Ms Jan O’Sullivan T.D., Minister for Education and Skills today launched a new “Massive Open Online Course” (MOOC) called “21st Century Learning Design” which will be used by teachers across the globe to help support the objective of bringing more technology skills into the classroom.

The course will be available through the Microsoft Educator Community, an online portal accessible to the educators across the globe. Dublin-based St. Patrick’s College, DCU and H2 Learning, an Irish eLearning services and consultancy organisation, have collaborated to develop the new course.

Speaking at the launch, Minister O’Sullivan said: “This is a timely resource for the teaching profession globally – and specifically here in Ireland. This course for teachers came about as the result of extensive collaboration involving a range of stakeholders and its production is an example of how people work in today’s 21st century global economy. This “Smart Partnership” brings together foreign direct investment through the involvement of Microsoft, the public sector in St Patrick’s College, DCU and the Irish SME sector in H2 Learning. All parties brought unique skills and perspectives to the project which has resulted in an invaluable resource which will now be available to the global teaching community. I am proud that Ireland’s academic community has been at the heart of this project and that through this MOOC we will be exporting knowledge and tools that can help equip young people across the globe with the skills they need to enhance their futures. Its launch is particularly timely in Ireland as it follows the publication of the Digital Strategy for Schools.”

Regina Murray, Microsoft’s Head of Education for Europe stated: “21CLD is a major part of our commitment to support teacher professional learning. The constantly changing world that we live in presents tremendous opportunity for young people but we in industry as well as the education community have a responsibility to ensure that they have the skills to help them exploit those opportunities fully. Teachers are central to this goal. We have worked with teachers for many years, supporting them as they seek to integrate digital technologies into the classroom and to help them constantly upskill. This new course adds to the materials, programmes and assets already available and we believe it will be a catalyst for change as it makes the tools and information even more accessible than ever before.”

The 21CLD MOOC provides a rationale for the need to develop 21st century skills among students. It presents the key 21st century skills of collaboration, knowledge construction, self-regulation, problem-solving and innovation, skilled communication, and the use of ICT for learning. It explores what learning looks like in the 21st century and how innovative teaching practices can support student learning to develop these skills. It also demonstrates 21CLD in action using video footage from teachers around the world. Dr. Deirdre Butler is the main presenter on the course.

21CLD includes examples of best practice from practicing teachers in Finland, Canada, South Africa, England, Demark, Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore. Featured in the 21CLD MOOC are Kate Murray Principal of St. Augustine’s National School, Clontuskert, Co. Galway and Barry Corrigan who teaches in Millennium Integrated Primary School, Saintfield, Co. Down. These teachers used video to document their own approaches to 21st century learning design and highlight how the 21st century skills can be developed among pupils of all ages and across all the curriculum areas.

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