Leading Digital Learning Series: Planning 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 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 updated regularly and inclusive, involving teachers and pupils 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. 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.
Importance of 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.
Steps Involved for Schools
Sandra Byrne from Talbot Senior National School, talks about how they begin with surveys of the teachers and pupils to establish what the needs of the school are. The findings will then be discussed at a staff meeting. The Digital Learning committee (which consists of a teacher from every class group and the support team) will look at the Digital Learning Framework and what domain their identified needs fit into.
At the monthly digital learning meetings actions are created based on the domain and learning outcomes that have been identified. Everybody has something to do and it is shared out. Team members give feedback to their class group and bring suggestions to the meeting. She highlights the importance of everything not falling to the coordinator and giving everybody a chance to share ideas and have their voice heard.
Mark Boggins from Rathcoole NS explains how they deal with having a school with 3 floors. The logistics of getting trolleys, tablets and Chromebooks around the school is too much for one person so they needed a team. In the planning process, the school delegates jobs at the start of each term. There is a digital learning team on each floor, with a WhatsApp group for all staff members on each floor. If anybody has a technical issue, it is put into the group. In terms of procurement, discussion and what they will do next, everybody has a voice and a role. This voice could come through answering a survey or an informal chat.
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.