More than 35,000 additional laptops will be provided to learners over the next few weeks bringing the total provided by the Welsh Government since the start of the coronavirus pandemic to over 133,000.
At the very beginning of the pandemic education Minister Kirsty Williams made a pledge that ‘no child or family would be left behind during this crisis’ and that ‘all children will have the opportunity to continue learning’.
The Welsh Government made this a priority and its response was praised in a recent independent report that said Wales had ‘led the way’ in providing IT and online learning to pupils at home throughout pandemic.
So how has Wales built on that success to support learners while the coronavirus pandemic continues to disrupt face-to-face teaching?
Supporting digitally excluded learners
The EPI said Wales had ‘led the way’ in supporting digitally excluded learners.
The Welsh Government worked with Local Authorities across Wales to fund almost 11,000 MiFi devices to help those without internet get online and almost 10,000 re-purposed devices to access online learning.
Record breaking remote learning
Usage of the Hwb platform has exploded since remote learning re-convened this term.
Hwb has seen a daily average of over 50 logins a second, providing its users with access to the nationally available Hwb digital services including email and online learning tools.
The platform itself is also recording record logins of over 337,000, with more than one million page views every day.
Free access to state-of-the-art software
All teachers and learners in Wales are able to download Microsoft Office and access Minecraft: Education Edition for free at home on their personal devices.
Making things simple
Through Hwb, the Welsh Government provides schools with a single point of access to a choice of leading online learning packages including Google for Education and the suite of Microsoft applications to support online learning, all in a safe and secure environment.
Teaching the teachers
The Hwb team has continued to offer digital professional development opportunities for staff throughout the pandemic, with 6,295 attendees engaging in 87 live webinars with 9,000 on-demand views of these sessions to date.
There is a wide range of remote learning support materials and guidance available on Hwb.