The Minister for Communications, Denis Naughten T.D. today acknowledged the service provided to the State by David Puttnam as he steps down from his role as Ireland’s first National Digital Champion. The renowned film maker and committed digital enthusiast served on a pro-bono basis for over 4 years as Ireland’s ambassador for digital. David performed his final engagement at the Department’s Schools Digital Champion Event at All Hallows College in DCU today.
Appointed in 2012, David contributed to the development and implementation of the Government’s National Digital Strategy published in 2013. He used his role to raise the profile of the national digital objectives. In working with policymakers and stakeholders in the educational, business and civic sphere, he prompted fresh thinking and encouraged ambition in embracing the opportunities presented by digital.
He worked with many community groups helping older people to learn computing to benefit themselves, their families and their communities, promoting the value of learning new digital skills at any age.
He encouraged greater imagination in the way we educate our young people. He pressed for the integration of digital technologies in learning at every level to equip young people with the key enabling skills for the future, in the recognition that digital skills are crucial to Ireland’s future prosperity.
It was David’s vision that led to the development of the Schools Digital Champion Programme, now in its first year of national rollout. This exciting and innovative programme elevates digital skills and promotes the productive use of digital and data sources. Importantly, it allows students to develop their creativity, critical-thinking and communications skills, to share knowledge and create valuable content to make a real difference to their school and wider community.
Acknowledging his contribution to the promotion of digital engagement in Ireland and the advancement of the EU digital agenda, Minister Denis Naughten said, “As a digital ambassador, David’s vision for a more connected, inclusive and creative Ireland has been empowering. In his many engagements - locally, nationally and internationally – he advocated for digital adoption to drive economic and social progress, as well as bringing about greater connectivity and well-being among people of all ages. David was instrumental in driving the development of the School Digital Champion Programme and today’s event is a fitting occasion for me to mark David’s enormous contribution to the promotion of digital engagement in Ireland, particularly in the area of education and the citizen.”
The Minister added, “We share a vision of a connected economy and society where every citizen, company and community can realise the full potential of the digital world. As we drive forward with this ambition, we will continue to build on the goodwill, alliances and collaborations forged by David at national and EU level”.
Delivering his last address as Digital Champion from his home in Skibbereen to the attendees of the School Digital Champion event, David said, “Its been both a challenge and a privilege to serve as the nation's digital champion. My sincere hope is that I have contributed towards cementing a determination in Ireland to be seen as the first amongst equals in a fully Europe.“
The Department of Communications will shortly commence a consideration of options for a future Digital Champion for Ireland, in the context of a renewed mandate of the Digital Champions.
Notes for editor
More information on the National Digital Strategy can be found on the Department’s website: http://www.dccae.gov.ie/en-ie/communications/topics/Digital-Strategy/Pages/default.aspx
Information on the Schools Digital Champion Programme can be found on the Department’s website: http://www.dccae.gov.ie/en-ie/communications/topics/Digital-Strategy/schools-and-education/Pages/Schools-and-Education.aspx
This year’s presentation of certificates to the 2017 schools digital champions took place as part of the Power Up 2.0 Conference delivered by EXCITED, The Digital Learning Movement in partnership with Computers in Education Society of Ireland (CESI), PDST and DCU.
In October 2016, a 4-part TV series called Making Ireland Click, featuring the Digital Champion was broadcast on primetime RTÉ to promote digital awareness in Ireland. Further details can be accessed at www.makingirelandclick.ie