The Role of ICT in Bridge-Building and Social Cohesion; theory, policy and practice issues

R.S.P Austin

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    This paper reports on the evaluation of a major programme which is using telecommunications to link teachers and pupils both across the political boundary between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland and across the boundaries of ‘mainstream’ schooling and those children in ‘special schools’. The paper examines the ‘contact hypothesis’ as a theoretical model for educational work supported by ICT and considers the impact of the programme on both teachers and students. It concludes that contact based on sustained curricular and social interaction has an effect on children’s perceptions of each other. This effect is most marked when contact is between two schools, one on each side of the border. The author suggests that the management of the programme, based on a bi-lateral agreement between two government departments and a partnership between two universities with other key stakeholders, provides a model of international cooperation.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)145-161
    JournalEuropean Journal of Teacher Education
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - May 2006



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