Tuesday, 2 July 2019

Questions (256)

Thomas Byrne


256. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills if academic standards and attainment levels at State examinations have been examined at schools involved in the digital learning framework compared to those schools not involved in the framework; and if academic performance indicators are available for these schools. [27614/19]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The Deputy will appreciate that no one factor can specifically be attributed to the quality of teaching and learning and student academic performance in State examinations and there are no plans to examine the Digital Learning Framework (DLF) in this context.

However the effective use of digital technologies, as outlined in the DLF and which is for use by all schools, will enhance teaching, learning and assessment practices in schools. The use of digital technologies, allows teachers to unlock and deepen learning across all areas including literacy, numeracy, languages, arts education and STEM. Students will be able to recognise the benefits of the online interconnected world as an important source of information to create knowledge and problem solve and not just see the internet as a source of information to be “consumed”. Through the effective use of technology students will learn to collaborate and create with their peers. They will develop research, analytical, creativity and communication skills which will support their future careers and strengthen their lifelong prospects

The Digital Strategy for Schools acknowledges that the embedding of digital technologies in teaching and learning is a complex endeavour. The important focus, as provided for in the Digital Strategy, must be for digital technologies to add value to the learning process as part of a suite of tools in the classroom, such as books and whiteboards, alongside more modern learning devices, to enhance teaching and learning. It was for this reason that the Digital Learning Framework was developed together with the extensive range of CPD programmes for teachers and schools on the effective use of digital technologies in the classroom/schools. The Framework 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 well-being.

In the context of the DLF, 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. 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. The Framework does not provide for comparison of academic performances.

The Framework is in its second year of dissemination and is accompanied by an extensive CPD framework for teachers and 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.