‘World class’ web learning platform launched in Wales

A new scheme launched today in Wales which has created a bilingual learning platform for Wales. Leighton Andrews, Minister for Education and Skills, launched the new platform, called Hwb, at Ysgol Pencae in Cardiff this afternoon. Hoping to connect every student and teacher across Wales as part of broader Welsh government agenda called “Digital Wales”, the aim of Hwb is to help boost the Welsh economy by having a vibrant national technology strategy and to encourage students to begin careers in IT.

The scheme has come about due to disparity between what some schools have as learning resources and what others have. The lack of consistency in digital access for online learning was an issue that needed resolving. The Welsh Government wanted a scheme with the ability to connect all students and teachers in Wales, enabling better sharing, collaboration and ultimately better learning and better outcomes for young people. Creating a common infrastructure would allow students and teachers the ability to work together on a shared platform. It was also important for the platform to be bilingual and cater for resources in both English and Welsh, something which has been achieved by Hwb.

During the launch, the minister spoke to the Headteacher and a year 2 teacher about how Hwb is being used within Ysgol Pencae to improve communications and support teaching and learning. In addition to this, he talked with pupils who have been using Hwb to find out what they think of the platform and how they feel it is benefiting their education. Finally, a parent was able to have their say in how they feel the scheme has impacted upon both their engagement with their child’s learning, and their child’s learning experience.

Mr Andrews said Hwb would "play a key role in helping schools to share information with parents and involve them in their child's learning, a critical relationship which we know makes a massive difference to outcomes for learners. I am confident that Hwb will make a real and significant difference to education outcomes for all learners aged 3-19 and become a truly world-class learning platform for Wales."

By investing in the partner hosted SharePoint 2010 on the Learning Possibilities platform, integrated with Office 365, the Welsh education system now have a central store of Welsh and English digital resources. The local learning platform allows teachers to plan lessons, assign digital homework, communicate and collaborate. Teachers from all over Wales can now share ideas and work together in real-time via Lync. Learning possibilities will work closely with users to deliver secure collaboration between staff and students through a bi-lingual, personalised interface. The platform will also include open public access to resources.

Learning possibilities is entirely focused on offering centrally hosted and managed, scalable and robust learning platforms through its LP+ technology. Knowledge and experiences can now be shared across the whole of Wales between educators and learners. Learners will have the ability to create an ‘account for life’ which will be a personal e-portfolio that stores work throughout their education by using a unique learner number, while teachers are supported by the LP+ ADOPT portal which provides teaching support, professional development and opportunities to collaborate and share best practice.

It is hoped all learners aged 3 to 19 will have access to Hwb by 2015.

Hwb is now live and viewable at https://hwb.wales.gov.uk/Home/Pages/Home.aspx?lang=en

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