Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Questions (289)

Thomas Byrne


289. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills his views on whether notes written by teachers and stored on databases (details supplied) are an adequate replacement for textbooks. [24244/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

Apart from a small number of prescribed texts at post-primary, determined by the NCCA, the decisions on which textbooks to use, if any, in primary and post-primary schools are taken at school level. My Department does not generally approve, commission, sponsor or endorse educational textbooks or other materials. 

The only requirement from the Department, on any resource used in a school, is that it covers the curriculum. Decisions on support materials, including textbooks and other resources, to assist teachers in mediating the curriculum to students are best taken at school level to reflect their particular context and requirements.

As such, decisions on the use of digital technology are a matter for individual schools and therefore the Department, does not endorse or promote any particular products or publications, professional consultants or companies, including textbooks.  

The Digital Strategy for Schools 2015–2020 reflects the Department’s current policy on the embedding of digital technologies in teaching, learning and assessment in primary and post primary schools. It sets out a clear vision that is focussed on realising the potential of digital technologies to transform the learning experiences of students by helping them become engaged thinkers, active learners, knowledge constructors and global citizens who participate fully in society and the economy. The Strategy is the result of extensive research and consultation and reflects the views of education stakeholders including young people.

 A total of €50 million investment in ICT infrastructure for all primary and post primary schools under the Digital Strategy was announced in March this year. This was the third tranche of funding and brings total spend so far to €110m.

Schools are supported to develop a Digital Learning Plan, and have flexibility to determine how best to embed the use of digital technologies in teaching and learning in their school, taking into account their individual circumstances and contexts. Guidance for schools on developing their Digital Learning Plan can be found at https://www.pdsttechnologyineducation.ie/en/Planning/. Information on the Digital Learning Framework, a tool to support schools in embedding the use of digital technology in teaching and learning, can also be found at that link.