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#28daysofwriting – What’s this Hwb all about then?

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It’s probably worth stating my normal disclaimer at this point. This post is a personal reflection and in no way should be taken as an official Welsh Government document. Any errors are mine.

An old adage states that you should write about what you know.  Right now, most of my working time spent working with schools and teachers on the Hwb project, so this week I think I’m going to try and link my posts to that.  A large chunk will only be relevant to teachers in Wales, but I’ll try to include points that would be relevant regardless of where you are teaching.

So, let us start at the beginning. What is Hwb?

The project was born from a report commissioned by the then Education Minister Leighton Andrews. He put together a group of teachers and other interested parties to look at the state of Digital Learning in Wales.  They found,  as many reports seem to, that there were pockets of excellent practice,  but huge variation and many areas where there were significant barriers to adoption. The ‘Find it, Make it, Use it, Share it’ report (pdf) made a series of recommendations to the Minister,  which he adopted.  As a result Welsh Govt centrally purchased a learning platform for every school in Wales, and created a national content repository to succeed the NGfL Cymru project which had been running for the ten years prior to this. A team was also put in place to help roll this out, and a ‘National Digital Learning Council’ was formed to steer the future of the project.

The main project website – hwb.wales.gov.uk provides a dashboard to a series of resources,  some of which are open to the world, with no log in required. They include:

  • Access to over 88 ,000 bilingual teaching resources, matched to the Welsh curriculum but many suitable for teaching in any other part of the UK and beyond.
  • Online booking for free half day training events run by WG Digital Leaders – everything from ‘getting started’ to sessions for senior leaders to help them understand how to link the resources offered by the project to their school improvement plans. We also have courses looking specifically at elements linking to the Literacy and Numeracy framework, and more advanced courses on assessment and customising school sites
  • A community section, which will shortly contain access to ‘Hwb Networks’ – free online PLCs for teachers to join or create
  • An E-Safety area with content provided by South West Grid for Learning. This includes an area targeted at parents, and a complete Digital Literacy resource bank, including lesson plans and resources for each year group from reception up – each linked to the Welsh curriculum and the LNF
  • A help area including pdf guides and videos for the various tools, and some ideas for using Hwb+ to achieve outcomes against the LNF – Around 120 documents that take the year by year descriptors from the 70 strands of the LNF and look at possible routes to achieve them using Hwb+, and where appropriate linking back to other resources on Hwb.
Every teacher and learner in Wales also have a username and password which is held by their school, and generated automatically from the schools MIS (registers). Tomorrow we’ll look at the features that you get access to once you’ve logged in.

Dave Stacey

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