I spent a couple of days in Dublin this week with former Becta Chief Executive Owen Lynch. Owen is working with LTS to benchmark what we are doing with ICT in Scotland against the policy and strategy of other countries across the world.
The Irish Government’s Department of Education and Science recently published two reports the first ‘ICT in Schools’ is a very thorough description and evaluation from the schools inspectorate. The second ‘Investing Effectively’ is the report from the ministerial strategy group which suggests that Ireland’s 7 priorities for investment 2008-13 should be:
1. Continuing professional development
2. Software and digital content for learning and teaching
3. ICT equipment – additional and replacement
4. Schools broadband and services
5. Technical support and maintenance
6. Implementation structures and supports
7. Innovative practice and research
We met with senior staff from the Government’s ICT Strategy Unit, Schools Inspectorate and National Centre for Technology in Education (NCTE) and took the opportunity to share ideas and challenges. There was much interest in what we are doing with Glow.
MIT used to have a presence in Dublin and we visited their former home at The Digital Hub for an extended conversation with two members of the Ministerial Strategy Group, Michael Hallissy (Director of The Digital Hub Development Agency) and Dr Conor Galvin of the School of Education and Lifelong Learning at UCD.
Ireland has a thriving business cluster around ‘e-learning’ and we spent a morning with Brendan O’Sulivan CEO of Third Force and his senior staff. This company has developed from start-up to having a $40m turnover in 5 years with over 2,000 online courses and a growing capacity in assessment. I really don’t like the term ‘e-learning’ but was intrigued by the business model and how the company is responding to and seeking to develop the market in online professional/skills development. Lots to learn here for the world of education and the future development of Glow.
Anyway enough travelling for a few weeks. Next week it’s The Scottish Learning Festival and the world comes to Glasgow.