Digital Ireland Forum: first panel highlights (videos)

15 Sep 2014

Silicon Republic CEO Ann O'Dea with Ciara Judge from the Digital Youth Council, John McSweeney from ESB, Carolan Lennon from eircom Wholesale and Peter Evans from BT Ireland. Photo by Conor McCabe Photography

The availability of digital technology and basic electricity services in schools were discussed at last Friday’s Digital Ireland Forum in Dublin.

Former BT Young Scientist and Technology winner Ciara Judge pointed out that in her school not all the computers in the computer room can be on at the same time. “Block 1 turns on, then Block 2 turns on and Block 1 turns off. That is crazy.

“Digital technology has become so immersed in our culture that when you think that education is the first step in people’s lives and the industry takes the exports from that, improvements are needed.”

Judge also pointed out that all the students at the recent EXCITED technology event lamented the fact that there were usually online one or two power plugs in classrooms, which leaves the students at the mercy of fading laptop batteries.

“Start from the ground up and actually have power outlets in schools.”

Judge was joined on the panel by Carolan Lennon, managing director of Eircom Wholesale who said that the HEA plans to bring broadband to primary schools across the country and ensuring the right speeds is vital.

ESB’s head of innovation John McSweeney said that despite little change in over 100 years the electricity market is being transformed by digital technologies and he acknowledged that battery power, particularly in terms of electric vehicles needs to vastly improve.

BT’s director of Wholesale & Strategy Peter Evans praised Judge and her classmates Emer Hickey and Sophie Healy-Thow from Kinsale Community School who won the 2013 BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition. He said that Irish students have gone to win 14 out of the last 25 of the European Scientist & Technology competitions.

Panel 1, part 1

Digital Ireland Forum: Panel 1 highlights – digital education and the urban-rural digital divide – Part 1 of 2

Panel 1, part 2

Digital Ireland Forum: Panel 1 highlights – digital education and the urban-rural digital divide – Part 2 of 2

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years