New man at helm says computers encourage students to self-learn

By Amy Lewis

Published 22/09/2015 | 00:00

Presentation school, Wexford.
Presentation school, Wexford.

Newly-appointed Principal of Presentation Secondary School in Wexford, William Ryan, is a firm believer in the use of technology in schools.

He has previously worked in schools who have incorporated the Bridge21 Model - a modern system of learning established by Trinity College - and found it to be highly successful.

Although the Presentation are not yet using the Bridge21 Model, there is a strong focus on technology in the school. Over the last three years, incoming first years have been using iPads in place of regular books and so far, all is going well.

'My experience is that it works in the opposite way to what the OECD study is saying. I have found that technology encourages students to self-learn and to research,' said Mr Ryan.

The dependence on iPads in the classroom varies from subject to subject. All of the students still write as normal but reading is done off of the electronic device. Asked what he thinks about the lack of conventional books in the school, Mr Ryan said 'it's the age we're in.'

'It's quite sad to not have regular books but it is the 21st century,' he said. 'Students are way ahead of us adults. They were already using computers before they came into school. They are already reading books off kindles and tablets.'

According to Mr Ryan, incorporating technology into lessons can help to prepare students for later life. He hope to introduce the Bridge21 method into the school at some stage, as he believes that it will equip students with the skills needed for third level education and beyond.

'Most third level institutions are saying that the students are coming in without the basic skills and these skills are ICT, problem-solving and group work. They're not able to survive without them,' he explained. 'This method teaches the key skills students need.'

For now, Mr Ryan is happy with how things are going in the school, saying that the student's 'knowledge and education has been enhanced as a result of ICT.' However, he has a word of advice for any principals who are thinking of making the switch.

'Things have to be planned before iPads are introduced,' he said.

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