Richard Bruton recently said: “Digital technology can transform the way people learn, encouraging curiosity, exploration and creative thinking. These are the capabilities our young people will need in the future." Wriggle find that many schools are simply overwhelmed with how they can spend their money. Often, this funding is spent on a school printer rather than investing in devices, software or ICT equipment. Primary and secondary schools simply don't know how to start their digital journey or become side-tracked in the middle of it.
We asked some educational digital leaders for tips on how schools can wisely invest their ICT grant money.
- Frank Ó Tormaigh, Assistant Principal, Gaelscoil Eiscir Riada.
"Don’t skimp on technology. In my experience if you buy cheap then you end up replacing it a lot sooner. It’s worth making a big investment which will last a lot longer."
- Amanda Jolliffe, DreamSpace Lead, formerly Assistant Principal & ICT Coordinator, Colaiste Pobail Setanta , 1:1 school.
"Do your research. Make sure to weigh up all of your options. Visit schools and see how technology works for them. For example, Wriggle co-host fieldtrips with strong digital schools for school leaders to attend. This gives educators an opportunity to see how technology can be used to its fullest potential in the classroom. More importantly, it allows teachers to get advice from digital leaders themselves."
- Jamie Johnston, Teacher Engagement Manager at Wriggle, formerly primary school teacher at Repton Abu Dhabi.
"Don't buy technology if you don't have an e-Learning strategy in place. This should easily integrate with your school development plan to enhance teaching and learning. In my opinion, training is one of the biggest investments that you can give to your school. It gives the teachers the confidence to optimise technology in the classroom."
- Keith Connolly, Business teacher and iPad Coordinator, Lusk Community College, 1:1 school.
"To try and get more staff on board to use ICT, you could look at using a proportion of the money to volume purchase an App. Most apps offer free trials for a short period of time they then have to be purchased if you want to use its full functionally or to continue to use it. This is an opportunity to see how this app could be used to enhance teaching and learning in your school. In my own school we focus on a particular app each term where a member of staff demonstrates how to use it at a staff meeting."
- Linda McCusker, Deputy Principal, Accounting and ICT Teacher, St. Vincent's Secondary School, Dundalk.
"In my opinion the most important thing is to have a vision of what you want to achieve. Then decide how you are going to get there - decide on logical, manageable steps to get to your goal. For example, infrastructure such as WiFi is the backbone to the implementation and introduction of any digital technology in the school. Spend time researching which device will suit your students, staff and your school. Decide what you want students and/or teachers to be able to achieve with the device. Meet with, develop relationships and seek advice from the suppliers of the technology as they have been working with many schools similar to yours, so can offer great advice."
At Wriggle, we work with a large variety of schools, from urban to rural, from large to one teacher schools. We have helped schools around the country establish their ICT vision and have showed them how to wisely spend their ICT grant money. Get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org today.