14 January, 2020 – Minister McHugh welcomes positive first results from the national evaluation of the Digital Learning Framework in schools

-        Initial ‘baseline’ data of three-year study indicates schools and teachers’ positive response to training and approach

-        Early data will form baseline on which progress will be measured as the Government’s large scale investment in ICT in schools is delivered 

The Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh T.D. has today welcomed the initial findings of the Education and Research Centre in a three-year study evaluating the roll-out of the Digital learning Framework in Schools. The national evaluation is a three year study which focuses on the implementation of the DLF from the multiple perspectives of school principals, teachers, learners and digital learning team leaders over the three year period 2019-2021. 

The Digital Learning Framework is a resource to assist schools to effectively embed digital technologies into teaching, learning and assessment activities, and is a key element of the national Digital Strategy for Schools 2015-2020. It was disseminated to all schools from September 2018 accompanied by an extensive CPD which is ongoing at present. The Framework promotes active learner participation and engagement in the learning process and supports collaboration between teachers.  

Minister McHugh said: “I welcome the publication of today’s report which finds a number of positive experiences with the approach being taken to embed digital technology into the classroom. The feedback on the support provided to teachers during the rollout of the Digital Learning Framework has been very positive. Today’s ‘base line’ data is very important as it provides us with the starting point that was in place at the beginning of this project, and will allow us to measure progress on this essential initiative as it rolls out. 

"It is great to see the high level of adoption by schools of a ‘whole school approach’ to digital learning development of skills, improving learner outcomes and sharing of resources – in line with the aims of the Digital Learning Framework.

"This report shows that the methods that we have introduced over the past number of years are having an effect with schools on the ground and we are on the path to providing a quality digital experience to all schools across the country.” 

The Digital Learning Framework is supported by the Government’s investment in ICT grants under the Digital Strategy for Schools. To date under the strategy, €160m has been distributed to schools for improved ICT infrastructure and additional funding will issue over the remaining period of the strategy. 

The funding reaffirms the Government’s commitment to ensuring that all schools are equipped with top quality ICT infrastructure. 

The Minister said: “Yesterday I announced a further €50million investment in ICT in schools.

“This investment will allow schools to purchase critical equipment such as PCs, laptops and tablets and it goes hand in hand with other supports for schools such as the Digital Learning Framework and Digital Learning Planning Resource to enable schools to fully embrace and embed digital technologies in their work.

“I am conscious that this initial data indicates that are some variations in schools’ experiences –by having the ‘baseline’ data published today we will be able to track the improvements and benefits of this investment and this strategy. Since this initial data was collected, many schools will have experienced a major transformation of their ICT due to the drawdown of their grants, and we will see this impact over the coming years.” 

The Government’s total investment in the Project Ireland 2040 scheme will total €160m to date when all schools draw down their entitlements.

A key component of digital learning is access to broadband. All post-primary schools now have provision for 100mb broadband in place. The number of primary schools with download speeds of 30Mbps is constantly increasing. The National Broadband Plan provides for the expansion of high speed broadband and improvements to speeds for over 700 primary schools across Ireland.