The European Commission has today unveiled a new tool to help all schools in the EU, as well as in Russia, Georgia and Serbia, to assess how they use digital technology for teaching and learning. In the EU, SELFIE (Self-reflection on Effective Learning by Fostering the use of Innovative Educational Technologies) will be offered to 76.7 million students and teachers in 250,000 schools on a voluntary basis. It is being launched in 24 EU languages with more language versions to follow. Any interested school (upper primary, secondary and vocational education schools) can sign up on the SELFIE platform and run the self-reflection in their school.The Commission’s goal is to reach 1 million students, teachers and school leaders by the end of 2019.
SELFIE is one of the 11 initiatives of the Digital Education Action Plan presented by the Commission in January this year. The Action Plan aims to boost digital skills in Europe and support the innovative use of digital technologies in teaching and learning.
How SELFIE works
Once a school decides to use SELFIE, students, school leaders and teachers reflect on a series of short statements to assess if technology is used in teaching and learning. The tool is modular, and schools can choose from a series of optional statements and add up to eight customised questions to suit their respective needs and priorities. The statements take between 20 and 30 minutes to complete. The school then receives a tailor-made report with the results. The SELFIE School Report can then be used for a dialogue within the school community, to define steps to improve the use of digital technology for better learning. This could include, for example, specific training for teachers or support for students on issues such as online safety. 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 is already available in schools in Serbia, and from early next year, it will be made available to all countries in the Western Balkan region. The first SELFIE conference will be organised in Madrid on 4-5 April 2019 in partnership with the Spanish Ministry of Education. The event will bring together schools from across Europe using the tool, and their experiences and feedback will be used to further improve it.
The Commission will also develop support materials for schools to help them take the steps needed to enhance their use of digital technologies after they have completed SELFIE. And the Commission is exploring potential synergies with existing networks of teachers and schools, in particular eTwinning, an online platform supported by the Erasmus+ programme that has grown into the world’s largest teachers’ network.
The Commission has worked in partnership with ministries of education and a community of experts on digital education from across Europe to develop the SELFIE tool. Partner institutions include the European Training Foundation, the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (CEDEFOP) and UNESCO’s Institute for Information Technologies in Education.
An early version of the tool was tested last year with 650 schools in 14 countries. This pilot produced 67,000 comments on how to further simplify and improve the tool – feedback that was integrated into the version launched now.