My experiences of the evolution of IT in Education

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Brendan Woodage
Operations Manager at CyberSmarties

The Primary and Secondary Education system in Ireland are constantly making adjustments to ensure that it is constantly up to date with technology and the best that it can be to bring out the best in its students. The Irish education system is in a constant state of evolution, with more and more attention being given to technology aided teaching, more enthusiasm to bring technology into the classroom and more creativity being emphasised today. I started school in 2000 in Ireland and finished school in 2012 and in those years even at a young age, I noticed the shift in tide towards technology becoming essential to the Irish schooling system. Even in the 4 years that have passed since I have finished, technology in schools have already taken their next step in their evolution.

When I attended school my father always used to remind me of how lucky I was to be going to school in a time where teachers could no longer lay a finger on you. And believe me I was lucky! Although I wasn’t a bad behaved student, more often than not I got in trouble for my cheek and stupidity. So had I lived in the same generation that my father lived in, I would have received a far more severe punishment compared to my customary A4 page of “writing lines”. A punishment which I expect anyone of my generation who liked to rock the boat a little at school can to relate with.

But I always found it hard to relate to that time, as it was unconceivable to me that a teacher would have the right strike a student. It was just a time I don’t understand. No doubt the generation currently in primary schools might find it hard to comprehend how things were when I was in school. Certainly when my boss Diarmuid Hudner was in school, they were probably using a quill or stone tablet to communicate!! (Note to self – do not ask for a raise after he has read this). But seriously, methods of teaching, communication and culture changes with each successive generation and so it should because that is how the human race evolves.

For example, initially when I was in primary school, if there was an internet, I didn’t know about it. The computer sitting in the corner of the classroom was still that early 2000’s grey, and I remember that it was so seldom used, that when it was, you knew you were in for a treat. There were always amazing games on it and even though they may have been slightly educational, I remember the feeling of accomplishment when that multiplication question meant that my rocket flew quicker and higher towards the planet.

So then by the time I was in secondary school, I personally had a love for computers and computer games. So in my secondary school we had a large computer room (this time they were the square flat screen Dells running Windows XP) and 4 hours of Computer Studies each week. We learned the basic use of Microsoft office (which I had learned at a Foróige years prior) and so I spent my computer classes browsing the internet and playing online games.

In Transition Year, we got a new computer room with new laptops and a few new subjects called ICT and Design Communication Graphics (DCG). In ICT we did projects, learnt a higher level or Microsoft office, and learned researching skills. DCG was a combination of technical graphics and working on Digital design software such as AutoCad where we learned how to design objects and different rendering processes. It was also the year that one by one, the classrooms began to receive their very own projectors.

By the time I was leaving school, there was talks of bringing in iPads to replace books, which my school was heavily in favour for as most of the staff disagreed with the weight of the school bags, and the potential future health risks the students faced, like back problems etc. Also, every classroom had a projector and wall mounted speakers.

So looking back at my experiences with IT during my school years, I can clearly see how quickly it evolves and adapts. I can understand how modern primary school students may think it incomprehensible that our classes didn’t involve modern technology like projectors in every room, a computer room or iPads in primary schools, or the internet. And what they don’t realise is that they’re so incredibly fortunate to be the generation where technology is firmly embedded and thriving in schools, and what great initiatives they’ll be fortunate to engage with during their future school years. For example, learning Coding. We at CyberSmarties believe that we’re not only here to protect children online, and teach them great behaviour. But we’re also here to assist young minds to flourish and be creative and so we’ve added a fully interactive Coding curriculum to our site. This coding section teaches various coding languages in a fun, interactive and age appropriate way. Coming soon in the near future we’ll also be adding a Doodle Section we they can let their creativity be showcased amongst their friends. At CyberSmarties we will continually add progressive and new initiatives to our system, to make sure that we’re always providing our students with fun, progressive and safe place to learn, both at school and at home, ensuring they are the leaders of their generations technological evolution.

My experiences of the evolution of IT in Education was originally published on Cybersmarties Blog

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