Digital Platform Launched to Transform Teaching Methods; BEST PRACTICE TO BE SHARED AT THE 'TOUCH OF A BUTTON'
Byline: GARETH EVANS Education Correspondent firstname.lastname@example.org
A DIGITAL learning platform which could revolutionise the way children are taught in Wales will be launched today by Education Minister Leighton Andrews.
Hwb, a new "virtual learning environment", will be made available to all pupils aged three to 19 in Wales as part of a concerted drive to increase the use of technology in the classroom.
Providing a forum for debate and discussion, Hwb will enable pupils and teachers to share best practice at the touch of a button.
It is hoped the new online platform will break down some of the more physical barriers to learning and help raise school standards overall.
Mr Andrews, himself a keen supporter of technology in schools, said Hwb would transform the way staff teach and engage with pupils.
It has a potentially global reach and allows teachers and learners to access online resources anywhere, at any time and from any internet-enabled device.
Made up of an integrated collection of online tools and services for teachers, learners, governors and parents, it will support learning and teaching for all school-aged pupils in Wales.
Teachers and learners themselves will be able to create and share their own resources, while schools and colleges will develop their own local platforms, tailored to their own needs.
This will be a secure area which only they can access.
Hwb has been piloted in four schools in Cardiff and will be launched across Wales today. Officials will waste no time in implementing the technology, with a full national roll-out expected to take a little over two years.
Eight "digital leaders" will deliver the programme in schools over three different tranches beginning in January.
Teacher training is key and bespoke sessions will be provided to 24 schools a fortnight in each regional education consortium.
Pupils themselves will be given an authenticated and secure "sign in" at the age of three, and they will keep that sign-in throughout their time in school.
Mr Andrews, who will today see Hwb in action at Ysgol Pencae in Cardiff, said: "Hwb is an exciting opportunity for schools to transform the way they teach and engage with pupils.
"It will play a key role in helping schools to share information with parents and involve them in their child's learning, a critical relationship which we know makes a massive difference to outcomes for learners. …