How Wales brings digital literacy to every student in the country
Wales has a proud history that covers thousands of years. With more castles per square mile than anywhere in the world and an unbroken literary tradition going back hundreds of years, the people of Wales take pride in the language, culture, and history that sets their country apart from the rest of the United Kingdom.
Strong education is the key to preserving Welsh culture and helping the Welsh people continue to thrive into the 21st century and beyond. Wales is on a national mission to raise standards for all students, to close the attainment gap, and to ensure the education system is a source of national pride.
The Welsh Government introduced a new element to school curriculum known as the Digital Competence Framework (DCF) to prepare students for a digital future. DCF raises digital competency to the same importance as literacy and math in the classroom. It focuses on developing four core digital skills — citizenship, interacting and collaborating, producing, and data and computational thinking — that students can apply across many subjects.
The government supports digital competency with Hwb, a platform where teachers and students can find lesson plans, digital resources, and free educational tools. To support digital literacy, the government also teamed up with Adobe to provide applications that build creative and digital communication skills. Schools can purchase Adobe Creative Cloud licenses through EdTech Service.
To level the playing field even further, over 500,000 students and teachers in primary and secondary schools in Wales have free access to Adobe Spark for Education through Hwb. With Adobe Spark, students can nurture key DCF skills as they collaborate, create, and share their own stories, and solve problems as they design their own Adobe Spark projects and presentations. This marks a new era of digital learning as Wales becomes the first country in the world to grant Adobe Spark access to everyone in the education system.
Engaging Welsh students learning through Adobe Spark
Ysgol Syr Hugh Owen, a secondary school in North Wales, was one school that quickly adopted Adobe Spark. The school has long taken a proactive stance towards bringing technology into the classroom. Adobe Spark provides a fun and creative way for the school’s Welsh teachers to get students involved in Welsh culture and language.
While Adobe Spark provides the templates and tools needed to create truly beautiful projects and presentations, the most important thing for the teachers is learning. Because Adobe Spark is so easy to use, students can spend more time thinking about what they want to communicate.
“We get results that look so professional, but the literacy element is the most important thing for me,” says Mererid Llwyd, DCF coordinator and Welsh teacher at Ysgol Syr Hugh Owen. “Because the digital element is so simple to use, it’s not taking up their time.”
Siân Jones, a Welsh teacher at Ysgol Syr Hugh Owen, asks students to demonstrate their understanding of Welsh mythology by retelling the stories as Adobe Spark videos that combines pictures, animations, and text. Modern students are raised around digital content, so using digital tools helps build excitement and engagement with their culture. “It’s easier for students to remember what they learned if they’ve created a post or video,” says Jones. “It helps them gain a rich knowledge of their own culture, literature, and history.”
Response from students has been very positive. Students love how they can create a unique project that is truly their own, with their own aesthetics, personality, and interests shining through. This individual element encourages students to take pride in their creations and get more involved in lessons. It also helps build confidence for some students, who like having the option to present their thoughts to the class in a visual form.
Delivering Adobe Spark in Welsh
When bringing Adobe Spark to Wales, Adobe made sure to provide all of the support the country would need: from training and educational tools for teachers to language support. That’s why Adobe Spark is available in both English and Welsh.
“Everything’s normally in English online, but I believe it should be the same for Welsh,” says Llwyd. “Having Adobe Spark in Welsh is a great way of making sure that the language stays relevant to students.”
The country of Wales and Adobe will continue to work together and bring other opportunities to the education system.