Leading Digital Learning Series: Embedding Digital Learning in Primary Schools
In this video from our Leading Digital Learning series, primary teachers and Technology in Education team members discuss the effective embedding of digital technologies in their schools and describe the different approaches they take. Niall Larkin, Senior Leader for Digital Technologies, identifies key points about schools who are in a good place with the use of digital technologies. They have all started with a clear and shared vision among all staff members. This vision should identify where the school currently stands and where they want to go, with everyone involved in determining what the purpose of digital technologies is and how they will be used. Creating a clear and realistic digital learning plan with short, specific targets and actions helps everyone understand their responsibilities and how they contribute to achieving the goals. Niall says, schools can also ‘box clever’ by using their digital learning plan to complement their school self-evaluation plan. Niall gives an example of an SSE plan that may be focused on oral learning. He recommends using the digital learning plan to support oral learning also. This focuses everyone’s efforts on a common direction.
Example of differentiation
Sandra Byrne, Talbot Senior National School, says digital technologies bring differentiation to another level in their classrooms. She gives an example of pupils creating a presentation on Google Slides. Some children might be just able for a picture and a sentence, while others are producing really professional looking presentations. Everyone is working at their own level and this can be used in any part of the curriculum. Sandra sees the digital learning plan as an opportunity to reassess every year and identify areas that the school would like to focus on.
Moving from consumers to creators
Mark Boggins, Holy Family NS, describes his vision as students consuming, creating and presenting with digital technology in every corner of the school. While he feels they are doing really well on content consumption, he identifies creation, (especially video and media) as something the school needs to work on. Their plan involved getting 6th class trained up on the use of Google Sites and using tools for creating content such as Adobe Creative, green screening, VR and augmented reality.
Both Mark and Sandra highlight the importance of technology in the area of SEN and support classrooms.Technologies can be used to assist pupils in all settings, be it temporary or permanent. Mark highlights the range of issues technologies can support students with for example problems with eyesight, hearing, physical disabilities as well as temporary issues such as a broken arm.
Support for schools
Niall outlines the various supports available to schools:
- School support from Oide. A Professional Learning Leader can visit your school and offer bespoke support.
- A wide range of supports are available on the Oide Technology in Education website. There are opportunities to develop yourself professionally through online courses, good practice videos and tutorial videos. There are also links to Scoilnet and the DL planning site.
- Webwise offer a wide range of supports for anything to do with internet safety and digital citizenship.
- Schools should consider getting in contact with their neighbouring schools because they can experience similar problems.They can support each other and develop little communities of practice.
- Local education centres offer a range of supports. They offer webinars, face to face courses or can point you in the right direction if there is an area you’d like to explore.
This interview is from our Leading Digital Learning course.
Visit our Digital Learning Hub for information and resources on planning and embedding digital learning.