Some 89 Westmeath schools to benefit from online encyclopedia

Westmeath’s 73 primary, 13 secondary, and three special schools are to get free access to online versions of the Encyclopedia Britannica and World Book as part of an e-Learning initiative announced this week (January 5 ) by the Minister for Education and Science, Batt O’Keeffe TD.

The Department will pay an annual licence fee of €450,000 to Encyclopedia Britannica and World Book to authorise the 4,000 schools nationwide to use the online resources.

The encyclopedias use text, video, three-dimensional simulations, research aids and other new media in presenting information to students.

“Making these encyclopedias available online to schools free of charge demonstrates our commitment to providing digital reference content to teachers and students in a way that encourages learning through technology,” said the Minister.

“The range of information available to schools through these encyclopedias will enrich students’ learning experience and deepen their knowledge of the sciences, humanities, arts and other areas.”

The recently installed schools broadband network has enabled the delivery of such an enormous digital resource and is available through the scoilnet.ie website.

“Today’s move to give schools access to digital reference content online follows the Government’s launch of a €150m plan for ‘smart schools’ which will give every classroom in the country a teaching laptop, software and digital projector over the next three years.”

With over 11,500 learning resources and an average of 180,000 visits each month, scoilnet.ie is an important online resource for primary and post-primary schools.

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