hwb“The internet at school is useless”, I’ve heard over the dinner table.   It’s the view of a frustrated 14 year-old, but it’s true. We can do more online at home than the kids can do at school. How can our children get ready for life in a digital world with the online equivalent of a writing slate?  Well one possible answer is  Hwb.

Hwb is a safe digital learning environment designed specifically for schools. It’s provided by Welsh Government and since 2012 some counties have been lapping it up and applying for Government money to install it in their schools.

Janet Hayward is a primary Headteacher and Chair of the National Digital Learning Council for Wales.
“Our starting point for this vision is the belief that teachers and learners now live in a world where communication and knowledge are routinely digital and highly interactive, and that the processes of learning and teaching can, and must, take advantage of what digital technologies offer.”

Rosie Davies lives in St Davids and teaches at Dyffryn Taf School in Carmarthenshire. “We’ve been using Hwb for some time. It is a full suite of MS Office 365 available online for every learner, along with an interface where students can access documents, videos, images etc and upload their own. We have used it to instigate and manage the delivery and assessment of The Welsh Baccalaureate, develop a literacy blogging project, to provide collaboration between groups of learners – wherever their location – and generate 24/7 access for
all learners to course support materials.”

Hwb is designed to work from nursery to A-level, and for each school that signs up access is provided for every staff member, pupil, parent and governor free of charge. Hwb on its own won’t cut surplus places or save 6th forms, but if it becomes a central part of school life, then it’s a short step to distance learning and all the advantages that would bring.