Teaching and learning in Irish second-level schools in the age of high-speed broadband

Authors: Selina McCoy , Bryan Coyne , Merike Darmody , Seán Lyons

Research Areas: Communications and Transport


The ESRI is carrying out a study of how broadband provision affects secondary school teaching and learning. This research uses a mixed methods approach to explore the effects on teaching and learning from a public programme to install 100Mbps broadband service and provide related facilities to over 400 post-primary schools in Ireland. Survey and administrative data were collected before and after the intervention both for the group of schools in the programme and a control group. We also conducted structured interviews in 10 case study schools with principals, teachers and ICT co-ordinators, along with focus groups of students.

The study addresses five main research questions:

  1. How is ICT used in teaching and learning across schools following high speed broadband installation?
  2. What role do school processes like culture, leadership, staff collaboration and technical support, play in the extent and nature of ICT integration across school contexts?
  3. What are the key challenges facing teachers in using ICT? How do teachers view the types of ICT and online resources available to them and what role does ICT-related professional development play?
  4. How do students view different teaching methodologies and to what extent do ICT-based approaches enhance their engagement?
  5. How do students reflect on the ICT skills and competencies they are gaining while at school and to what extent does current curricular provision, particularly relating to computer studies, address this?

The research is funded by the ESRI Programme of Research in Communications, with support from the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources and the Commission for Communications Regulation. Assistance with the study is also being provided by the Department of Education and Skills, HEAnet and the Professional Development Service for Teachers.

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