The new Digital Strategy for Schools to 2027 was published earlier this year by the Department of Education. It aims to build on previous strategies and support schools in implementing and maintaining digital technologies to help support teaching and learning for students and enrich the learning experience.
The strategy sets out objectives under three respective pillars:
1. Supporting the embedding of digital technologies in teaching, learning and assessment.
This relates to the use of technology to aid with the learner experience. It can include software packages, school based management systems (such as Google Classroom or Microsoft Teams) and other online applications to support student and staff digital skils.
2. Digital Technology Infrastructure.
This relates to the hardware used in schools. It includes laptops, iPads, chromebooks, Wifi, etc. and provides support in purchasing and maintaining hardware in schools.
3. Looking to the future: policy, research and digital leadership.
This relates to current and future research, and recognises the changing nature of digitial technologies. It also recognises digital leadership within schools and how schools can overcome future challenges.
The infographic (below) provides a summary of the Digital Strategy for Schools to 2027 and the three respective pillars.
Source: Department of Education (https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/69fb88-digital-strategy-for-schools/)
How do we implement “Digital Strategy for Schools to 2027 ” at a school level?
Firstly, it is important to note that schools are at different stages of their digital journey. Some are fully immersed in digital technology, while others are only beginning their journey. Both of these scenarios are fine – it is not a race! The Digital Strategy for Schools to 2027 is simply to help support schools in this journey. With this in mind, here are some suggested actions that schools can undertake to help begin the process.
1. Establish a “Digital Learning Team”
This team can include management, teachers and other school staff. Many staff may have expertise in areas relating to technology, teaching, learning and assessment. This core team could help provide a starting point for the road map ahead within the school and help identify areas for support .
2. Conduct a Staff/Student Audit
Digital skills are important for both staff and students. Many may be proficient with digital skills and others may need some support. The Digital Learning Team could have an “audit” as such to identify areas of support for staff or students. This can be done with simple surveys to identify strengths and areas for improvement, either for staff or students, or both.
3. Provide Training Opportunities
The Digital Learning Team could provide support and training opportunities for staff. This can be informal training in the form of TeachMeets or subject specific meetings, or more formal training opportunites via courses, workshops etc. Staff often learn best from other staff (similar to students learning from one another) so it could be an opportunity for staff to showcase learning to one another (this also incorporates the Cosán National Framework in your school).
- Start with small goals as a team – where is the school at in it’s journey, and where do we want to go? Every school is different and will implement the strategy in different ways. Remember, the strategy is there to help support you.
- Keep the technology simple – simple is best! Work towards your school strengths and use platforms that staff and students are already familiar with (Google or Microsoft, other other).
- The technology must be related to teaching, learning and assessment. Whichever technology is being implemented, the rationale for its’ use must be clear. Technology should not be incorporated for just an “entertainment” factor in a classroom or school. It’s use must be linked to the learning experience of students, and how it can help enrich their experience.
The above are only suggested points in how to begin to implement the strategy in your school. The strategy itself allows for flexibility in whichever ways schools would like to approach it. However, starting the journey can be the most difficult stage, so these points may be prove useful.
For more information on the Digital Strategy for Schools to 2027, see the link here. Thank you!