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Frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions

Here is a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) and answers on the Digital Schools Awards European pilot programme and related topics.

Pilot schools start their journey by registering on www.awards4SELFIE.eu and undergoing a whole-school self-evaluation using the European Commission’s SELFIE tool. Participating schools will receive dedicated support and resources to create and implement a whole school development plan. Schools will be invited to share evidence of good practice. When ready, schools can apply for recognition under the Digital Schools Awards scheme. The award process is carried out in stages and should be completed by December 2021.

The SELFIE Digital Schools Awards programme is currently being piloted in 75 secondary schools in five countries and is by invitation. If successful, the ambition is to extend the programme to all schools in Europe.

Participation in the programme brings many benefits – service and access to a digital education support network; a toolkit to develop a digital technology strategy for every school; links with other schools in Europe, and external recognition through a European award.

Schools who register to become a Digital School will have the opportunity to:

  • Assess how they are doing in terms of integrating digital technology in teaching, learning and assessment
  • Get recognition for their achievements under clear criteria
  • Get practical support and training to improve their use of digital technology.

The main aim of the programme is to build on the already significant progress made by schools in digital learning and teaching and to encourage them to strive for further progression and improvement. The programme also endeavours to raise the profile of digital education practices in schools and recognise the achievements of schools and teachers.

The ambition is to sign up 75 schools from five countries - Ireland, Lithuania, Scotland, Serbia and Slovenia - in the first year.

The programme partners are committed to the programme for two years after which time they will explore how it can be brought to more schools across Europe. Another long-term ambition would be for Digital Schools Awards to come to be seen as the digital equivalent to the Green Schools or Eco Schools programme which has been so successful in terms of environmental sustainability.

The technology industry, led by HP are committed to supporting the Digital Schools Awards and have a long held, strong commitment to supporting education globally. They recognise the importance of a modern learning environment which will prepare children for the future and the importance of investing in education to support economic growth. The Digital Schools Awards European pilot initiative builds on the successful programme in the UK and Ireland and has the potential to be a powerful driver in inspiring greater numbers of schools and empowering young people through use of digital technology.

The Digital Schools Awards is part of HP’s global sustainability commitment to helping enable better learning outcomes for 100 million people by 2025.

The school will have registered for the award, completed SELFIE self-assessment, uploaded evidence against the required and any optional award criteria and submitted a request for validation.

Yes. Schools will be selected on the basis of their interest in using the European Commission’s SELFIE tool for self-assessment.

Schools are encouraged to submit evidence which is selective, representative and typical of best practice in the school. For each criteria a suggested range of evidence is provided as a guide.

Yes. Where schools have undertaken work in optional criteria for example Infrastructure and Equipment and Assessment, they should include evidence in their submission.

The timeframe will depend on the availability of the validator and the school but ideally should not be less than 10 days or more than 3-4 weeks.

If the school is not available, an alternative date will be arranged. If the validator is not available, another validator may be assigned or alternative date will be arranged.

Validators are garda vetted and a record of certification should be available for schools should they request it.

The validator will make a recommendation to the programme steering group to award. The programme steering group is made up of representatives from the programme partners, including government, industry and education.

The school may seek a review by request to the programme country coordinator. In most cases, discussion between the validator and the school will resolve any disagreements. It is the school’s responsibility to ensure that sufficient evidence is presented to show that it complies with the statements contained in the award criteria.

Validators should satisfy themselves that the school’s evidence is representative. Successful schools are those where the validator is confident that when pupils are moving from subject to subject, their overall experience is one of digitally enhanced teaching and learning even though some classes may not provide digitally rich experiences.

Clearly broadband is an important issue for schools, however broadband provision is not within the scope of this programme. Digital Schools Awards is all about helping schools to make the best possible use of the resources they have at their disposal.

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