How will 100 Mbps broadband affect teaching and learning in Ireland’s post-primary schools?

One Hundred Mbps Broadband is soon to be rolled out to another cohort of schools in the Republic of Ireland.

The Economic and Social Research Institute is to ask an interesting Research Question of the roll-out:

photoHow will 100 Mbps broadband affect teaching and learning in Ireland’s post-primary schools?

Dr Selina McCoy and Dr Seán Lyons will work on the research, which in my opinion, will be valuable.

They highlight two areas of research that are of particular interest to me

  1. How the 100 Mbps broadband programme is intended to support various information society and educational objectives
  2. How the programme will contribute to teaching and learning by supporting more and better use of ICT (Information and Communications Technology)

It is a while since I heard the term “information society”.

The Information Society  Commission was an initiative of the Department of the Taoiseach (Prime Minister of Ireland) which began research on learning as Ireland entered the twenty-first century, publishing reports in 2002, 2004 and 2005… before Bebo (well 2005), never-mind Facebook or Twitter!

The 2005 report was on learning and interestingly David Hargreaves spoke of nine gateways for personalised learning: Learning to Learn; Assessment for Learning; New Technologies (ICT); Advanced Guidance; Mentoring; Student Voice; Organisation; Work force; and Curriculum.

There is no doubt that 100Mbps broadband will be a huge resource in schools, but there is concern amongst some educators about how that resource will be used.

Definitions of what will be researched are important. Static use of ‘information’ will have a place but measuring the ‘making / creating’ of knowledge is also critical.

Schools must regard 100Mbps Broadband not as an opportunity to do existing things faster, but to do new things altogether. These are things that some of our students are doing at home  (and occasionally in school) – creating music, animations, sound, music, programming, curating, remixing – that should be given a voice and a place in our schools. this type of work will help support at least four of Hargreaves gateways: Learning to Learn, Assessment for Learning, New Technologies (ICT) and Student Voice.

Students and their teacher in Portmarnock Community School recently produced an animation “The Rugby Homecoming”.

Validation was from the Dublin Airport Authority who decided to use it in the Arrivals area on a weekend when French Rugby supporters were to visit Dublin.

Validation from withing the educational system is….? (Junior Cycle reform will address some of these issues).

Yes….information- society is important, but I also believe that creation-society is now more important and that the design of research around the roll-out of broadband must include all the creative possibilities and not just faster representation of knowledge.


Information Society Commission 2002. Building the knowledge society: report for Government. Dublin: Department of the Taoiseach.

Information Society Commission 2004. Current perspectives on the information society: revisiting the future. Dublin: Department of the Taoiseach.

Information Society Commission 2005. Learning in the 21st century : towards personalisation. Dublin: Department of the Taoiseach.




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