9000 computers to be replaced and WiFi access for all pupils

Current computers were last updated in 2006
Current computers were last updated in 2006
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SCHOOLS and community centres across the Capital are to receive new computers and get access to WiFi as part of a £5.3 million investment in technology, it emerged today.

Education chiefs want to replace 9000 computers and revamp the IT infrastructure across nursery, primary, secondary and special schools by 2013.

Schools, and the majority of the council’s community education centres, will get increased e-mail capacity and faster internet speeds as part of the upgrade.

The improved technology will also allow pupils and teachers to get internet access through their own mobile phones and laptops at school.

For example, during a physics lesson, pupils learning about sound levels could download a sound level test app on to their iPod or phone to use as part of experiments, while group exercises could see youngsters using tablets, laptops or PCs to look up websites to gather information and share with the rest of the class.

City education leader Councillor Marilyne MacLaren said: “Edinburgh is among those leading the charge to modernise school IT facilities and I am delighted that we’ll be in a position, with our pupils, to embrace all the benefits and opportunities that modern technology can provide.

“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, hand-held devices and software and we want to help them capitalise on that skill and enthusiasm to enhance the way they learn. Despite difficult financial times, we’re investing to ensure our equipment, our networks and our software are primed so that pupils can take full advantage.”

Half of the £5.3m costs will be met by the council, while the rest will be paid for by BT, the authority’s technology partner.

Along with BT Global Services, the council currently provides IT service and support for more than 50,000 staff, teachers and students across the Capital’s nursery, primary, special, and secondary schools and community learning centres.

There are just under 13,000 computers in schools and community centres, with 9000 of these being replaced by the council. Schools will also have the chance to buy more replacement computers through their own devolved budgets.

The current computers were last updated in 2006, and were given a shelf life of between four and seven years.

Old computers being removed from schools and community centres will be recycled or donated.

Councillors will be asked to agree the IT investment at a meeting next week.

If approved, work to replace the systems will start in late summer 2012 and will be completed by autumn 2013.