By Joanna Smith
The events surrounding Covid-19 has highlighted the absolute necessity for schools to be prepared to support continuity of teaching and learning. All schools are now required to have a communication and learning platform in place to respond in the event of a partial or full school closure in the future. What does this mean for your school?
Adoption of a whole school platform
• By the end of 2020, all schools must have adopted a whole school communication and learning platform. It must be GDPR compliant and approved by the school’s patron/Board of Management.
Role of the whole school platform
The platform should facilitate:
• Communication between staff, parents and students
• Remote and in-school learning to include assigning, feedback and assessment of work and facilitation of live or recorded lessons
Professional Development to support platform adoption and remote learning
• Whole-school up-skilling on usage of the chosen communication/teaching and learning platform must be in place in all schools to include staff professional development training and support for teachers, parents and students
Planning to support remote learning
• Schools are expected to plan for remote learning, taking a whole school approach to adoption of the most appropriate remote learning model for the school with ongoing effective communication with parents and students built into the school’s plan.
• A review of previous remote learning should be conducted and remote learning plans should be aligned to the school’s digital learning plan, taking into account access to devices, broadband provision and managing school timetabling
• Existing school policies should be reviewed and updated to take account of remote learning
• A blended learning model should be used in all plans to facilitate remote learning, to include multiple means of engagement and response and provision for student choice and flexibility in their learning
• Supports/strategies should be put in place for disadvantaged or SEN students, and parents should be supported to assist students learning at home
Funding for Digital Technology in schools
A further €50m in ICT Grant funding will issue in the current school year to be utilised for provision of:
• Cloud based tools and applications and set up and management of a whole-school learning platform to support teaching and learning
Synopsis taken from Department of Education circular 0074/2020.