Several hardware and software vendors announced Thursday the opening of two educational centres dedicated to helping teachers integrate new technology into their lessons.

The School Technology Innovation Centers (STICS) are located in Belfast in Northern Ireland and in Prague in the Czech Republic, according to Microsoft Corp., which is backing the project along with Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP), Cisco Systems Inc. and Intel Corp.

The Prague school is located at Na Trebesine, a secondary technical school. The Belfast centre is part of HP’s European Education Research and Innovation Center there. That facility has contributed to Northern Ireland’s C2K (Classroom 2000) program, which researches how technology can be applied to education.

Teachers will be trained at the STICS on meshing technology into curriculums while also evaluating new technologies, Microsoft said.

The centres will support several of the vendors’ educational initiatives, such as Microsoft’s Partners In Learning and Cisco’s Connected Learning program.

The first STIC opened in Amman, Jordan, in 2005, and two more centres are planned for Brussels, in Belgium, and Johannesburg, in South Africa.