Leading Digital Learning Series: Planning Digital Learning in Post Primary Schools
In this video from our Leading Digital Learning series, post primary teachers and Technology in Education team members discuss the effective use of digital technologies in schools and developing a digital learning plan that focuses on the learning process rather than the devices used.
Senior Leader for Digital Technologies, Niall Larkin speaks about how the effective use of digital technologies starts with a well-thought-out digital learning plan that focuses on the learning process rather than the devices used. He quotes circular 27/22 which states that all schools are required to have a digital plan. Digital Learning Plans should be regularly updated and inclusive, involving teachers and students from every area of the school including special needs.
Gathering Data – How and Who
Niall highlights the Digital Strategy for Schools’ focus on the student voice. Therefore it is important to involve not only teachers but also students in the process of deciding what should go in the plan. This can be done at data collection time through surveys, focus groups, questionnaires, and even work samples.
Communication and Sharing
He says that once a plan is established it is important to communicate it to all stakeholders. The whole school community should be aware of the plan and all staff members should be aware of their responsibilities within the plan. He stresses that if schools involve all teachers, there will be more buy in and more willingness to share practice amongst staff. This sharing can be formal like teachmeets at staff meetings or informal chats over coffee.
Lorraine McCool, from Dominican College describes the digital learning planning in her school which centres around a Digital Learning Team that has been in place since 2017. She highlights how important it has been for the school to have a cohort of old and new members on the team.
Paul Byrne from St. Patrick’s Classical School in Navan explains that the digital learning process in his school is implemented using the 6-step process from the digital learning planning cycle.
What is the Digital Planning Process?
In Lorraine’s school, the digital learning planning process involves multiple stakeholders and a Digital Learning Team that meets regularly. The team surveys students, teachers, and parents to identify the school’s digital learning needs and then designs, communicates and implements the plan.
In St. Patrick’s, the digital learning process starts with introducing the concept at a staff meeting and surveying the staff to identify general needs. The Digital Learning Team, which includes at least one member of management, then focuses on a specific area, communicates their plan and implements it using the 6-step process.
Who Should be on the Digital Learning Team?
Both Lorraine and Paul state the importance of having a senior member of the management team involved. It is crucial to emphasise the importance of digital learning in the school.
Lorraine identifies the Digital Learning Team, which includes both old and new members, as playing an active role in shaping and executing the digital plan.
Paul agrees that they have both experienced and less experienced members of staff with digital technologies on the team, to provide a diverse perspective.
Niall summarised by saying that small steps with realistic goals should be taken to build momentum and confidence in using digital technologies.
This interview is from our Leading Digital Learning course.
Visit our Digital Learning Hub for information and resources on planning and embedding digital learning.