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Teachers Network in the News

Article courtesy of Connect

"TeachNet Ireland is empowering classroom teachers to create challenging learning opportunities for their students that take advantage of the ICT investment made by the Irish government. Then by making these resources available to all Irish teachers through the TeachNet website, the impact of the Citigroup Foundation support is significantly leveraged and strengthens our commitment to help make communities better places to live and work. We encourage others to join us in supporting the continued growth of TeachNet Ireland."

Daria Sheehan, Vice President of the Citigroup Foundation.

TeachNet Ireland is modelled on the highly successful TeachNet project developed by Teachers Network, a not‑for‑profit organisation based in the US. St. Patrick’s College. Drumcondra, hosts the project in Ireland and the major project sponsor is The Citigroup Foundation. Additional sponsorship is provided by The Ireland Funds, Microsoft and the Irish National Centre for Technology in Education. TeachNet Ireland is part of a growing international network consisting of affiliates from across the US, Ireland and the UK. Arising from the success of the US and Irish project. Citigroup has more recently funded TeachNet UK.

The TeachNet Ireland project provides professional development and support to teachers in Irish primary and post‑primary schools to enable them to develop and publish online curriculum resources to the wider teaching community. To date the project has published over 200 digital teaching and learning resources "by teachers for teachers." And these are available free of charge through the http://teachnet.ie website. By working with teachers, TeachNet is ensuring students benefit from using technology throughout their school lives.

All 4,200 Irish schools are currently being connected to broadband as part of the Irish Government's strategic investment in providing Irish teachers and students with high-speed access to the World Wide Web. This investment is a key component to develop a Knowledge Economy where all citizens are competent users of technology he TeachNet Ireland project is contributing to the development of this Knowledge Economy by supporting Irish teachers' effective use of 21st century technology in their classrooms.

According to Aidan Brady, Country Corporate Officer, Citigroup Ireland, the TeachNet project meets the aims of the Citigroup Foundation. "A major aim of the Citigroup Foundation is to ensure that children are given access to a high-quality education that helps them acquire the knowledge and skills to find a rewarding career, manage their lives, and fully participate in society.”

TeachNet Ireland has developed a peer-to-peer support network which provides teachers with a framework enabling them to publish educational websites. The provision of appropriate teacher support and professional development is a worldwide challenge. A recent external evaluation, carried out by NUI Maynooth has highlighted that the TeachNet model is proving extremely successful in meeting this challenge. The evaluation notes that the "peer-to-peer" network provides teachers with access to a rich community of practice where they can continue to develop their own skills and practice.

The 2005 annual TeachNet Awards Ceremony was hosted by Citigroup in Dublin. The Minister for Education and Science, Mary Hanafin TD, presented awards to 44 teachers. The Minister commented on the effective public-private model demonstrated in TeachNet:

"Projects such as TeachNet are examples of the public and private sectors working together effectively. I would like to acknowledge the commitment and sponsorship provided by Citigroup Foundation, Microsoft Ireland and The Ireland Funds. Coupled with the expertise provided by St. Patrick's College and the Department of Education through the National Centre for Technology in Education, have guaranteed the success of TeachNet."

TeachNet Ireland is continually developing and expanding its partnership model between public and private organisations. It is now part of a global network with over 600 projects published on www.teachersnetwork.org. This international dimension of the project is bringing the global village to thousands of Irish students and their teachers who can access classroom-tested digital resources from their own classrooms.

The TeachNet Ireland project is contributing to the development of this Knowledge Economy by supporting Irish teachers to effectively use 21st century technology classrooms.


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