Sunday 18 February 2018

Exams of future 'will be taken on laptops'

John Walshe Education Editor

The exam halls of the future should have students working away on laptops, rather than slavishly writing by hand for hours on end, it was suggested yesterday.

"The future of learning -- and of assessment -- is digital," said Philip Flynn, chief executive officer of the Digital Hub Development Agency (DHDA).

Mr Flynn said that the lives of young people outside the classroom, where use of computers was commonplace, was not sufficiently reflected in the classroom.

He said that greater use of digital media in the classroom could help to ease the huge burden placed on Leaving and Junior Certificate students.

"We believe digital technologies could be used to much greater effect in ongoing assessment, for example. For subjects that include some project work and pre-exam assessment, digital media hold great potential."

The government agency is charged with delivery of the Digital Hub enterprise and regeneration project in Dublin's South West Inner City.

Mr Flynn said the Government needed to revolutionise Ireland's education system through increasing the use of digital technologies across all curriculums and introducing digital media elements to Junior and Leaving Cert exams. This would reflect the reality of 21st Century learning.

"Students today are very technologically savvy," said Mr Flynn.

"They are used to playing computer games; they use social networking sites to maintain contact with their friends; they have mobile phones and other digital media devices from an early age.

"But when they go to school, their use of -- and interest in -- digital media is not reflected in the classroom environment."

The Digital Hub is currently involved in a project that aims to redefine the existing definition of literacy.

"In the 21st Century, it is not enough to speak of literacy purely in relation to reading, writing and numeracy.

"In this day and age, people without digital skills will be left behind, and the very concept of literacy must be redefined to reflect this reality.


"Unless Ireland takes immediate action to equip students with digital media resources and knowledge, we will end up in a situation where our digital literacy levels are appallingly low, compared to those of our economic competitors.

"If this happens, there will be hugely negative consequences for the Irish economy."

Mr Flynn was speaking today at the launch of 'Elevate -- Learning at The Digital Hub', a new brand for all learning activities organised by the DHDA.

Since 2003, The Digital Hub has delivered a range of learning projects through local schools and community organisations in Dublin's South West Inner City.

All of these projects will now fall under the 'Elevate' banner.

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