||Eircom is supporting “Classroom of the Future” as part of the “Information
Age Schools” initiative. The Eircom group (formerly Telecom Eireann and
Telecom Internet from Eirtrade) have provided access to emerging and advanced
telecommunications services for the period of the project, subsidising
or in some cases waiving the charges associated with such services. The
project will run during the academic years 1997 / 98 and 1998 / 99. This
will provide a bridge between the existing situation and the 1999 / 2000
academic year, by which time the schools IT 2000 project will be well
In particular, Eircom have provided the following to a target group
of ten schools and two educational centres -
- Access to TINet internet service, waiving any charges.
- Provision of basic rate ISDN. Eircom have provided a basic rate
ISDN connection to those schools that didn't already have one. This
connection allows 2 X 64kb/s channels plus a 16kb/s signalling channel
on a single copper pair. It can be used for higher speed internet
access, plus switched services such as video-conferencing. Eircom
have waived any connection and rental fee associated with the new
line for the duration of the project. For schools with existing lines,
Eircom will waive the rental during the project, but it will not be
possible to retrospectively waive any earlier connection charge.
- Support of ISDN call charges. Eircom will provide a usage credit
for ISDN call charges, up to a predetermined ceiling, for the duration
of the project. This should allow schools make use of the technology,
without worrying unduly about the charges, but at the same time making
schools realise that the services will be at a cost in the future.
- Possible deployment of further enhanced access technology. Where
technically feasible, Eircom hope to deploy pilot ADSL equipment in
certain participating schools. This technology will allow retrieval
of information from the internet at a speed 100 times faster than
existing technologies. (Such technology will only work over short
distances from the local telephone exchange, and may not be feasible
for schools during the course of the project)
- Provision of Internet policing software. TINet's “Cyberpatrol”
software restricts access to unsuitable content, and polices the amount
of time spent by individual users.
- Provision of a multimedia PC. (This equipment is being made available
over time to every school in the country through the Information Age
- Provision of ISDN video conference equipment. Eircom will lend
V Tel video conference equipment to the ISDN schools for the duration
of the project. This will allow schools communicate with each other,
and possibly with other schools throughout Europe.
- Sponsorship of a debating competition. Eircom will support a debating
competition over the video conference facilities, again allowing participation
of schools in other parts of Ireland and possibly Europe also. The
participating schools may extend beyond the ten schools directly involved
in the project.
- Support of language / cultural exchange (Irish and continental)
sessions as part of the project - details to be finalised.
- Support of involvement by other educational organisations. Similar
facilities to those provided in the schools were also provided, on
the same basis, to Blackrock Education Centre and Education Research