Athlone first years to collect ‘digital schoolbags’

First year students entering St Joseph’s College Summerhill this September will be doing so with a lighter load than their predecessors, as the school launches a new ‘digital schoolbag’.

Incoming students will be presented with personalised iPads featuring digital textbooks, apps, and access to a wealth of learning material.

The first year students will attend a training seminar this Tuesday to prepare them to use the new technology, which will replace traditional textbooks, leading to much lighter schoolbags for the students.

Parents have already accessed an e-book list, and the iPads have been named and configured to suit the subject needs of each student.

St Joseph’s College is one of 45 schools throughout the country that will use mobile devices and digital textbooks in place of traditional textbooks this coming academic year, under the Wriggle 1:1 mobile learning programme.

Principal of St Joseph’s College, Liam Nally, said the main reason for the switchover is to reduce the weight of students’ schoolbags. He had also made contact with CEO of Typetec, the company behind the initiative, Paul Dooley who hails from Athlone.

“Given the fact that we are in the country, and many of our pupils get the bus, we are primarily introducing this to reduce the weight of schoolbags. It will also cut down on paper and photocopying,” explained Mr Nally.

One of the main advantages of working with Wriggle was the level of monitoring and security the system offers. Parents attended an information meeting in June, with the vast majority in favour of the initiative.

“The iPads will only be used for school work. They are configured before arrival in the school, and are monitored by Wriggle. They are fitted with a tracking mechanism to ensure that no inappropriate material is downloaded,” said Mr Nally.

“The package includes workbooks, and we will initially have a range of books in the classroom. It is all new to us and there is bound to be a teething process. In five years time we won’t have booklists, it will be all digital. It’s the way life is going.”

Students will receive a school email address, and will also have internet access from their iPads - though with a robust filtering mechanism.

In fact another advantage, which may not be popular with students, is that if a child is out sick their homework can be emailed to them.

More information on the programme is available at


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