We are approaching the end of the school year, which spells a busy few months for teachers and school leaders. Standardised tests, school tours, end of year reports and planning for next year will leave us all longing for the summer holidays. In this blog post, I am going to look at how you could go about reviewing your 2021/2022 Digital Learning Plan and planning for your 2022/2023 Digital Learning Plan.
Step 1: Consult your Policy Documents
A good place to start is with a quick look at the Digital Learning Framework, the Digital Learning Planning Guidelines and the new Digital Strategy for Schools to 2027. When consulting these documents, it is best to think about what are the specific strengths in your school relating to digital technologies, and what are the priority areas for focus. The School Self-Evaluation guidelines, and the six-step approach is your next port of call.
Step 2: Survey your School Community
It is very important that the voices of all those in your school community are heard before devising your Digital Learning Plan. Taking note of what parents, students and fellow staff members think is very important before embarking on an improvement plan. I have included some sample surveys for parents, teachers and pupils at these links. It is best to tailor your survey to the specific context in which you teach.
Step 3: Analyse the Results
Once you have completed your survey, it is important to have an in-depth look at the results. Three key questions should be considered at this point: What area of digital learning are people most satisfied with? What aspect requires improvement? How receptive are your school community to the further integration of digital technologies into teaching, learning and assessment? The use of some qualitative questions in your survey can be effective as it allows respondents to expand on their thoughts and can greatly assist in the interpretation of the findings.
Step 4: Draft your Digital Learning Plan
Once you have analysed your results, it is time to draft your annual Digital Learning Plan. It would be advisable to identify one domain from both teaching and learning and leadership and management to focus on. Set some specific goals to further your school (hopefully towards a statement of effective / highly effective practice) in this particular area. Discuss with your staff and Digital Learning Team who will be responsible for overseeing each element of the improvement plan.
Step 5: Implement and Monitor
It’s important to be ready to go with your Digital Learning Plan by September 2022. Slotting in regular meetings of the Digital Learning Team is important to evaluate the impact of the plan on an ongoing basis. Monitoring the implementation of the plan is the single most important element of this process in my opinion. Assigning some Croke Park hours to professional development related to your area of focus is an excellent way to ensure that the momentum behind the plan continues. This has the potential to give teachers an extra bit of confidence, which will encourage them to dabble in further areas of digital learning – all of this points to an ongoing cycle of improvement and further digital integration, as we roll from one school year to the next. Best of luck!