|Is e-learning present in national programmes and action plans?||Yes||Malta has two national policies in place that prioritise and focus on ICT and eLearning: (a) The Smart Island – The National ICT Strategy for Malta 2008-2010 and, (b) Smart Learning – Malta’s National e-Learning Strategy 2008-2010. The Smart Island - The National ICT Strategy for Malta has focuses on the following seven pillars to achieve its goals which are (1) Delivering next-generation ICT environment (The Smart Island 2008-2010: 17); (2) A connected society that bridges the last and the new miles - making ICT a social equaliser (The Smart Island 2008-2010: 23); (3) Developing the potential for a Smart workforce by investing in people and nurturing their abilities (The Smart Island 2008-2010: 29); (4) Putting the e in everything using ICT for better quality of life (The Smart Island 2008-2010: 35); (5) Re-inventing government transforming public service delivery and enhancing governance (The Smart Island 2008-2010: 41); (6) Taking care of e-Business creating wealth through ICT (The Smart Island 2008-2010: 49); (7) Developing a world -leading ICT industry making ICT a pillar of the economy (The Smart Island 2008-2010: 55). Smart Learning on the other hand focuses on the following key elements to achieve the National e-Learning Strategy which are (a) e-Learning Strategy Skills achieved by tackling (i) Learners' skills; (ii) Teachers' skills; (iii) Leaders' skills; (b) e-Learning Strategy Infrastructure tackled through (i) Computers and connectivity; (ii) Standards; (iii) e-Learning Platform; (iv) Enabling Management Information. (c) e-Learning Strategy content achieved through (i) Learning resources; (ii) Maltese content; (iii) Content Markets (Smart Learning 2008-2010: 22,23). Between 2009 and 2012 a number of teaching resources were procured by the e-Learning Centre in order that the subject peripatetic teachers would have these resources in hand to show and make practical use of them in the schools where they provide service. At present the following resources are being lent to the various Primary schools to enhance students learning as well to accomplish projects that class teachers decide to embark upon throughout the scholastic year. In the main these resources consist of a number of Tuff-Cam cameras with capabilities to take both pictures and video, Bee-Bots, Pro-Bots and WeDo kits, Easi-Microphones, Easi-Scopes, Talking Books, Nintendo DS and Drawing Tablets. Furthermore each Primary school was supplied with two Bee-Bots to keep permanently on its premises. The use of these robots will help facilitate the learning process behind the theoretical and practical aspects of problem solving in the various subjects taught at this level. In addition during the first half of scholastic year 2011-2012 all Primary and Secondary State schools were equipped with Interactive White Boards (IWBs). The Project also included training for all teachers and support staff on the newly installed boards. During the same scholastic year a number of resources were also procured for Secondary schools and where presently are being utilised in all Computing classes. These resources consist in a number of NXT Robots, Teachers’ manual on NXT activities and digital photo cameras equipped with video facilities to capture images of coursework/projects as part requirement of the evidence that need to be submitted in the examination of this subject. The e-Learning Centre on a continuous basis offers various options for teachers to attend courses throughout the year. Teachers can select their choice of course or courses to attend from a catalogue available to them annually. In addition teachers are obliged to attend three professional development (PD) sessions throughout the scholastic year with one of the sessions purposely dedicated to e-Learning. Although PD sessions are primarily intended for teachers however, most members of the Senior Management Team (SMT) in Primary School do attend to such sessions since it is an opportunity for them to grasp the underpinning issues that need to be met with meeting the requirements of e-Learning in their day-to-day running of their schools. From an infrastructure perspective all school teachers are equipped with a laptop which they can easily connect to an IWB in class where these are already available while all can communicate through Internet via network access points. As regards computers in schools all State Primary schools are equipped with three or four computers depending on the physical size of the class. Kindergarten classes have now also been equipped with a computer per class in an effort to make e-Learning available from a very early age to children who start attending school. All State Secondary Schools, on the other hand, are equipped with a number of Computer rooms, where each is equipped with 16 computers including that of the teacher. As regards standards for Internet and computer safety in schools these are continuously being monitored to meet as much as possible to requirements. At the time of writing the e-Learning Platform is in its third phase. The first two phases included putting the system in place in all primary schools and a 12 hours programme of initial training on the e-Learning Platform. The third and fourth phases, which will also include training for all the educators in Secondary schools should be ready by the middle of scholastic year 2012-2013. In September 2010 a European Social Fund application to the tune of €6m was applied for to populate the platform with the digital learning content required for schools where in particular is targeting the curricular aspects of literacy, numeracy and science all along from Primary right up to Secondary. With regards to the development of Maltese content, a preliminary effort has been attempted by the Education Directorate to work with foreign companies who possibly are willing to consider meeting this requirement. But, as noted the contacts made are still preliminary ones and therefore time would be needed to see whether these contacts will materialise into further developments. In parallel to these efforts, a small unit of e-learning support teachers have produced their first Maltese e-content that will be used from September 2012. The Government is investing heavily in hardware and software (Interactive whiteboards in all classrooms, National Virtual Learning Environment) and continuous support and training of teachers.|
|Is e-learning present in national curricula?||Yes||The National Curriculum Framework (NCF) has identified The following cross-curricular themes as essential for the education of all students and for achieving the aims of education: eLearning, Education for Sustainable Development, Intercultural Education, Education for Entrepreneurship and Creativity & Innovation. The NCF documents states: “Waller and Wilson (2001) define eLearning as the effective learning process created by combining digitally delivered content with (learning) support and services. This definition is a practical one that highlights the interaction required for learning to occur. Through technologies and digital content, eLearning in primary and secondary schools ought to enhance the teaching and learning processes, the interaction among peers, and interactions between students and teachers. eLearning in the primary and secondary schools is driven by the need for increased access to learning which can be facilitated through: Section 2: Principles, Aims and Learning Areas 46 Consultation Document 2: Rationale and Components • a shift to constructivist education philosophies; • a move from teacher to student-centred learning activities; • accessing both local and global resources; • making full use of the potential of technologies to enable children to show and create knowledge; and • an increased complexity of tasks and use of multi-modal information. Furthermore the NCF’s 1st principle in the six general principles states that “every child is entitled to a quality education experience” and thus entitled to contemporary learning approaches, including e-learning. Hence, the NCF promotes, among other aims that can be achieved with technology, learning programmes that empower teachers to implement innovative teaching/learning strategies through the use of eLearning.|
|Are there training initiatives (for teachers, enterprises) using eLearning tools on the national level?||Yes||Training during In Service Training INSETs and professional development has been ongoing since 2008. The e-Learning centre has trained teachers in various Web 2.0 tools over a period of 4 years.|
|Are there dissemination initiatives for awareness raising in place?||Yes||Dissemination initiatives for awareness raising has been in place and for the fourth consecutive year the Education Directorate in collaboration with the industry and other government entities has embarked on a week long event called EMBED: Best use of e-Learning, to promote emerging technologies and showcase the best practices happening in our colleges. During scholastic year 2011-2012, nine e-learning support teachers helped and supported teachers in secondary schools to make better use of the newly installed interactive whiteboard. Their main objective was to identify gaps in teachers’ use of technology in the classroom and address those needs. Support was given either in very small groups or on a one to one basis.|
|Are there national projects on creative classrooms and creative learning environments in place?||No||There are no projects on creative classrooms and creative learning environments in place at this point in time. However, plans are being drawn to extend the positive EMBED: Best use of e-Learning, experience and to create learning spaces where school administrators and teachers can find inspiration and tips on the use of Web 2.0 tools. The main objective would be to help educators experiment with innovative pedagogical approaches within flexible learning spaces.|
External contributions are more than welcome. If you would like to share with us a country, regional or local-level initiative relevant for this DAE action, you can do it via the online form.