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The Joint Research Centre (JRC) is the European Commission's science and knowledge service which employs scientists to carry out research in order to provide independent scientific advice and support to EU policy.
Today marks one year since the launch of SELFIE (Self-reflection on Effective Learning by Fostering Innovation through Educational technology), the European Commission's free online tool that helps schools assess and improve the ways they use technology for teaching and learning.
Over 450,000 students, teachers and school leaders in 45 countries have used the tool so far, and this figure is expected to exceed 500,000 by the end of 2019.
Commenting on the first anniversary, Tibor Navracsics, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, responsible for the Joint Research Centre, said: “I am pleased that the SELFIE tool is being used in so many diverse schools, helping teachers and students discuss how best to use new technologies in teaching and learning, and boosting their digital skills. Schools themselves are learning organisations, and with SELFIE they can take stock of where they are at on their digital journey and set their future course.”
SELFIE is continuously being improved through user testing and gathering feedback from schools.
New features include a video guide for schools on setting up and customising the tool and the possibility of comparing results to previous SELFIE exercises in the same school.
In 2020, further support and training materials will be developed, including a Massive Open Online Course for schools on SELFIE and how its results can be used by teachers to improve teaching and learning with the support of digital technologies.
A version of SELFIE for work-based vocational education and training is also due to start in January 2020.
“We are using digital technologies for many years, but we have not had a proper evaluation of how we are doing, our weaknesses, and what the students think about technology use at our school.
Through SELFIE, we know that we can improve things like data protection, safer use of the internet, and social networks. We also need to boost the confidence of teachers with more training and support in using technology.” School principal, Spain.
“SELFIE made consensus easier because it prompted us to have detailed discussions about digital learning. Our approach to digital learning is that it becomes almost an invisible aspect of school, that technology is there when the children need it the most and when it is going to improve the learning outcomes of each individual child.” School Principal, Ireland.
“Students are happier as the quality of the computer classes has improved as a result of the interventions that took place after we received the SELFIE Report.” Teacher, Greece.
“We have clearer goals now and we are working to address the different viewpoints that we saw through SELFIE school report”. Teacher, Italy.
Funded through the Erasmus+ programme, SELFIE involves the whole school community – teachers, school leaders, and students – in reflecting on a series of questions and statements on technology use in six areas including student digital skills, teacher professional development, infrastructure and leadership. Participation is voluntary.
Each school can set up the questions to suit its needs, choosing from optional statements and adding its own questions.
Once students, teachers and school leaders have replied, the school receives a custom report with data and insights.
These findings can help a school see what is working well and less well, and identify areas where action is needed (for instance whether teachers are satisfied with the training they receive; what part of the infrastructure students would want to improve; whether the school has a vision for how it wants to use technology and, if so, whether this has been communicated to staff and students).
All responses to SELFIE are anonymous, and no personal data is collected. The data will not be used to rank schools or education systems.
SELFIE has been developed by the Commission with a team of education experts from across Europe, and is available in 31 languages (24 EU official languages as well as Albanian, Georgian, Macedonian, Serbian, Montenegrin, Russian, and Turkish). It can be used in upper primary, secondary and vocational education and training schools.
SELFIE is one of the 11 initiatives of the Digital Education Action Plan that was adopted by the Commission in January 2018 and runs until the end of 2020. The Action Plan aims at boosting digital skills in Europe and supporting the innovative use of digital technologies for teaching and learning. It is one of several Commission initiatives laying the foundations of a European Education Area.