Nintendo generation 'tunes out during lectures'

John Walshe Education Editor

SCHOOLS must make greater use of technology if they are to get through to the Nintendo generation, an education expert urged yesterday.

Mary Mullarkey, president of the Association of Community and Comprehensive Schools, said: "Today's students don't willingly read text books and they are inclined to tune out when teachers deliver lectures or make speeches.

"But they know all about Google, blogs and podcasts -- not to mention the mobile phone, possibly the most powerful medium of all time.

"Moving pictures and images are the dominant means by which they communicate, not the written word," she told the association's annual conference in Westport, Co Mayo.


Schools, she said, needed to harness technology to improve the classroom experiences of all students.

Ms Mullarkey welcomed Education Minister Batt O'Keeffe's initiative to invest €150m to put a computer and data projector in each classroom.

But the association president said data projectors and PCs -- however welcome -- were yesterday's technology.

An initiative was launched last year to deliver high-speed broadband to second-level schools, but so far only 78 have got involved.

Ms Mullarkey said: "We urge the minister to extend the scheme to all schools."

A spokesman for Mr O'Keeffe said the country's 3,300 primary schools had already received €22m in grants this year to buy laptops and digital projectors, while funding for technology in post-primary schools will be announced shortly.