An Irish-led team has secured €300,000 in funding to develop a series of resources for second-level teachers to help them deliver learning in a digital age.
During the school closures that resulted from Covid-19, teachers had to quickly adapt their methods to teach remotely.
Research reports identified several issues experienced during the rapid move online including a fall in student engagement as well as issues with collaboration and communication and delivering learning to those in disadvantaged circumstances.
The aim of this two-year project is to ensure that distance, online and blended learning is effective, inclusive and engaging. It will focus on developing practical tools to empower teachers to deliver effective and engaging learning in a digital space – whether completely remote such as during school closures or as part of a blended approach.
The project — called ‘Blended Learning in Schools: A Universal Design Approach’ — is a partnership between The Learnovate Centre, the School of Education and Trinity Access at Trinity College Dublin along with European partners in Spain, Belgium and Greece.
The Learnovate Centre is a global research and innovation centre in learning technologies, funded by Enterprise Ireland. Trinity Access is a Widening Participation programme that aims to increase access and participation of under-represented groups at third-level.
The Irish team will be working with international partners from Greece, Belgium and Spain representing a mix of second-level teachers and education researchers. A related professional development module will also be developed and made openly accessible across the wider networks of educators in Europe.
The project is co-funded by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union, which supports education, training, youth and sport in Europe.
The project will focus on the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework, created by CAST, a US-based non-profit education, research and development organisation. UDL is a recognised framework to improve teaching and learning for all by taking an inclusive approach to offer all students equal opportunities.