What policies are helping to digitally transform learning environments in the Republic of Ireland and in Northern Ireland? How are the public and private sectors and communities of both nations supporting innovation?
CoSN today revealed insights to those questions in a new report, A Tale of Two Cities. The report provides key takeaways from the senior global delegation CoSN led to the capitals of both countries, Dublin and Belfast, from September 22-October 1, 2016. 
“Ireland has experienced a technological boon through its dedicated investments in digital infrastructure and professional development opportunities,” said Keith Krueger, CEO of CoSN. “The trip gave members of the delegation powerful ideas and insights that can be delivered to school systems in the United States.”  
While visiting Dublin and Belfast, the delegation observed schools in session and learned first-hand about the approaches to information and communications technology (ICT) from school leaders, key policymakers and government officials. Significant takeaways of the delegation include:
  • Vision and leadership are essential. In the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, there are clear statements and a clear articulation of the vision.
  • Significant challenges, however, remain in achieving the vision.
  • Exciting pockets of innovation exist in both Dublin and Belfast, offering inspiration and serving as models for U.S. educators.
A Tale of Two Cities captures the observations of participants and poses questions for policymakers and educators in the United States. The key lessons learned from the delegation are:
  1. Listen to student voices and be more student-centric. Focus on the whole student, rather than specific subjects and assessments.
  2. Strong policymaker support and commitment are essential to driving the change needed to reform learning and integrate ICT in the process.
  3. Vision without sustainable funding and implementation is merely a dream. Have plans in place for sustainable funding and a timelines for implementation to make the vision a reality.
  4. Honor and recognize innovative teachers and administrators as examples for others.
  5. Partnerships involving industry, museums, startups/incubator centers, maker shops and fab labs can play a critical role in transforming education.
Read blog posts sharing the experiences of delegation members here.
The Ireland delegation expands CoSN’s global efforts. Over the last 15 years, CoSN has led delegations to India (2015), Singapore (2015), Portugal (2013), South America (2011), London and Paris (2011), Scotland and the Netherlands (2009), Scandinavia (2007), Australia (2004), and Europe (2002).
The CoSN delegation to the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland is made possible through the support of HP.
To read more from the report, as well as learn about CoSN’s global leadership efforts, please visit here.