Ireland's Technological divide - 511

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  • 8/14/2019 Ireland's Technological divide - 511


    Irelands Technological Development 1

    Irelands Technological Development

    Group 5

    Kevin Kaiser 88480975

    Suzanne Tompkins 21984067

    University of British Columbia

    ETEC 511 64B

    Marianne Justus, Ph.D.

    October 15, 2006

  • 8/14/2019 Ireland's Technological divide - 511


    Irelands Technological Development 2

    Irelands Technological Development

    The Celtic Tiger roars, but does it roar for all socio-economic areas of Ireland?

    Like all countries, Ireland must juggle the past, present, and future to meet the needs of

    its students who will drive the future economy of the country. The unique aspect of

    Irelands school system is the changing face of the economy and the socio-economic

    divide within its region. The small country of Ireland is experiencing growing pains in

    terms of the social impact of educational technology and the strategies used to implement

    technology into the school system.

    Educational DivideThe economic boom in Ireland is known as the Celtic Tiger. It is this very

    economic boom that has brought many of Irelands sons and daughters back home from

    abroad. These people have not only brought money, but they brought many new skills

    and youth back into the country. This has put a strain on the education system to live up

    to already high expectations and understandings of what is needed from the schools. This

    also gave the entire island of Ireland an opportunity to share ideas through technology.

    The Dissolving Boundaries Programme uses Information and Communications

    Technology (ICT) to facilitate cross-cultural educational linkages between schools in the

    North and South of Ireland and jointly funded by the two governments. (DB, 2006. Para.

    1) What was once a very separate island; Northern and Southern Ireland are attempting to

    come together through the use of technology.

    Still, the divide among the rich and the poor within Ireland continues to trouble

    the education system. In a country that has seen tremendous growth in wealth and

    stability, there remains the educationally disadvantaged. 310 primary schools are

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    Irelands Technological Development 3

    included in the Disadvantaged Areas Scheme serving 64,700 pupils in disadvantaged

    areas with 293 additional ex-quota teaching posts in 250 of these schools. (DES, 2006)

    The disadvantaged schools are a major concern in the school system. The Educational

    Disadvantage Committee (EDC) states, In the In-service: provide continuing

    professional development for teachers, and leadership and management development for

    principals, linked to the strategic goals of educational inclusion and equality (for example

    active learning methods, using ICT, classroom interaction, group work) (EDC, 2006)

    Within the EDCs strategy to help these schools, it states that their 35 page plan must be

    carried out using existing resources and expertise to best effect, and adequateadditional resources need to be made available to implement the strategy. Implementation

    is most effective when resources are employed flexibly, concentrated in priority areas,

    and not spread too thinly. (EDC, 2006. p. 35) The need for a technological

    implementation is obvious to the planners, but they have limited resources to rectify the


    Ireland has steadily made its already demanding K-16 education system more

    rigorous, creating links between industry and education and formalizing and supporting

    work-place education. The disadvantaged schools will have trouble not only graduating

    their students, but they will also have trouble putting their students to work in the

    lucrative IT sector of Irelands economy. Designated schools also fared better in terms of

    pupils access to computers, with an average of 37 pupils to each computer compared

    with 75 pupils to each computer in non-designated schools. (Weir, 2004. p.19) The IT

    sector is the heart of Irelands economic growth, and if the growth is to be sustainable, the

    schools must address this problem with a feasible plan.

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  • 8/14/2019 Ireland's Technological divide - 511


    Irelands Technological Development 5

    programs provides solid evidence against the social practice counter-argument that their

    outlook is merely another example of rampant techno-utopic thinking. The three-year

    policy, Schools IT2000 originally implemented in 1997 with a 50 million dollar budget

    outlined a plan to target ICT infrastructure, teacher professional development and

    integration of ICT into the curriculum. A second policy targeted broadband access, and

    the third is directed toward advancing online learning through improved school

    networking. To monitor the progress of these programs a 2004 ICT School Census was

    effected which notes that "75% of all Irish teachers have availed of ICT courses."(Carr-

    Chellman, 2005, p.74) Both policies were considered a success with regard to improving pupil-computer rations. 37:1 in 1998, 18:1 in 2000, 11.8:1 in 2002. (Carr-Chellman,

    2005, p. 74) These statistical results form part of the governments current functionalist

    approach to education, emphasizing cost/benefit analysis over a humanist respect for

    different perspectives, or the more radical humanist voices concerned with cognitive

    limits to social fulfillment. David Noble's perspective that "the technology education

    trend is deeply embedded in the interests of trans-national capital which constructs

    education as a commodity to be sold on the free market" is thinly disguised, if at all in the

    governments agenda.

    Despite the governments promising census results social practice discourse can

    find strength in the counter argument by noting that access in primary schools is still only

    39%, post-primary 66%, special schools 33% and that internet service "typically provided

    through a standard telephone, thus limiting users to having one computer online at a

    time." (Carr-Chellman, 2005, p. 75)

    Prohibitive costs of leased lines "means that satellite is often the only realistic

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    Irelands Technological Development 7


    Carr-Chellman, A. (Ed.) (2005). Global Perspectives on E-Learning: Rhetoric and

    Reality . Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

    Department of Education and Science (2006). The Disadvantaged Area Scheme.

    Retrieved October 09, 06 from


    Dissolving Boundaries (2006). The Dissolving Boundaries Program . Retrieved October

    09, 2006 from

    The Educational Disadvantage Committee (2005) Moving Beyond Educational

    Disadvantage, Retrieved October 10, 2006 from

    advantage.pdf?language=EN , October 11, 2006

    Weir, S., Archer P. (2004). Report to the Educational Disadvantage Committee ,

    Educational Research Centre, Dublin. Retrieved Oct 9, 2006, from



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