Education news

Schools rewarded for integrating technology into the classroom

Pupils from the nine new schools to be named Digital Schools of Distinction

Nine new primary schools have been rewarded for integrating technology into the classroom.

The Digital School of Distinction Award aims to recognise best in class practices and build on the progress already made by schools by providing a pathway and resources for those seeking to do more with technology.

It also recognises those who achieve excellence and supports the efforts of schools and teachers in making the best use of technology in the learning environment.

HP Inc, Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Microsoft provides support to the programme, including a financial commitment of £100,000 in the first year as well as the provision of practical support and resources.

Primary schools are encouraged to register for the programme through the www.digitalschoolsofdistinction.co.uk website where they can undergo a self-evaluation of current practices and standards. The programme aims to sign up 200 primary schools in Northern Ireland to participate in its first full year.

Already about 110 schools have signed up to become Digital Schools of Distinction, since the launch of the programme in November 2015. These schools are at various stages of the validation process and are progressing well.

Remaining primary schools are now urged to sign up to avail of the comprehensive package of support and advice available.

Louise Campbell, principal of Killean PS in Newry, said that the programme offered a real opportunity for primary schools to build on their digital capabilities.

"Technology is a highly valuable tool which is integrated seamlessly into lessons across the Key Stages in Killean PS. This approach to learning is motivating for children while enriching their educational experiences. We are focused on providing our children with the skills and tools needed to become lifelong learners in this digital age," she said.

Rhonda Moles, principal of Cumran PS in Clough, welcomed the award and praised the commitment of staff in embracing opportunities to implement digital learning and the enthusiasm of pupils across all age groups to discover and learn using the latest technology.

"The staff and pupils of Cumran PS have worked extremely hard to integrate digital technology in the classroom to drive innovative practices in teaching and learning, and to ensure that the learning environment is reflective of advances in accessible educational technology," she said.

"It has been a priority driven by our ambition to effectively promote the use of digital tools across the key stages and to equip all of our pupils with 21st century skills. This award recognises our achievements in this area, and also gives us great confidence moving forward to continue to develop our digital curriculum and to inspire the digital creators of the future."

New digital schools receive a presentation plaque and a classroom kit which includes a free HP printer with a free print allowance per month of 200 colour and 2000 mono prints and access to education ICT specialists.

The programme has already been successfully rolled out in the Republic of Ireland with more than half of primary schools signed up.

:: For further information and to register online, visit www.digitalschoolsofdistinction.co.uk or follow @schools_digital on Twitter for regular updates.

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