The Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton, TD, launched the latest element of the plan to harness the potential of digital technologies in teaching
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The Digital Strategy for Schools 2015-2020 sets out a clear vision to embed ICT in schools to realise the potential of digital technologies to enhance teaching, learning and assessment so that Ireland’s young people become engaged thinkers, active learners, knowledge constructors and global citizens to participate fully in society and the economy. Making this ambition a reality requires targeted and innovative use of technology to enrich teaching, learning and assessment.

The 2017 plan sketches out in detail, quarter by quarter, the actions to be implemented in 2017 to implement this ambition. It will be followed by annual action plans in 2018, 2019 and beyond.

Publication of today’s plan is a key action under the government’s Action Plan for Education, which aims to make the Irish education and training service the best in Europe within a decade. Fully harnessing the potential of digital technologies in teaching and learning is a key part of becoming the best education system in Europe.

Key elements of the plan include:

  • A new clustering programme, through which schools across the country will collaborate with each other on innovative projects for using digital technology in teaching and learning. This will be an important means of encouraging schools to innovate in this area, and also for the system as a whole to develop new methods
  • A programme of curriculum reforms will see ICT embedded in all emerging curricular specifications and intense preparation for the phased introduction of Computer Science as a Leaving Certificate subject option from 2018 and coding as part of the primary school maths curriculum
  • A new Digital Learning Framework will be trialled in the new school year and will allow schools to evaluate their progress and measure how they stand against benchmarks of highly effective practice of using digital technologies in teaching and learning. Examples of good practice will continue to be captured and shared amongst the teaching community.
  • Provision of a range of professional learning programmes for teachers and school leaders to enable them engage effectively in whole school planning and self-evaluation to support them to embed digital technologies in teaching, learning and assessment
  • A full suite of content and exemplars of good practice available through an online portal which will also facilitate the sharing of good practice between teachers.
  • The continuing rollout of a €210million capital investment programme backed by the dissemination of research on best practice in equipment selection, collaboration and technical support
  • A progressive programme of high-speed broadband connectivity
  • New ways of business and industry supporting schools in embedding digital technologies in all aspects of their activities
  • Reviewing policy on the ethical use of the internet and online safety for young people

Today’s plan is the product of a programme of work in this area undertaken by Minister Bruton after taking office. Having considered the best possible way of progressing policy in this area and implementing the Strategy and its ambitions, Minister Bruton convened a half-day round-table discussion in late 2016, attended by industry leaders, academic experts, practicing teachers and school principals as well as policy-makers from the Department and its agencies.

Following on from that forum, Minister Bruton established an implementation advisory group in this area (membership outlined below) chaired by Professor Brendan Tangney of TCD. This group was tasked with reviewing implementation of the Strategy up to this point, and provide advice on the best means of implementation from here on. The plan being published today is the first major output from that group, and will be followed by a 2018 implementation plan to be published at the end of this year.

Input from key stakeholders including educators, learners and industry has been captured to inform the development of the Action Plan through consultation including at a recent event in Gaelcholáiste Luimnigh.

Speaking at today’s launch, Minister Bruton said: “Through the Action Plan for Education we will realise the potential of digital technologies to enhance teaching, learning and assessment to help students become engaged thinkers, active learners, knowledge constructors and global citizens.

“We want to ensure that Ireland is well placed to take advantage of the digital revolution which is taking place, and having a transformative effect on our economy, workplace, and lifestyle.

“Creative thinking and problem-solving skills are critical to our children developing and achieving their potential. In particular, their ability to think critically and develop solutions in the digital world will be vital for their prospects in life. Digital technology is revolutionising our careers.

”This year I have provided €30m in ICT grants to schools, and in the next four years I will invest a further €180m to upgrade the ICT facilities in our schools. A key priority also will be enhancing the broadband service to primary schools, and my Department will work with the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment in progressing this objective, having regard to the National Broadband Plan.”

http://www.engineersjournal.ie/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/computer-education.jpghttp://www.engineersjournal.ie/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/computer-education-300x300.jpgJames HarringtonNewsbroadband,education,ICT
The Digital Strategy for Schools 2015-2020 sets out a clear vision to embed ICT in schools to realise the potential of digital technologies to enhance teaching, learning and assessment so that Ireland's young people become engaged thinkers, active learners, knowledge constructors and global citizens to participate fully in society...