A key priority of the Digital Strategy for Schools 2015-2020 is the adaptation of the UNESCO ICT Competency Framework for the Irish context drawing also from other relevant European and international digital competency frameworks. The localisation of these frameworks led to the development of the Digital Learning Framework (DLF) which is currently being disseminated to all schools.
The DLF provides a roadmap to help schools embed the use of digital technologies in teaching and learning and in leadership & management. The Framework promotes student engagement in the teaching and learning process whereby students become engaged thinkers, active and discerning learners and where digital interactions are respectful and positive and conductive to wellbeing. The DLF supports and complements the School Self Evaluation (SSE) process and will allow schools to evaluate their own progress and measure where they stand against benchmarks of effective and highly effective practices in the use of digital technologies in teaching and learning and leadership and management.
Prior to its national dissemination the Digital Learning Framework was trialled in a cross sectoral representation of 50 schools during the 2017/2018 school year accompanied by an external evaluation conducted by the Education Research Institute (ERC).
The ERC Evaluation Report, available at http://www.erc.ie/programme-of-work/dlf/, concluded that overall the DLF trial was a success. Feedback from schools participating in the trial was very positive. There was evidence of improvement to embedding Digital technologies in teaching. Learning and assessment in the short six-month period of the trial. The DLF and the related CPD resources were viewed positively. The ERC made a number of suggestions for improvements and those were incorporated into the final Framework document which is currently being disseminated to all schools.
My Department has also commissioned the ERC to conduct a more longitudinal study of the DLF of a three year duration. This study commenced in January 2019. The focus of the Evaluation will be the implementation of the Digital Learning Framework from the multiple perspectives of school principals, teachers, learners and Digital Learning Team leaders over a three-year period.
My Department’s Inspectorate is also planning a composite thematic evaluation on digital learning, across early years, primary and post primary sectors, across several models of inspection. This review will report on schools and settings engagement with digital technologies and on the opportunities provided for the enhancement of pupils and students’ learning as a result of digital learning.
The Deputy will appreciate that no one factor can specifically be attributed to the quality of teaching and learning and student performance in state examinations. However the effective use of digital technologies, as outlined in the Digital Learning Framework, will enhance teaching, learning and assessment practices in schools. The use of digital technologies, allows teacher to unlock and deepen learning across all areas including literacy, numeracy, languages, arts education and STEM. The Framework can be used as a planning tool by individual teachers, or groups of teachers to plan, and reflect on, their daily teaching and learning practices at all levels and across all areas of the curriculum.