Good riddance to school bags

tHE new school year has got of to a high tech launch at Portlaoise College.

tHE new school year has got of to a high tech launch at Portlaoise College.

oN Wednesday, August 29, parents and students came back to the classroom for the evening launch of the E-Book Project at VEC college on the Mountrath Road.

Mr Noel Daly, the new Principal, took the opportunity to thank the parents.

“The launch of e-books was a fantastic development in the school and was an example of parents, management and teachers working together to enhance Teaching and Learning for the benefit of our students,” he said.

All students’ books are pre-loaded onto net books. The E-book Co-Ordinator and I.T. Teacher Mr Keith McLearn, gave a short presentation to parents and students.

Mr. McClearn said net books had opted for technology that had wider uses.

“Portlaoise College, after a lot of investigation, opted for net books instead of i-pads because of the compatibility factor when it comes to Microsoft Word, Excel, Access, Power Point and so on.

“Net books will develop students’ keyboard skills and when it comes to projects, students will be able to produce documents more easily. They are also more compatible with people’s home computers,” he said.

Shelly Whelan is among the first year students that will use the net books

“The new e-book in Portlaoise College is brilliant because you don’t need to carry around heavy books and it gives us a chance to experience a new technology in the classroom. Also the new e-book has a lot of new tools that we can use to help us both in class and at home,” she said.

Another first year student, Shaun Dornbierer, also noted that “One more advantage is the bonus learning resources on the eBooks. There are some videos and PowerPoint’s from which students can do bonus learning and studying which they could not do with normal books.”

The net books that the students received have a long life battery (up to 12 hours) so students will not have “charging” issues in school. They are also a lot more cost effective and come with a strong protective case. The initial outlay for Year 1 is €300 and the total cost over the full three year Junior Cycle is €600.

Portlaoise College began planning for E-books early last year and was the first school in the midlands to do so. It is one of the first schools in Laois set up for the national roll out of the 100 megabytes broadband for schools. The school will be connected over the next few weeks.

Over 80% of all first years opted for the Digital books, happy in the knowledge that he can say goodbye and good riddance to back-breaking schoolbags.