The European Commission has launched the trial version of a new tool to support schools in using digital technologies. 600 schools from 14 countries have the opportunity to try the new 'SELFIE' tool in this pilot phase, before it is finalised and made available to interested schools in Europe early 2018.
Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, Tibor Navracsics, said: "The new SELFIE tool will support European schools who want to see how well they are using digital technologies for better learning outcomes. Digital knowledge is indispensable in today's world. In the future, 9 out of 10 jobs will require digital skills. Moreover, digital skills are vital to ensure people can use new technologies confidently and safely and be fully engaged members of society. That is why schools need to be prepared to equip their pupils with the right set of skills from the very beginning."
Digital technologies offer new opportunities to improve learning and teaching. Integrating these technologies in a meaningful way, however, remains a challenge for schools, and the mere presence of digital equipment does not translate into better learning outcomes. The new SELFIE tool, which stands for "self-reflection on effective learning by fostering innovation through educational technology", helps schools assess their strengths and weaknesses in order to make the most of digital technologies in their teaching activities.
SELFIE is being developed by the European Commission, together with experts from across Europe.
Focus on learning not technology
SELFIE asks a series of questions to teachers, school leaders and students to provide a snapshot of the use of digital technologies for learning at their school. The tool focuses primarily on learning rather than technology, and takes all dimensions into account including school strategies, teaching practices, infrastructure, curricula and student experience.
Improvement not comparison
All data is anonymous and cannot be tracked to individual schools, students or teachers. Answers are used to develop a report for each school indicating strengths, weaknesses and areas for improvement. This report is intended for dialogue and reflection within the school. The focus is on progress so SELFIE can be used by any school, not only the ones that are digital 'champions' or highly innovative.
Launch in 2018
For the design of SELFIE, the Commission has worked with 70 education experts and received input from 5000 school leaders, teachers and students. The project is now in its pilot phase. National coordinators in each country are presenting the tool to schools and facilitating its testing in 14 countries (11 EU member states plus Serbia, Georgia and Russia). Additional research (e.g. focus groups, case studies) will follow to have the final version of SELFIE up and running by early 2018. The map of participating schools is now available on-line.
How does it work?
SELFIE stands for Self-reflection on Effective Learning by Fostering Innovation through Educational Technology. Its basic assumption is that a ´digitally-capable school´ that promotes digital-age learning follows both a top-down and bottom-up approach and is responsive and supportive to the needs and views all members of the school community. That is why SELFIE involves key actors: school leaders, teachers and students. It does not follow a 'one-size-fits-all' approach, instead it is fully customisable for each school.
SELFIE is based on the Digitally-Competent Educational Organisations framework that offers a detailed description of what it takes for educational organisations to be digitally competent. The project is developed by the European Commission's Joint Research Centre and the Directorate General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture. The new tool supports the EU policy goals of improving digital skills and learning and the initiative on school development and excellent teaching for a great start in life.
The self-assessment tool for schools is based on a set of core questions and a number of customisable modules to adjust to the different school contexts and educational systems.
- Schools from Belgium (Flanders), Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Malta, Spain, UK (Northern Ireland) as well as from Georgia and Serbia will participate in SELFIE school pilots. In collaboration with UNESCO's Institute for Information Technologies in Education, a number of schools in Russia will also test the SELFIE tool.
- During September, SELFIE national coordinators conducted webinars and seminars to present the tool to school coordinators in each country and explain the pilot process.
- The pilot implementation is planned for the last week of September and first week of October 2017.
Find out more about SELFIE.
On Twitter #SELFIE_EU