Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Action Plan for Education - ICT

Excerpt from Minister Richard Bruton Action Plan for ICT

Digital technology is transforming the way we live, the way we receive information, the way products and services are delivered and the way we express ourselves. Along with having such a profound impact on our lives, it is also transforming the way we learn.
Ireland has set itself the ambitious target of having the best education and training service in Europe within a decade. To realise this, we must be a front-runner in using technology to enrich teaching, learning and assessment.

The Digital Strategy for Schools 2015-2020 sets out our vision for the embedding of ICT in Irish 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.
As we approach the half-way point in the roll-out of the strategy, we have put an Advisory Group in place to review progress and to give fresh impetus to that work. A great deal of progress has already been made. A Digital Learning Framework is under development which will allow schools evaluate their progress and measure how they stand against benchmarks of effective and highly effective practice using digital technologies in teaching and learning. This will be made available to all schools in the new school year. This Framework will enable us to support schools on their journey to realise the vision of the Digital Strategy. Examples of good practice will continue to be captured and shared amongst the teaching community.
The plan for 2017 has some key elements:
  •   The scoping of an innovative clustering model across the country to innovate, harness good practice and create pathways for accelerated collaborative innovation by schools
  •   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
  •   The Digital Learning Framework, with the provision of supports and underpinned by constructivist pedagogical
    principles, will be trialled in the new school year ultimately leading to its national rollout
  •   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
  •   Scoping out how business and industry can support schools in embedding digital technologies in all aspects of
    their activities
  •   Review policy on the ethical use of the internet and online safety for young people
    The process of drafting this plan started early in 2017 when we first formed our Advisory Group, including industry experts, academic experts, representatives of the voluntary digital sector as well as the Department of Education and Skills and Government bodies with responsibility in this area. As such, the plan includes actions from Q1 as well as Q2, Q3 and Q4. Progress on the implementation of the 2017 Action Plan will be reviewed every quarter and my Department will publish an end of year review of 2017. The actions from Q1 have all been delivered (some actions for Q1 will however be ongoing for the duration of the Strategy). Where groups are being established as part of this plan, they will include external expertise where appropriate, e.g. academic experts, industry practitioners and so on.
    These actions are part of a journey. It is important that as a Department we set indicators against which progress can be measured.
    The following are 10 indicators of what medium to long term success should look like. They will be refined with experience but they can be used to identify key milestones.