Project Co-ordinator: Department of Education and Skills, Ireland
The Department of Education and Skills is the government department (Ministry) charged with administering the education system in Ireland. Its mission is to provide high-quality education, which will enable individuals to achieve their full potential and to participate fully as members of society, and contribute to Ireland’s social, cultural and economic development. In pursuit of this mission, it has the following high-level goals: to promote equity and inclusion; to promote quality outcomes; to promote lifelong learning; to plan for education that is relevant to personal, social, cultural and economic needs; to enhance the capacity of the Department of Education and Skills for service delivery, policy formulation, research and evaluation.
Operational Co-ordinator: H2, Ireland
H2 is a professional services organisation, providing a range of services in the area of ICT and education. H2 has extensive knowledge of the education sector, specifically in the use of information communication technology (ICT) to enhance teaching and learning in formal education. H2 have developed an expertise in multi-disciplinary project management over the past ten years as a result of working on a range of government and private sector projects. H2 has extensive experience in integrating technology and digital media into educational programmes to effectively transform how teachers teach and learners learn. The organisation was founded in 2002 by the principal consultants, Michael Hallissy and John Hurley. H2’s core business is education consultancy and the principal consultants have extensive experience in the education sector as teachers, national ICT advisors, policy creators and consultants. In addition to the core team H2 has an ever-expanding network of associates who join the H2 Team on a project-by-project basis. The team consists of academics, subject matter experts, content developers, evaluators, project managers and web designers.
Danube University Krems, Austria. As the only state owned university in Europe that has specialised in postgraduate continuing education, the university is facing up to the technological and social challenges of lifelong learning and implementing innovation in education, both in research and teaching. The university was established in 1995, has 3 faculties, 445 employees (118 academic staff) and manages 212 postgraduate study programmes for a total of 5692 students from 78 countries, including Master programmes in Education and Media, Business and Law, Health and Medicine, and various other disciplines.
The university's Department of Interactive Media and Educational Technologies (IMB) focuses on the design, implementation and evaluation of new didactic scenarios that have arisen in conjunction with interactive media and innovative learning technologies.
The Center for Control and Assessment of the Quality in School Education, Bulgaria is a state scientific department of the Ministry of Education and Science founded in 2005. CCAQSE main activities are:
- developing models and mechanisms for school-based evaluation and assessment;
- developing systems for control of the quality in education in Bulgarian schools;
- developing test materials for different kinds of state examinations; administrating school, regional and state examinations;
- organisation and implementation of scientific research on ICT implementation in school education;
- administration of education information systems for state exams.
The Cyprus Pedagogical Institute (CPI) was founded in 1973. The Institute envisages the improvement of the quality of the educational system, the school curriculum, and teaching methods and techniques. It focuses on the development of all levels of education and its main activities involve the in-service training of teachers, educational research, educational documentation and educational technology. The in-service training offers continuous professional development programs for teachers at all levels of education. The educational research and evaluation focuses on undertaking small-scale and large-scale research projects and on the organization and conducting of seminars concerning the methodology of educational research and evaluation.
Microsoft Ireland Operations Ltd. first opened its doors in Ireland in 1985 with a small manufacturing facility employing just over one hundred people. Since that time, Microsoft Ireland has grown to encompass four distinct operations at its campus in Sandyford in Dublin, employing over 1,200 full time employees and 700 full-time contract staff. Microsoft's operations in Ireland include software development and testing, localisation, operations, finance, IT, HR and sales & marketing, both here in Ireland and across Europe, Middle East and Africa. Microsoft Ireland has a long tradition working with the Department of Education in Ireland. The project lead spent the last year working with the NCCA and the Department exploring the options for ePortfolio deployed in Ireland and has made a number of recommendations to the Department. Microsoft Ireland will support a number of schools in the pilot on successful awarding of the grant.
National Council for Curriculum and Assessment, Ireland. The NCCA is currently preparing for a major reform of curriculum and assessment at lower second level - Towards a Framework for Junior Cycle. The focus on learning and on the role of the learner will be new, as will the attention paid to their progress in learning. The Framework for Junior Cycle will provide schools with greater autonomy and more flexibility than they have at present as they plan and organise junior cycle programmes that focus on the learning taking place in classrooms in each year of junior cycle. The framework is designed to encourage innovation in schooling and teaching and creative learning in the classroom. It will also facilitate the school in ensuring that literacy, numeracy and key skills are embedded in the learning. Good assessment, good teaching and good learning are very closely related and are part of everyday classroom practice.
In the new junior cycle, teachers will continue to assess and report on their students’ progress and achievement. This will involve them and their students in the process of generating, gathering, judging and reporting on evidence of learning as has always been the case. But in the new junior cycle a closer relationship between assessment and learning is envisaged, a relationship supported by a reduced focus on assessment in terminal examinations.
Assessment in the new junior cycle will be seen as inextricably linked, on an everyday basis, to the learning taking place. Students should be more involved in, and more responsible for, gathering and presenting evidence of that learning. In general terms, the teacher’s role lies in giving feedback on and reporting on, evidence of learning. ePortfolios will form an integral part form a central part of the learning and assessment process.
The NCCA has already established a network of 48 schools to work with in developing the new junior cycle framework. It is planned to work with a sample schools from this to focus on developing, testing and implementing a pilot in the use of ePortfolios for assessment and learning.
Findings and evidence of practice from the project will contribute to the current national developments for the junior cycle policy and operations. Collaboration with teachers, school leaders, students and parents in the representative sample of schools, alongside industry partners and education partners, will provide an invaluable strategic insight from all perspectives into the various issues which will have a bearing on successful integration of ePortfolios in assessment and learning in practice.
The State Examinations Commission, Ireland is responsible for the development, assessment, accreditation and certification of the second-level examinations of the Irish state: the Junior Certificate and the Leaving Certificate. An organisation of 150 staff, the SEC is involved in the provision of 1.8 million individual test items to 120,000 students annually. Current assessment methodologies include point in time written examinations, oral tests, aural tests, practical performance tests, project and practical coursework. Use of ICT applications in assessment is currently limited and the SEC is keen to explore developments in the field of e-assessment with a view to assessing the potential for use of e-Portfolios in the national assessment system particularly in the context of reform of the Junior Cycle. The emergence of the ePortfolio as an assessment tool has taken place in line with the assessment reform trend of closer integration between formative and summative assessment which is the context in which Junior Cycle reform is being considered.
Dublin West Education Centre (DWEC), Ireland is established under the Education Act 1998 (Section 37). It provides training, development and support for teachers and the wider school community. It is involved as a major strategic resource within education in a range of national and other projects, programmes and initiatives as may be decided by the Minister. In this context it has managed with the Department of Education & Skills (DES) since 1999 the major support service for teachers in Ireland, now named the Professional Development Service for Teachers (PDST). The PDST supports all primary and post-primary teachers in Ireland in the areas of curriculum and school leadership. It is poised to play a leading role in the Government’s upcoming reform agenda for lower second level schools. In 2012 the National Centre for Technology in Education (NCTE) was integrated into the PDST. This will enable the PDST to integrate ICT more fully into all its activities and in particular into the major rolling reform of curriculum and assessment at lower second level.
The Centre of Information Technologies in Education (CITE), Lithuania is a governmental organisation under the Ministry of Education and Science (MoE) of Lithuania responsible for implementation of strategies and programmes for ICT implementation in education. CITE was founded by MoE in 1991 and re-organised in 2000. CITE actions are focused on several areas: coordination of national strategies and programmes on ICT implementation in education; initiation and coordination of international cooperation on ICT implementation in education; development, accumulation and dissemination of digital educational content and services; organization and implementation of scientific research on ICT implementation in education; administration of educational portals and education management information systems.
Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport, Republic of Slovenia. The staff of MESCS will provide policy development and strategy support for the aims of the project, transnational cooperation on the policy level and evaluation. During the project the MESCS staff will ensure continuous development of policy and strategy with national and transnational team of the project.
The main objectives of the MESCS pilot project are:
- To research and develop of the ePorfolio in policy and strategy at national and transnational levels
- to encourage and systematically support and observe experts and teachers in the development of the ePortfolios.
The National Education Institute of the Republic of Slovenia. The National Education Institute – NEI (Zavod RS za šolstvo) was founded in 1954. The independent institution named The Educational Research Institute presented the basis for all future developments of the institute and for the work and progress in the field of education. In the period from 1959 to 1995 the institute had gone through several reorganisations and fusion with other professional bodies on the national level. In 1989 it was put under jurisdiction of the Ministry of Education and Sports. The last important change in the formal status occurred in 1995 when the government passed the act of foundation of a public institute for the purposes of counselling, research and development in the field of education. Today it is a national authority which performs research and development tasks by linking theory and practice form various conceptual solutions in the field of education.
The Educational Research Institute (ERI), Slovenia is the central research institution in Slovenia for research in education undertaking basic research, development and applied projects on issues of current interest in all sectors of education and related areas. The Educational Research Institute was established in 1965 by the Government of the Republic of Slovenia, as an institute devoted to the study of education. From 1970 the ERI was associated with the University of Ljubljana until the 1995 when, with an act of the Government of Slovenia, ERI obtained the status of the public research institution and thus became an independent research institute. ERI is a founding member of the European Educational Research Association (EERA). It is an institutional member of the IEA - The International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement. Currently 40 people are employed at ERI, the majority are research staff.
The Galician Regional Ministry of Education, Spain has the responsibility for educational provision in Galicia, is responsible for educational standards and the training and development of the schools. As part of the role, the organisation works with schools and school staff on the implementation of regional initiatives to meet school improvement priorities and to share in and support innovation in teaching, learning and school leadership. They are responsible for implementation of the use of ePortfolio in a large number of Galician schools since 2005, by supporting the schools with the different Portfolio materials and with in-service training along with the coordination and supervision of its implementation.
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