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O’Dowd: digital technologies can enhance pupils’ learning

23 May, 2012 - by John O'Dowd


Education Minister, John O’Dowd, has restated the value that digital technologies can add to pupils’ learning experiences.

The Minister spoke following a visit to St Oliver Plunkett Primary School in Belfast, which was the first primary in the north to invest in Apple iPads for pupils.

The Minister said: “Technology is progressing at an ever-increasing rate and young people are always among the first to embrace and enjoy new devices. This applies to the world of education and learning as much as to recreation, and it is clear that digital technologies can enhance the learning experience and help improve educational outcomes for children.

“St Oliver Plunkett Primary School has led the way in this field locally. Investing some £65,000 in hardware and Apple support, the school has enabled pupils from all year groups to use iPads in their daily lessons. This helps instil in them a great enthusiasm and eagerness for learning, particularly with subjects they may not otherwise enjoy. At the same time, it also brings benefits such as being able to connect with each other and reducing the amount of hard copy textbooks that are needed.”

During his visit the Minister viewed year one and year seven pupils using iPads in their classrooms and also saw children from all year groups using a range of digital technologies simultaneously in the assembly hall.

The Minister concluded: “I recently announced an investment of almost £170million over the next five years in the next generation of education technology infrastructure here. This enhanced capability will enable schools to securely and effectively take better advantage of the benefits devices such as iPads have to offer, with the end result that pupils and teachers can access ‘the digital classroom’ easily and in partnership.

“I commend St Oliver Plunkett Primary School for embracing this technology at an early stage. Credit goes to the Principal and Governors for making the investment and to the teachers who have worked very hard to roll out the programme to the pupils. I wish them all every success as they continue their learning journey together.”

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