Hwb, a bilingual all Wales virtual learning environment, allows teachers and learners to access online resources anywhere, at anytime and from any internet enabled device and is set to transform teaching and learning across Wales.
Made up of an integrated collection of online tools and services for teachers, learners, governors, parents/carers and other stakeholders, it will support learning and teaching for 3-19 year olds in Wales.
Teachers and learners will be able to create and share their own resources, to work collaboratively, and to have access to tools and content hosted across the web.
Schools and colleges will also have the opportunity to create and host their own local platforms, tailored to their own needs through Hwb+. This will be a secure area which only they can access.
Hwb has been piloted in four schools in Cardiff but will be launched across Wales today.
Speaking ahead of a visit to Ysgol Pencae, one of the pilot schools, where the Minister will observe a lesson using Hwb, Mr Andrews said: “Hwb is an exciting opportunity for schools to transform the way they teach and engage with pupils.
“It will 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.”
Hwb is a Programme for Government commitment and its creation has been guided by recommendations from the Digital Classroom Teaching Task and Finish Group. The group’s report - Find it, Make ,it Use it, Share it – Learning in Digital Wales- was published in March 2012. Following this publication, the Minister set out a number of measures to improve the use of digital technologies in schools, including an additional £3million of funding over the next three years to help improve computer science, digital literacy and ICT in schools and colleges across Wales.
Hwb is also a key element of the School Improvement Plan which was announced by the Minister on the 20th October.
The services delivered through Hwb will be those which support all the key aspects of the improving schools programme – effective learning and teaching, effective leadership, and partnerships.
Hwb has been supplied by Learning Possibilities. The company has a long and varied history of building and implementing e-learning solutions across a range of countries and cultures, and have developed a wealth of experience and expertise in this field.
The Minister added:
“This is a large project and we are rolling it out in stages, engaging with all stakeholders, including further education colleges and other providers, throughout this process.
“Our goal is to ensure all 3–19 learners in Wales are provided with authenticated access to Hwb by June 2015.
“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.”