Ireland is facing some serious problems regarding children’s education because the kids are simply refusing to use computers in school. It seems that the drop in the number of kids using computers to learn in primary school may be related to new technologies (consoles, smartphones and most importantly, computers) that they have at home. There is research on this topic being conducted in Ireland right now.
It seems that this has become quite a problem in that country since the findings from the research will be presented on Friday at the annual conference of the Irish Primary Principals Network.
Dr. Eemer Eivers has collected data from multiple studies (both performed in Ireland and abroad) conducted between 2011 and 2016. Dr.
Eivers acknowledges the influence of the technologies that kids have at home, but she believes that the main reasons for this problem are reduced access to computers, poor internet connectivity, and inadequate tech support. According to a research done a few years ago, it turns out that there is a big drop in the percentage of pupils that used computers regularly in schools, down from 46% in 2011 to only 23% in 2016.
Another problem is that Irish kids have more technological devices (PC, smartphones and similar) at home than some countries have in general. Dr.Eivers believes that there is a “digital divide” between home and school.
“There was a large drop in Irish pupils using a computer to do homework. In 2016, almost half of Irish pupils said they rarely or never used computers at home for schoolwork, compared to an international average of 23 percent,” she said. “This is baffling, given our high levels of home resources.”
For example, there is only one country (according to the survey in 2016) that had more children (speaking in per cents) not using computers for homework and it was Morocco. The other country that was close to Ireland was Iran. This shows that Ireland is not using its many technological resources right since it has been producing the same result as the countries whose technological levels and resources are not so grand.
Still, the Department of Education in Ireland increased its funding for schools, but it seems that there has not been too much progress.
The report has also shown that younger teachers are more likely to motivate pupils to use ICT (information communication technology) in school than their more experienced colleagues.
Dr. Eivers believe that there must e additional educational programs and more effort involved in the teachers’ part if the kids are to use digital technology to learn. She noticed that younger teachers who work in urban settings (with better internet and equipment) produce better results.
Irish Primary Principals Network chief executive Páiric Clerkin said that the internet can have a bad influence on kids and that teachers must be aware of this.
“The rise of ‘fake news’ and the proliferation of unreliable online material means that understanding how to evaluate information sources is an essential part of digital literacy,” he said.
He said that teachers and school leaders should be trained to better understand this.