Director, Technology Ireland
Digitalisation has the power to enact real change that will lead to a diverse, equitable and inclusive education system.
The recent pandemic has paved the way for radical innovations and rapid accelerations in digital education. We must now reap the rewards of this and ensure the digital momentum continues. While we are of the opinion that digital teaching cannot replace classroom teaching, the time has come for a radical transformation from the theoretical era to the digital era. To secure a digitalised future of education, Technology Ireland believe there are a number of key actions that need to be taken.
Access to digital resources for all
We support a ‘cloud-based’ approach for central ICT systems, applications, services and infrastructure, including human resource management, case management and finance systems. Maximising cloud usage will deliver technological and cost benefits for schools and ensure students can benefit from new cloud-based educational programmes.
We can also see from international research that appropriate device ratios for students and educators are essential to ensure both have access to all the digital resources they need, and infrastructure is no longer a constraint. We can see that providing a digital device per student, is shifting from being considered a luxury, to being a basic building block of good education.
Creating an inclusive working environment
Incorporating digital learning resources will assist with the development of a constructive and inclusive learning environment. Most importantly, it will enable educators to adapt teaching to diverse groups of students and students’ individual needs.
We can see that providing a digital device per student, is shifting from being considered a luxury, to being a basic building block of good education.
We welcome the continued rollout of Leaving Certificate Computer Science. To ensure successful uptake of this subject, pathways such as coding/ digital media short courses must be implemented at upper primary and junior cycle level.
Potential digital education risks
It is also important to understand and acknowledge the risks posed by technology in education in order to enable a robust security procedure and online safety curriculum to be implemented.
Information security, data privacy and online safety are some of the greatest worries in the integration of technology in education. To prevent these worries becoming barriers to the adoption and use of digital technology, technical supports and ongoing guidance should be provided at a central level.
The 21st century employment landscape is ever evolving. However, something that remains consistent is the growing need for digital skills in the workplace. The development of foundational digital skills must be ensured at every stage of education, so that students are best equipped for the jobs of the future.