Detailed Project Description

    Introduction  Project Participants  Aims of the Project  Objectives of the Project
    Participants Needs  Project Management  Training  Monitoring

    1. Introduction

    Broadcom Eireann Research Ltd. (a telecommunications R+D company jointly owned by Eircom, TCD and Ericsson) have promoted a project titled “Classroom of the Future”, which attempted to indicate how emerging technologies in the fields of telecommunications and computing might lend themselves to learning activities in primary and secondary schools. This project, which effectively ran from start 1996 to mid 1997, provided three schools in the Dublin area with ISDN and 486 PCs to evaluate how the technology might be used by teachers. Some limited videoconferencing over ISDN was used, but primarily the technology was used for Internet / WWW access. The project was comprehensively described in the booklet “Classroom of the Future - A guide to using the Internet in Irish schools”. A resource site was also provided and maintained by the project participants at URL http://classroom.broadcom.ie/. 

    The work done in this project will be incorporated into and built on as part of a pilot project within the Eircom “Information Age Schools” and Government / Department of Education “Schools IT 2000” initiatives. Schools will undertake a wide variety of activities that will exploit information and communication technologies to further the learning process. These will be based at student, class, school, community, regional, national, European and international levels.This document represents a description and plan for this follow on project. 
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    2. Project participants

    The project participants are categorised as “Technology partners” or “Educational partners” and “School partners”, with each of the partners contributing to the project. The consortium also recognise the strong contribution made by Microsoft Ireland in the preparation of this document, and look forward to further collaboration throughout the project. 

    2.1 Technology partners

    The list of technology partners may not be exhaustive - the consortium would welcome involvement or participation by other technology partners if it is to the benefit of the project and / or the participating schools. 

    2.2 Educational partners:

    • Department of Education, Marlborough Street, Dublin 
    • Ednet 
    • Educational Research Centre, Saint Patrick's College, Drumcondra, Dublin. 
    • Blackrock Education Centre, Co. Dublin 

    2.3 School partners

    • Coolderry Central School, Birr, Offaly 
    • Dominican Convent, St. Raphaels, Ballyfermot, Dublin 
    • Good Shepherd NS, Churchtown, Dublin. 
    • Our Lady's Grove School, Goatstown, Dublin. 
    • Pobalscoil Neasain, Baldoyle, Co. Dublin. 
    • Presentation Secondary School, Limerick 
    • Sacred Heart SNS, Killinarden, Dublin 
    • Saint Andrews College, Booterstown, Co. Dublin 
    • Scoil an Cheathrair Alainn, Mulhuddert, Co. Dublin 
    • Scoil Mhuire, Woodview, Lucan 
    These participating schools are seen as the “core“ schools. Each of the core schools has been chosen as representative of the different sectors of schools in the country, primary / post primary, urban / rural, single gender / mixed etc. At the start of the project, certain schools had existing IT and telecommunications infrastructure, whereas others were commencing deployment of technology. 

    It proposed that schools from the core group would work closely in pairs or small groups on collaborative project activities in Year 1 of the new project. In Year 2, this could be extended so that schools from the core group would twin with an associated school or small group to continue to develop the activities of the project. 
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    3. Aims of the project

    The aims of the project are: 
    • to evaluate how the application of new technology in the classroom environment can assist in the learning process, to the benefit of both teachers and pupils 
    • to enable the participating schools to be in a position to prepare their students / pupils for the Information Age 
    • to enable students / pupils in the participating schools to locate, retrieve, share, assess and publish information and knowledge using appropriate technology 
    • to encourage critical thinking around the use of this technology 
    • to promote the ideals of life-long-learning in the participating schools using appropriate technology 
    • to provide access to this technology to as wide an audience as possible in the community 
    • to provide and demonstrate examples of good practice in the use of Information and Communication Technology in Education 
    • to identify desirable infrastructure to be deployed in all schools over the coming years 
    • to identify how such infrastructure can be exploited in the most cost effective manner 
    • to demonstrate a working model of schools / industry collaboration 
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    4. Objectives

    The following objectives will be specified and documented through participation by students and staff in predetermined activities and tasks - 
    • Participating students and staff will have considerable exposure and access to the Internet - web and e-mail 
    • Participating students and staff will use search engines and techniques extensively 
    • Participating students and staff will use e-mail for constructive and structured activities 
    • Participating students and staff will publish material on the web 
    • Participating students and staff will display some level of proficiency in searching, finding, selecting, assessing, presenting, sharing and publishing information on the web 
    • Participating students and staff will be available for, and will receive, structured training in these areas 
    • Participating students and staff will be in a position to aid the demonstration and dissemination of examples of good practice in education 
    • Participating teachers will be in a position to provide training and support to other teachers and schools in the dissemination phase of the project 
    • Participating students and staff will provide feedback on their experience of using the technologies 
    • Participating technology partners will demonstrate how the technology can be exploited to manage the project 
    • Participating technology partners will demonstrate remote training and support capabilities arising from the deployment of the technology 
    • All participating partners will document their experiences of the project to aid further schools meet their developing requirements (documentation may be paper based or web based) 
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    5. Needs of participants in the project

    The technology partners believe that every school must adopt information and communications technologies over the coming years, to ensure that the educational sector avail of the opportunities provided by the information age. By supporting this project, the technology partners are creating an “incubator site” to foster widespread use of advanced telecommunications services by the educational sector. The core group will act as “guinea pigs”, deploying and using the technologies, developing applications and managing the infrastructure to minimise costs. The deliverables, in terms of documentation of the results and experiences, should provide a valuable blueprint for the deployment of ICT in all schools around year 2000. 

    To make the project viable, the technology partners require - 

    • A representative group of schools, with a mix of urban / rural, single gender / mixed gender, primary / post primary, disadvantaged / non disadvantaged, settled / traveller, mainstream / special needs. 
    • A commitment from each of the core schools to fully utilise the facilities provided 
    • A commitment from each of the core schools to support and develop other schools in their geographical area 
    • High quality documentation of the results and experiences of the project participants 
    • Further support from additional technology partners in other ICT areas 
    • Active support of the Department of Education 
    In order for participating schools to achieve the aims and objectives of the project as understood and to organise the relevant activities, certain needs will have to be met. These needs will be different in each school but must include: 
    • Reliable internet connection installed and maintained for the duration of the project 
    • Reliable browser and e-mail software installed and networked (where appropriate) 
    • Reliable computer hardware that will allow schools to utilise these services and achieve agreed objectives 
    • Software of appropriate sophistication and power (e.g. web editor, graphics package, scanning software etc.) to allow schools to achieve agreed objectives 
    • Time. For this project to succeed at any level, appropriate time will have to be made available at project level and at school level for the activities, co-ordination, training and monitoring and assessment activities to be part of the legitimate work activity of participants. (See Appendix D) 
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    6. Project Management

    It is crucial to the success of the project that a project manager be appointed. This person will act as liaison and support for the participants and will undertake the following: 
    • liaison for the project participants 
    • co-ordination and organisation of activities 
    • co-ordination and organisation of training 
    • co-ordination of monitoring and assessment - liaison 
    It is hoped that the external funding might be made for this position. Prior to appointment of a project manager, this role will be filled by Broadcom. 

    The project manager will report to a Project Board, formed of representatives of each of the sectors participating in the project. An interim Project Board has been formed to steer the project until the appointment of a formal project manager. 
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    7. Training

    This aspect of the project is considered most important. For many of the activities considered, there is a need to involve either a whole staff or a target group of a number of teachers. All schools participating are hopeful that sufficient teachers will be willing to give additional time outside school-time to be available for training. In the same vein, it is considered important that such training initiatives from the project should be supported financially by the Department of Education In-Career Development Unit. A model of 10 weeks x 2 hours per core school is suggested. The training needs of each school will differ. Some will be at introductory computer user level while others will need help with more advanced topics. Similarly, individuals from each school will have training needs not appropriate to every teacher participant such as network management. 

    This role will be carried out by the Blackrock Education Centre whose experience and stature is acknowledged in this area. 
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    8. Monitoring, assessment, reporting

    . For the project to demonstrate and disseminate examples and models of good practice for both the educational and business community, monitoring and assessment of processes and outcomes will be necessary. Participants will have a strong input into the form this will take but there will also be a need for an independent party to design, co-ordinate, collate and report on progress in terms of achievement of objectives, technology and usability. This role will be carried out by the Educational Research Centre whose experience and stature is acknowledged in this area. All participating will be expected to be actively involved in this evaluation process. Back to Top