Schools and information technology
The Department of Education and Skills (DES) is responsible for developing Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in schools. It aims to help teachers to incorporate ICT into their skill sets and teaching practice, and to develop curriculum and learning resources that make use of ICT.
This document outlines the strategies and programmes in place to achieve these aims. Most of these programmes are operated and managed by the Professional Development Service for Teachers (PDST).
Professional Development Service for Teachers (PDST)
From 1st June 2012, the role and functions of the National Centre for Technology in Education (NCTE) come under the remit of the Professional Development Service for Teachers.
The PDST provides advice and support to the Department and other bodies on the development and use of ICT in education. It also provides a number of ICT support services to schools through:
- Designing and implementing a series of in-career ICT training programmes for teachers
- Developing and maintaining ScoilNet - an online educational portal. It has also responsibility for the development of other websites with specific relevance to the curriculum
- Supporting and facilitating school leadership in e-learning planning
- Supporting the innovative use and integration of ICT in schools through pilot projects
- Providing a general ICT advice service to schools
Schools Broadband programme
PDST is responsible for coordinating the Schools Broadband Programme. This provides integrated services, including broadband connectivity, and hosted services, such as content filtering, web hosting-blogging and security services. These services are managed by the Schools Broadband Team which includes the PDST, the Department and HEAnet.
PDST also manages the Broadband Service Desk. This is a single point of contact for schools for all broadband related issues.
PDST is responsible for managing and developing internet safety programmes and subject modules, and advising on the development and use of Acceptable Use Policies (AUPs) in schools. Webwise, the Irish Safer Internet Centre promotes the safe, responsible use of the internet and mobile devices by children and young people. It is co-funded by the European Union Safer Internet Programme and the Department.
Special education and ICT
PDST provides advice relating to the use of technology with students who have special educational needs.
Department of Education and Skills also provide assistive technology grants for individual students with special educational needs. Applications for this funding must be made by the local Special Educational Needs Organiser (SENO).
ICT in Schools Programme
The ICT in Schools Programme began in 1998. NCTE was set up by the Department of Education and Skills to manage the Schools IT2000 initiative and to provide support to first and second level schools integrating ICT into learning and teaching.
In 2008, the Department published 2 reports on ICT in schools. Investing Effectively in Information and Communications Technology in Schools 2008-2013 is the report of the strategy group appointed to advise on priorities for investment in ICT in schools. ICT in Schools is an evaluation on the impact of ICT on teaching and learning which was done by the Department’s Inspectorate.
In 2009, the Smart Schools = Smart Economy (pdf) report was published by the Joint Advisory Group. This Group was appointed by the then Minister to work with industry to explore possible approaches to implementing the recommendations of the 2008 Strategy Group Report.
Equipment grants have also been provided to schools under this programme.
Where to apply