Learning the lessons of a Pandemic
Improving Blended Learning in the Irish Education System
The COVID-19 pandemic fundamentally disrupted the traditional Irish education system, almost overnight, when the decision was made to close schools under public health advice. Schools and educators found themselves quite suddenly under intense pressure to adapt and continue to deliver education across multiple platforms, to a dispersed student body. Students and parents also faced serious challenges to maintain learning and education in a home environment, an unfamiliar experience in a familiar place.
As a stop gap, Wriggle moved to increase its training for teachers on platforms during COVID-19 as an interim measure and we have trained almost 10,000 teachers since schools closed in March, in order to help them adapt.
As schools, parents and teachers continue to adapt to changes brought about because of the pandemic, this report looks at the initial phase, to understand their collective experiences when schools first closed. It also maps out what learnings were identified and what steps should be put into place to help teachers, students and parents deliver a consistent educational experience both inside the classroom as well as digitally.
Wriggle conducted research with 371 schools (181 primary and 190 post-primary) - speaking to principals, deputy principals, teachers and support staff. We also commissioned Amárach to conduct research amongst 2,128 parents of both primary and post-primary pupils to ascertain how the closure of schools and classrooms was impacting them in the immediate aftermath of COVID-19.
This report sets out to show that while COVID-19 disrupted our traditional education model, it also presents an important opportunity to learn from these lessons and to improve it. The report also recognises that teachers are the unsung heroes in maintaining learning. But in doing so they faced serious challenges, which they identified as training, platform indecision, and support, which is largely unmanaged. These challenges need to be addressed to help them adapt to an evolving education model.
Some of the key findings from the report include:
54% of schools only integrated digital platforms into teaching and learning since March 2020.
60% of schools feel their digital learning plans helped them successfully teach remotely.
44% of schools say their remote teaching and learning processes are GDPR compliant.
55% of teachers said they were not comfortable with remote learning technology.
57% of schools said their students had devices fit for remote learning.
74% of teachers want regular training to ensure they can deliver digital learning.
86% of schools see increased staff engagement where digital learning is well integrated with classroom education.
62% of parents described their children’s digital learning experience during lockdown as difficult.
49% of parents want to see standardised technology platforms for education.
40% want to receive clear guidance from schools on remote and digital education policies and procedures.
29% want more equality of success to devices for students.
26% want training for students on digital learning platforms.
For further data and insights, read or download the full report here!