This article reports research on cross-national co-operation through Information and Communications Technology (ICT), within the statutory curricula of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Using quantitative and qualitative methods, the views and experiences of teachers in partner schools in the north and south of Ireland were sought on the capacity and potential of asynchronous computer conferencing and videoconferencing to generate collaborative work in a cross-border setting, to promote cultural awareness among primary and post-primary pupils, and to improve teacher and pupil competence in ICT. The results showed a significant improvement in ICT competence, that technical training, enthusiasm and commitment were the key factors for success, and that not only did the pupils develop an awareness of the cultural identity of distant peers, but their sense of responsibility, self-esteem and motivation benefited. This particularly helped less able and quieter pupils. There was unexpected rôle reversal when children helped their teachers within an ICT context, a situation not found elsewhere in the curriculum. Additionally, there were beneficial effects on literacy, group work independent learning. The commitment of the teachers to continue this cross-national work with limited support is a measure of its potential sustainability.
Austin, R., Abbott, L., Mulkeen, A., & Metcalfe, N. (2003). 'Dissolving Boundaries:cross-national cooperation through technology in education'. Curriculum Journal, 14(1), 55-84. https://doi.org/10.1080/0958517032000055938