I opened a mainstream classroom from now on. There was no mention of this scheme continuing – which is entirely worrying.
There were 3 articles about Interactive Whiteboards, none of which featured any feedback from schools that are using them. The marketing development manager of Steljes, Greg Tierney, was featured in the main article. Steljes are the people behind selling Smartboards (and they also sponsor an advertisement on Some guy from GoInteractive and another somebody from 3M (huh?) were also featured in smaller articles.
I have a separate post based on these three articles so you can check my thoughts on them by clicking here.
This article focuses on all the services that Scoilnet offer and is more like an advertising feature than anything else. There was nothing of interest here except that they are soon going heavy into the Moodle VLE model, which I don’t think is suitable for primary schools yet. I was surprised, however, they didn’t mention their blogging service, which is actually very good.
There was a small article about Fís. Fís isn’t something that I’ve done much about, to be honest, but I’ve seen other schools using it in action and it seems to have really caught on. Again, like the IWB, I think that the Fís project has opened up teachers’ eyes to technology in a meaningful way. Therefore, teachers who weren’t teaching using technology before, suddenly are, and better yet, they’re loving it.
This school fascinates me as does its principal. Daithí Ó’Mhurchú is a pioneering teacher and principal in Ireland. He believes whole-heartedly in constructionist learning (read up about Seymour Papert) and he sees (like Papert) that technology is the perfect medium for it. Essentially, the article is all about the theory of learning rather than the technology itself and I was disapppointed not to have got any solid examples of how it works in the school. While I fully agree with Daithí’s ideas, I would love to see how they work, because I truly believe they do. One thing that I did like about the article was how Daithí rubbishes the idea that primary schools need the latest computers and with a bit of thought, they can be networked to make super computers.
So that was it. There were no other primary schools interviewed or mentioned. I would have liked to have seen some other stuff about current best practice in spite of the government and NCTE, for example the work of CESI and the Tipperary Institute. However, it was not to be, but at least it gave me a worthwhile opportunity to rant.

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