Second stage of broadband project for Irish schools wraps up

9 Sep 2014

Austeja Tutkute, Louise Bergen, Niamh Delaney and Aoife Spratt, pupils of Presentation Secondary School Warrenmount. Photo by Marc O'Sullivan

The Digital Hub Development Agency (DHDA) and Ireland’s Minister for Communications Alex White have celebrated the completion of the second stage of rolling out high-speed broadband to several secondary schools.

The Schools Broadband Exemplar Project has been piloted at the Presentation Secondary School Warrenmount in south-west Dublin.

The aim of the project has been to test learning, teaching and management solutions made possible with the help of a high-speed broadband connection.

Presentation Secondary School Warrenmount has been one of the first schools to receive 100Mbps broadband as part of the Irish Government’s school broadband scheme from 2009, which only began developing a technology-focused education system following discussion with the DHDA on how to best utilise high-speed broadband.

So far, some of the end results of the work undertaken by both the school and the DHDA has been that the school now offers a dedicated higher-level Leaving Certificate maths class through a video link-up with its sister school, Coláiste Bríde in Clondalkin, Dublin.

This allowed the small number of students who were unable to receive a higher maths education in the school through lack of resources gain access to live-class sessions.

Speaking at today’s celebration, Gerry Macken, CEO of the Digital Hub Development Agency, said, “The Warrenmount project allowed us to test innovative digital solutions in a real-life school setting, and see what opportunities and challenges are presented when high-speed broadband is available in schools.

“Not every teacher will feel comfortable using technology in the classroom, and not every school will have the expertise or equipment to avail of the opportunities presented by high-speed broadband. These were all factors we bore in mind in developing the Exemplar Project.”

Minister Alex White will open the 6th Digital Ireland Forum in the Convention Centre Dublin, on Friday, 12 September, at 8am, where Gerry Macken will be a panelist. Visit the event site for further information.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic