An Irish-led team has secured €300,000 in EU funding to develop resources to help second-level teachers deliver learning in a digital age.
Prompted by the ongoing coronavirus crisis and its impact on learning, the two-year project focuses on developing practical tools to help teachers deliver effective and engaging learning in a digital space.
The project will focus on the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework to improve teaching and learning created by US non-profit Cast.
Titled Blended Learning in Schools: A Universal Design Approach, the project 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 tools and resources we will develop aim to support teachers and schools to develop inclusive strategies for the digital provision of teaching and learning in their own educational context, with an overarching goal of ensuring high levels of student engagement no matter what the mode of content delivery,” said Deirdre Green, programme manager at the Learnovate Centre.
“The potential for digital delivery to help avoid an interruption in teaching and learning was shown during the lockdowns, but we also saw the need for flexibility going forward to deal with the variety of contexts teachers and students face.”
The Irish team will work with its international partners representing a mix of second-level teachers and education researchers.
Also part of the project is a professional development module, which will be developed and made accessible across networks of educators in Europe.
The project is co-funded by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union.
“This project aims to capitalise on the learnings from the Covid-19 crisis, which highlighted the particular importance of maintaining meaningful connections with students in areas of socio-economic disadvantage during periods of remote learning,” said Dr Aibhín Bray of the School of Education and Trinity Access. “By developing UDL in this space, we hope to guide teachers in translating effective and inclusive pedagogic practices into the online environment and, with a focus on student connection and engagement, to support the delivery of high-quality, inclusive digital education.”