Summary of the Impact:

Integrating technology into classrooms is a significant challenge facing education. The rapid move to online teaching perpetuated by the global pandemic brings into sharp focus the inequity of digital access, the impact of technology on students’ ability to learn and the lack of policy, guidance and quality pertaining to digital pedagogy. The digital divide continues to disadvantage students and the potential impact on their progression is grave.

Research undertaken by Dr Ann Marcus Quinn at UL has identified factors impacting student progression as well as highlighting the need for a national, evidence-based, blended learning policy. The impact of this research has been to inform technology adoption policy in Irish education.

Teaching in a national context is important to our educational experience and cultural heritage. It is vital that there are quality resources tailored to the needs of a country’s learners. Part of this research explored digital resources for post-primary students and the resources’ localisation. It found gaps in resourcing for important subjects. In particular, humanities lacked available localised content.

Ten years ago, the lack of curriculum-relevant digital resources was a common concern of postprimary teachers who were considering using digital technology in the classroom. There is a greater lack in less-populated countries where the market size for bespoke curricular-relevant materials does not support a commercial market for teaching materials.

Since 2004, Dr Marcus-Quinn, School of English, Irish and Communication, UL and Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) Research Affiliate has collaborated with teaching professionals and researchers to focus on the design and development of digital learning resources at third-level (Ref 7) and post-primary (Ref 8). The research led to the development of best-practice pedagogical principles and open-source educational resources. It ensured accessibility, content quality, and supported learning outcomes.

For example, working with Barbara Geraghty UL’s School of Modern Languages and Applied Linguistics, Dr Marcus-Quinn created resources for all undergraduate students of Japanese. Implementation of these principles and resources in the classroom led to improvements in acquiring Japanese syllabary (Hiragana); students grasped Hiragana twice as quickly as those using paperbased materials (Ref 9). The co-collaborators also considered accessibility guidelines at every stage of design and development, creating a resource accessible to all learners. As a result, in 2007, the Hiragana resource was awarded the European Commissions’ European Language Label. Its template has been used since to create additional resources. 



Second-level schools, including stakeholders: students, teachers, administration, parents and carers; policy-makers of second-level education

Sustainable Development Goals

References to the research

Open Education and Post-Primary Education

Authors: Marcus-Quinn, A and Hourigan, T.

Exploring the Possibilities afforded by Open Education at Second Level in Ireland

Authors: Marcus-Quinn, A and Hourigan, T.