Creative Technology Future For Schools

Head teachers will today be shown how mobile technology can help develop young people’s skills at a conference to launch Creativity Month in the north of Ireland. The event, organised by Northern Ireland’s three Creative Learning Centres, takes place at Titanic Belfast and features speakers from both industry and the education sector. It is the first conference of its kind in Northern Ireland to help education leaders and key decision makers develop strategies for the creative use of digital technologies in the classroom.

Culture Minister, Carál Ní Cuilín said: “Our society faces challenges in the economy, education, health, poverty and structural inequalities, and the environment. Creativity involves connecting things not previously connected. This can include people, organisations, businesses and ideas. These creative connections can stimulate new ways of tackling these problems and finding innovative solutions. The Future Classrooms 2013 conference highlights the important role creative learning plays in developing the skills of our young people.” The minister drew attention to the Creativity Month website http://creativityni.org/events/creativity-month which has been developed by Culture NI and the Culture Company behind Derry-Londonderry City of Culture 2013.

John Peto, Director of Education at the Nerve Centre explains the thinking behind the conference: “Changes in how young people learn today will help make them valuable contributors to the modern competitive economy of tomorrow. The Creative Learning Centres are particularly concerned about the importance of how new digital technologies can help develop creativity in our young people and provide support right across the curriculum. The focus of the conference will be on how mobile technology can be deployed in schools to support this.”

Meabh McCaffrey Lau, Director Studio On Creative Learning Centre added: “We have developed a series of key partnerships with schools over the years that helps them develop strategies for the introduction of mobile and other creative digital technologies into the classroom. Key to this has been identifying teacher training needs and providing bespoke development programmes for the school. The conference is designed to help meet the demand for the strategic deployment of mobile devices as part of school development planning.”

Keynote speakers include Bro McFerran, MD of Allstate, Northern Ireland’s largest IT employer. He will tell head teachers that young people need a broad range of skills, particularly in new technology and software development areas, if they are to secure their futures in the workplace.

Peter Scott, Director of the Knowledge Media Institute, will show delegates how new technologies and media will change the way we learn at school, in the workplace and at home.

Northern Ireland entrepreneur and co-founder of WorldDesk, Jonathan Chesney, set up his business to exploit the benefits of cloud technology using virtualization tools. The business was later acquired by DeskStream Inc who adopted the WorldDesk brand. Jonathan continues his work as Director of Product Management. He will encourage conference attendees to focus on developing entrepreneurial skills in young people with a particular focus on the potential for ICT and cloud technology.

The conference will see the launch of a number of key resources for head teachers, careers teachers and pupils. The Creative Classroom careers resource will highlight the routes for young people into the creative industries while the Future Classrooms: Introducing Mobile Technology provides a guide for school management teams to the introduction of tablet and other mobile devices in the classroom.

The conference comes at the start of the Department of Culture Arts and Leisure Creativity Month, a celebration of creativity and the creative industries in the north of Ireland. A series of events and workshops will take place throughout March. The aim is to stimulate new thinking and new collaborations to help creative people, creative ideas and creative businesses to emerge and flourish.

The Southern Education and Library Board Amma Centre Director, Averil Morrow, said: “We have seen a huge increase in demand recently for training from teachers and from school management teams in the use of mobile technologies, particularly tablet devices. Head teachers want to be shown how to deploy this technology and how it can help improve the learning process for their pupils.”

Head of Education for Northern Ireland Screen, Bernard McCloskey said: “We have been providing support for the three Creative Learning Centres for over a decade as part of our Wider Literacy initiative that aims to embed the use of creative digital technologies as a support across the curriculum. Our strategy is not just focused on potential entrants to the media industries. It goes well beyond that. Young people who do not get an opportunity to acquire these skills as part of their day to day learning will be seriously disadvantaged when they enter the workplace in future years.”

Further information on the conference is available at the Future Classrooms 2013 website: http://futureclassrooms.org/#href62

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