The Digital Schools of Distinction an Initiative for your School

Presented by: Neil O'Sullivan

A key objective of the Digital Strategy for Schools 2015-2020 Enhancing Teaching, Learning and Assessment is the adaptation of the UNESCO ICT Competency Framework for the Irish context, drawing also from other relevant European and international Digital Competency Frameworks.
The localisation of these frameworks, through the development of the Digital Learning framework, will provide clarity for teachers in terms of how they can effectively embed digital technologies into their practice. It will also guide school leaders and education providers in creating a shared vision for how technology can best meet the needs of all learners. The Digital Learning Framework replaces the eLearning Roadmap which the basis for the Digital Schools of Distinction Award.
The new Digital Learning Framework for Primary Schools has now been developed and is available to all schools since the 2017/2018 school year. Its implementation, initially was trialed, in a cross-sectoral representation of approximately 30 primary schools during the period October 2017 – June 2018. An external evaluation of this trial was conducted and the outcome of the evaluation informed the national roll-out of the Framework in September 2018. The new Digital Learning Framework supports the Digital Strategy for Schools and other Department policies in a number of key areas including curriculum reform and implementation, skills development, teacher education, and learner outcomes.
In 2020 the Digital Schools Award will be relaunched to incorporate the Digital Learning Framework and new approaches to help school evaluate their integration of digital technologies in teaching and learning as well as in leadership and management will be introduced to facilitate schools achieving recognition and achieving a new Digital Schools Award.
This presentation will highlight the changes inherent to the new Digital Schools Award and point the self-evaluation activities like the SELFIE and other self-evaluation activities that schools can now use in preparation for validation for the Digital Schools Awad. It will also serve as an informal Q and A for schools engaged or thinking about engaging in the process of becoming Digital Schools in the next few years. 

Presenter Biography:

Neil O’Sullivan is chief Validator and a researcher for the Digital Schools of Distinction Award. He has a strong passion for education and particularly the benefits that can be achieved by everyone by using technology in education. He is very experienced in the education system and has developed contacts at the highest levels. He is an experienced researcher with a focus on implementation and the practical application of research. By adopting an innovative and collaborative approach to course design and delivery he links together all he knows and is not afraid to experiment. He strongly believes that the ‘learning is in the doing and education and learning cannot remain static’. He has a large network of contacts both in Ireland and Europe, in schools and industry and is well respected for his deep commitment to education and inclusion. Through his experience he brings people together and makes things happen. He understands teachers and students and the complexity and nuances of the teaching environment. He also understand parents and displays great empathy with and understanding of parent of children with special needs.