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Scotland aims to boost digital learning in schools

23/09/16

New strategy document outlines four national objectives and says councils will take the lead in decisions for local action

The Scottish Government has placed the emphasis on local authorities to take an active role in its plans to boost digital learning in the country’s schools.

Its newly published strategy document, Enhancing Learning and Teaching through the use of Digital Technology, makes clear that councils should decide on how it can be best used in their areas, while the national government will take responsibility for standards and boosting digital skills among teachers.

The strategy also outlines four overall objectives to replace the five in its 2011 policy on the issue:

  • Develop the skills and confidence of educators in the appropriate and effective use of digital technology to support learning and teaching.
  • Improve access to digital technology for all learners.
  • Ensure that digital technology is a central consideration in all areas of curriculum and assessment delivery.
  • Empower leaders of change to drive innovation and investment in digital technology for teaching and learning.

The document emphasises that all four of these have to be achieved to create the optimum conditions for getting the best from the technology in the classroom. But they have been kept broad to give councils freedom in how they approach the issue within their schools.

Plans for action

Among the action plans outlined for central bodies are that the General Teaching Council for Scotland will strengthen references to using digital and the relevant skills in its standards for registration and professional learning, and will review the standards from early next year.

Education Scotland will launch a Barefoot Computing Programme to help primary teachers deliver computer science classes, build up the content related to digital technology on its National Improvement Hub, and create a range of e-learning modules to be available through Glow, the national digital environment for learning.

The strategy also emphasises the importance of cyber resilience, saying the Scottish Government and Education Scotland will work with local authorities and schools to get technical measures in place and teach learners and educators to be prepared for online threats.

Raise attainment

“This strategy is a key part of the Scottish Government’s mission to raise the educational attainment of our children and young people,” said Deputy First Minister John Swinney (pictured).

John_Swinney“It sets out how we and our partners will improve children’s access to digital learning opportunities, develop teachers’ skills and confidence and ensure the use of digital technology is central to our curriculum.

“Technology can be a powerful and engaging tool to enrich learning. We are determined to support Scotland’s teachers to use technology to its best potential so children can improve their educational outcomes and develop skills that will be vital for their life, learning and work.”  

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