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Minister Bruton launches 2018 Digital Plan for Schools

Minister publishes the 2018 Digital Strategy Action Plan 

Over 80 actions aimed at maximizing the potential of digital technology in the classroom 

The Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton, T.D.,today (Friday the 8th of June) published the 2018 Digital Strategy Action Plan. The Plan, which has over 80 actions, sets out a roadmap for the twelve months ahead, to bring the Irish education system further along the path to being the best in Europe at embedding digital technology in teaching, learning and assessment by 2026.
While the 2018 Action Plan includes the list of actions to be achieved this year, the Digital Strategy for Schools 2015-2020 sets out the government’s medium term plan to realise the potential of digital technologies to enhance teaching, learning and assessment. 
Digital technology has fundamentally transformed the world we live in.  Ireland's young people must become engaged thinkers, active learners, knowledge constructors and global citizens to flourish in modern society and the economy. Making this ambition a reality requires targeted and innovative use of technology to enrich teaching, learning and assessment.
The 2017 Digital Strategy Action Plan was published in June 2017 identifying some 120 actions/sub-actions for delivery during the course of 2017. Of these 113 were delivered representing a 94% completion rate. The remaining 7 sub actions are carried forward into the 2018 Digital Strategy Action Plan. Progress on implementation of the Plan is continuing.
The 2018 Digital Strategy Action Plan builds on progress made in 2017. It reiterates the goals and objectives set out in the Digital Strategy for Schools 2015-2020 and contains over 80 actions/sub-actions to be achieved by the end of 2018. It will be followed by annual action plans in 2019, 2020.
Key elements of the 2018 Digital Strategy Action Plan include:

  • Computer Science will be introduced as a Leaving Certificate subject from September 2018 – (phased introduction).
  • The National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) will work with a network of schools to explore how coding might be best integrated into the primary school curriculum.
  • The Digital Learning Framework, which allows schools to assess their digital capability, will be assessed and improved.
  • Clear statements on the use of digital technologies will continue to be included in all of the subject specifications developed in 2018.
  • Clusters participating in School Excellence Fund – Digital will begin their projects & future rounds will be considered.
  • The Department will actively contribute to the whole of Government approach to internet and cyber safe security for our young people.
  • A circular will issue to schools on the usage of smart phone and tablet devices – this will require schools to engage with the school community including students and parents on their usage.
  • Continue to improve broadband services in schools.
  • Continuing rollout of the €210million capital investment programme to schools.

Launching the 2018 Plan, Minister Bruton said:

“Ireland has set itself the ambitious target of having the best education and training service in Europe within a decade. To achieve this our system must be a front-runner in embracing digital technologies to enhance teaching and learning. 

“Through the Action Plan for Education and the implementation of the Digital Strategy we will realise the potential of digital technologies to enhance teaching, learning and assessment to help students become engaged thinkers, active learners, knowledge constructors and global citizens.

“The development of these skills are a critical for our young people in an increasingly digital landscape for their future prospects in life. 

“Last year I provided €30m in ICT grants to schools and a further €30m issued this year and in the next three years I will invest a further €150 m to upgrade the ICT facilities in our schools. A key priority to achieving these aims will be the enhancement of broadband services to primary schools, and my Department is working with the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment, having regard to the National Broadband Plan, in progressing this objective.”