This morning, Wednesday, 7th October Minister Damien English announced the launch of the Digital Strategy for Schools.
The Department of Education and Skills has pledged a €210m investment in digital technology in schools, the largest investment of its kind. The Digital Strategy for Schools sets out the Department of Education and Skills’ vision and plan for enhancing teaching, learning and assessment through ICT.
Minister English said “It is vital that we foster the use of ICT in the classroom to bring learning to life for students. For this to happen we must show leadership and provide the necessary supports to schools and teachers. “
“Modernising the curriculum, to embed digital learning, will be a very important part of the Strategy and particularly so in the Senior Cycle. We have already done important work in making a short course on coding available as part of the reformed Junior Cycle. We need to build on that, and this strategy will ensure that students have the opportunity to undertake in-depth ICT at Leaving cert level.”
“The NCCA will ensure that future curriculum specifications will incorporate clear statements of learning that focus on developing digital learning skills and the use of ICT in achieving learning outcomes at all levels of education. Recognising the importance of progression to further and higher education, the Strategy will support the development of opportunities for learners to undertake in-depth study of ICT in the Senior Cycle. The Strategy will also impact on the continuum of teacher education from initial education through induction and continuing professional development for teachers.”
The Strategy links with and complements major strategies of Government including the Action Plan for Jobs and the ICT Skills Action Plan, and will help to develop the country’s economic potential. It sets out a comprehensive set of actions to be achieved from 2015 to 2020.
Minister English concluded: “The Department of Education and Skills will provide strong leadership in order to ensure the Strategy is successfully and these actions are achieved. Over recent years, this Government ensured that every post-primary school could benefit from high-speed broadband. Under the National Broadband Plan, we will now also ensure that every primary school can also access high-speed broadband.”
The Strategy is the result of extensive local and international research and involved extensive consultation and reflects the views of education stakeholders including young people. It has been developed around four key themes: Teaching, Learning and Assessment using ICT, Teacher Professional Learning, Leadership, Research and Policy and ICT Infrastructure.