Digital Strategy for Schools 2015-2020 Enhancing Teaching Learning and Assessment
In October 2015, the Department published The Digital Strategy for Schools 2015-2020 Enhancing Teaching Learning and Assessment, the next stage of the ICT in Schools programme. The Digital Strategy for Schools provides a rationale and a Government action plan for integrating ICT into teaching, learning and assessment practices in schools over five years. This Strategy builds on previous strategies in the area of ICT integration and is the result of research and extensive consultation with education partners and stakeholders. It supports the overall strategy of the Department in a number of key areas including curriculum implementation, skills development, teacher education and learner outcomes.
Some key priorities of the Strategy during the implementation phase are:
- To give teachers and schools clarity around the concept of embedding ICT into Teaching Learning and Assessment, through adapting the UNESCO ICT Competency Framework for Teaching for the Irish context. By localising the UNESCO ICT Competency Framework for Teachers, schools and teachers can identify training needs to be targeted by the Department and its support services. This task is now complete, with a Digital Learning Framework for Schools now available.
To reflect technological and educational developments through updating the eLearning in Your School planning resource (from 2009) to assist schools in further developing their eLearning policy.
- To address the ICT infrastructural requirements of schools through developing an ICT Equipment grant (first tranche to be available for the 2016-2017 school year), and continuing to improve broadband services to schools.
- To promote Scoilnet and associated sites/services as the national reference point for schools for high quality digital content (www.scoilnet.ie).
- To provide information to teachers on innovative ways to use digital technologies more actively in their own teaching, including exemplars of good practices, and facilitating the sharing of such practices amongst teachers.
- To enhance access to and impact of CPD for teachers through extending CPD delivery formats to include online and blended learning programmes.
- To explore and recommend technical support solutions for schools.
- Extend the scope and reach of student learning beyond the walls of the classrooms.
See below for some further information on the Strategy, and read the full policy document at: Digital Strategy for Schools 2015-2020.
Following on from this, a detailed Digital Strategy Action Plan was published for 2017. This plan was based on the objectives outlined in the Digital Strategy for Schools 2015-2020. The 2017 document outlined over 120 actions and sub-actions to be implemented during 2017 by the Department, its agencies and others across government. Timelines and lead responsibility were assigned, and progress was measured against the plan. Of the actions, 113 were delivered representing a 94% completion rate. Further details are contained in the 2018 Action Plan (see below). The remaining 7 sub actions are carried forward into the 2018 Digital Strategy Action Plan.
View Digital Strategy Action Plan 2017.
A follow on detailed Digital Strategy Action Plan was published for 2018. The Plan, which had over 80 actions, set out a roadmap for 2018, to bring the Irish education system further along the path to being the best in Europe at embedding digital technology in teaching, learning and assessment by 2026. Of these 80 actions, 75 were delivered representing a 92% completion rate. Substantial progress has been made in implementing the remaining 5 actions and they have been carried forward to 2019 for further development/completion.
Key elements of the 2018 Digital Strategy Action Plan included the following:
- Introduction of Computer Science as a Leaving Certificate subject from September 2018 – (phased introduction)
- The National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) working with a network of schools to explore how coding might be best integrated into the primary school curriculum
- Assessment and improvement of the Digital Learning Framework, which allows schools to assess their digital capability
- Continuation of inclusion of clear statements on the use of digital technologies in all of the subject specifications developed in 2018
- Clusters participating in School Excellence Fund – Digital commencement of their projects and consideration of future rounds
- Active contribution by the Department to the whole of Government approach to internet and cyber safe security for our young people
- The issuing of a circular to schools on the usage of smart phone and tablet devices – this required schools to engage with the school community including students and parents on their usage
- Continuation of improvement of broadband services in schools
- Continuation of rollout of the €210million capital investment programme to schools
View 2018 Digital Strategy Action Plan
The 2019 Digital Strategy Action Plan was published in June 2019. It builds on the substantial progress that has been made to date in the implementation of the Digital Strategy for Schools 2015-2020. It reiterates the goals and objectives set out in the Digital Strategy and contains over 55 actions to be achieved. The 2019 Action Plan includes a measure to look beyond the lifetime of this strategy, with an action to consider future policy direction to build on the digital strategy for schools for the period 2021-2026.
Key elements of the 2019 Digital Strategy Action Plan include:
- Continued dissemination of the Digital Learning Framework, which commenced in September 2018. This will include 200 national seminars and regional community of practices, online CPD including 4 webinars and direct school support
- Clear statements on the use of digital technologies will continue to be included in all of the subject specifications developed in 2019
- A coding initiative with Education Centres will be implemented targeting 42 primary schools, supported by 21 digital technology tutors.
- The Department will continue to engage with industry and education stakeholders to develop a framework for schools, both primary and post primary, to form quality, inclusive, relevant educational linkages with business and industry to improve STEM and digital learning experience for all students.
- Continue to improve broadband services in schools
- Provide ICT infrastructure grants to schools; review compliance and expenditure to date; review criteria for 2019/2020.
- The effective use of digital technologies will continue to be an integral part of the design and development of all Department-funded continuous professional development (CPD) programmes and supports for 2019.
- Open Educational Resources will continue to be made available to schools and the Scoilnet Team will increase collaboration with potential new contributors including UCD maths, UCC Geography, UCD Medicine and Science & Technology in Action.
- Safe and responsible use of the internet will be further promoted in 2019 through awareness-raising actions and programmes. The Department will continue to chair the Sponsors Group that has been established to guide the implementation of the Government Online Safety Action Plan in 2019.
View 2019 Digital Strategy Action Plan.
See below for some further information on the Strategy.
Keep up to date with all developments by following us on twitter. Schools can also find notices on the Esinet Portal.