Edinburgh pupils could soon find it much easier to access the internet through a spectrum of devices, ranging from mobile phones, to tablets and laptops, after the council announced that its schools and the majority of community education centres will get Wifi as part of a £5.3 million investment in technology.
The Council will also be replacing 9,000 computers in the first major upgrade since 2006/07. The useful life of the hardware at the time was estimated to be between four and seven years.
All establishments will get increased capacity for email and electronic storage along with remote access to files and better management of software while schools will see significantly improved internet speeds.
Schools and community learning establishments will have the opportunity to supplement these computers, in what will be a more hi-tech educational environment designed to encourage development and growth of IT.
City Education Leader Cllr Marilyne MacLaren said the aim is "to embrace all the benefits and opportunities that modern technology can provide."
“Edinburgh is among those leading the charge to modernise and revolutionise school IT facilities," she said.
"Young people make full use of sophisticated technology in their personal lives and we want it to be an integral part of their education too. They are highly skilled when it comes to making best use of computers, handheld devices and software and we want to help them capitalise on that skill and enthusiasm to enhance the way they learn," added MacLaren.
The Council cites various examples: during a physics lesson, pupils learning about sound levels could download a sound level test app onto their ipod or phone to use as part of experiments. Pupils working in groups could use school or pupil owned tablets, laptops or PC’s to look up websites to gather information and share with the rest of the class. Adults learning at community centre could use their own devices to connect to WiFi to research and enhance their learning experience.
The Council, in partnership with BT Global Services, currently provides IT service and support for over 50,000 staff, teachers and students across the local authority's nursery, primary, special, and secondary schools and community learning centres.
A report which details the refresh has been made public on the Council’s website today and will be considered by councillors at the Finance & Resources committee on Tuesday 1st November.
If agreed, the ICT refresh will begin late summer 2013 and will be completed Autumn 2013.