One of the most interesting experiences for me this year in Dublin was to work with Abi Reynolds and Leo Casey on the Technology in Docklands Education (TIDE) project. The aim was to meet with 24 Docklands-area schools and other partners to investigate the current use of technologies in teaching and learning, to document their experiences, and to report on current and future needs. Most of the schools are in one of the DEIS categories (officially disadvantaged). You can see the entrance to one of the TIDE schools, the St. Vincent’s Girls School on North William St., in the first photo.
The research design involved face-to-face interviews with principals and teachers, followed by an online survey. We learned about the school library, computer resources, interactive whiteboards, digital cameras, and other resources. We also observed some ICT-based activities in the classrooms or neighborhood.
For the analysis, we used scenario-based design (Carroll & Farooq, 2005) to describe the current situation and to identify needs. This led to producing scenarios of use—stories about exemplary projects, such as a stop-action animation involving Little Red Hens (see second photo). We also identified scenarios of support—stories of ways that the schools could be helped to enhance learning.
Visiting the schools gave me a good sense of education in inner-city Dublin, but also of the local communities. I became familiar with landmarks such as Five Lamps, Sheriff Street, and Ringsend, and learned about how Fairview Park near the River Tolka originated through landfill.
Many of the joys and challenges in the schools seemed similar to what I’ve seen in schools in China, Australia, Russia, the US, etc. But I also found myself expecting to be surprised as each school revealed its own special identity. One Principal told us that they had a large population of Filipino children, in part related to the demand for health care workers in the nearby hospitals. He said it had transformed his school, with all of the children becoming more interested in language, culture, and geography.
Bruce, Bertram C., & Reynolds, A. (2010, February, in press). Technology in Docklands education: Using scenarios as guides for teaching and research. Educational Studies, 36(1).
Carroll, J. M., & Farooq, U. (2005). Community-based learning: Design patterns and frameworks. In H. Glllersen, K. Schmidt, M. Beaudouin-Lafon, & W. Mackay (Eds.), Proceedings of the 9th European Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work (Paris, France, September 18-22, 2005), pp. 307-324. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer.
Our presentation to the Principals and teachers: