Camara Ireland is working to address the technology gap that exists in Irish schools through providing affordable, refurbished computers and training to schools, community groups and organisations with an education focus that work with disadvantaged communities.
There are many potential benefits to the Irish education system from the adoption of information communication technology (ICT) into schools. Technology can be a powerful enabler in the development of critical-thinking skills and independent learning. So far, however, Ireland has failed to integrate technology into the teaching and learning environment of our schools. More specifically, the schools that are having most difficulty introducing ICT into the classroom are those which can’t afford it, and we are seeing a growing “Digital Divide” in Irish classrooms.
Following the success of Camara International in bringing technology into classrooms in disadvantaged communities around the world, Steven Daly set up Camara Ireland to bring the same benefits to Irish schools and community education initiatives. Camara Ireland’s solution involves actively working with institutions to meet all the needs of a technology poor school or community centre to change the way education is being delivered. This involves assisting with devising an ICT plan, identifying and meeting the hardware and software needs of the school, and most importantly, identifying the training requirements of the teachers and other staff and designing a training package to meet those needs.
After just a year, Camara Ireland is already in over 20 schools and community centres across Ireland. The evidence from the schools has been extremely positive, with increased academic achievement, better student engagement, higher class attendance levels and fewer discipline problems. These results have been achieved in schools with children from some of the most disadvantaged social and economic backgrounds, students who traditionally might be disengaged and disinterested in school and in education.
We now have a powerful computer system that can be used to great effect in supporting learning in and out of the classroom at a fraction of the cost.
Terry Lawless – St Kilians Community School, Bray
Providing affordable computers to schools