This project (2018-1-SE01-KA201-039098) has been funded with support from the European Commission.
This web site reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission.
This web site reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

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School directors and Policy Makers

Strategies to implement innovative ICT based approaches to teach Sciences at Secondary school level.

The guidelines aim at providing science secondary school teachers with the competences to make an effective use of ICT based science teaching learning objects.

School Directors’ and Policy Makers’ Guidelines

3 Recommendations to Encourage Professional Development in the Integration of ICT in Science Teaching
3.1 Priority Areas: Policy Makers and School Directors role in CPD in ICT for Teachers
3.1.4 Europe
Digital technologies are an inseparable part of today's learning process. The European Commission (EC) works on several policy initiatives in order to modernise education and training, provides funding for research and innovation in order to promote digital technologies used for learning and measures the progress on digitization of schools.

The EU member countries no doubt have their fingers on the pulse when it comes to policy, funding and implementation. The EC team responsible for this area is Interactive Technologies, Digital for Culture & Education (Unit G.2). The Unit’s mission is to support the digital transformation of cultural and education institutions by: promoting the digitisation of cultural heritage and its wider access and reuse through new technologies and the further development of Europeana as the European cultural hub; fostering the modernisation of education and training systems in an age of rapid technological change; supporting policy, research, innovation and the wider take-up of interactive technologies, learning technologies and connectivity to allow European citizens to have a richer experience of cultural and educational content and to allow European business to create value from cultural content.

The Unit coordinates these Digital Service Infrastructures (“DSIs”) under the Connecting Europe Facility Programme: Europeana, the e-Archiving building block and the future EU Student eCard. Among the initiatives relevant for Continuous Professional Development are:

The Action plan on Digital Learning: The European Commission has adopted on 17 January 2018 the Communication on the Digital Education Action Plan. The Action Plan outlines how the EU can help individuals, educational institutions and education systems to better adapt for life and work in an age of rapid digital change by: Making better use of digital technology for teaching and learning; Developing relevant digital competences and skills for the digital transformation; Improving education through better data analysis and foresight.

Improving and modernising education: In December 2016, the European Commission also adopted a Communication on improving and modernising education in order to provide a high-quality education for all, highlighting amongst others the benefits of digital technologies for offering new ways of learning.

Opening up education: In October 2013 EC published, a high-level European Agenda to seize the opportunities of the digital revolution in education and training, as well as the Communication on Rethinking Education adopted on 20 November 2012, investing in skills for better socio-economic outcomes.

Funding of Research and Innovation for Digital Learning: The European Commission funds many activities on research and innovation for digital learning under several programmes, including Horizon 2020, FP7 and CIP.

Calls for proposals that may encourage experienced practitioners to disseminate their experience and expertise as mentors to schools. Mentoring Scheme for schools: mainstreaming innovation by spreading the advanced ICT-based teaching practices to a wide circle of schools (€2 M) Date of publication: 05/11/2019, Date of closing: 12/03/2020

Measuring the progress on digitization of schools: In order to assess progress made in the introduction of ICT in education, the Commission has completed its plans to update "The Survey of Schools: ICT in Education". This first study was the last in-depth analysis on the uptake of technology in classrooms across Europe, with data collected in 2011-2012. It provided detailed and reliable benchmarking on the use of ICT in school education across Europe, from infrastructure provision to use, confidence and attitudes. In 2019 the results of an updated survey were published, addressing the need to provide more up-to-date figures to assess progress made in mainstreaming ICT in education and define the conditions for the future connected classroom.

The 2nd Survey of Schools: ICT in Education was carried out in 31 countries (EU28, Norway, Iceland and Turkey), by conducting interviews with head teachers, teachers, students and parents (ISCED level 1: primary schools: ISCED level 2: lower secondary schools; ISCED level 3: upper secondary schools). A range of different topics was covered, including: Access to and use of digital technologies, Digital activities and digital confidence of teachers and students, ICT related teacher professional development, Digital home environment of students, Schools’ digital policies, strategies and opinions. The survey had two objectives:

Objective 1: Benchmark progress in ICT in schools - to provide detailed and up-to-date information related to access, use and attitudes towards the use of technology in education by surveying head teachers, teachers, students and parents covering the EU28, Norway, Iceland and Turkey;

Objective 2: Model for a ‘highly equipped and connected classroom’ - to define a conceptual model for a ‘highly equipped and connected classroom’ (HECC), presenting three scenarios to describe different levels of a HECC and to estimate the overall costs to equip and connect an average EU classroom with advanced components of the HECC model. The key findings of the survey are:

1. Connectivity: The European broadband targets foresee that by 2025 all schools have access to Gigabit Internet Connectivity. In fact, being connected to the Internet is a prerequisite for schools to, for example, access up-to-date resources or access online learning platforms. In addition, schools are increasingly requesting bandwidth-demanding applications such as video streaming or video conferencing. However, the results of the 2nd Survey of Schools: ICT in education show that less than 1 out of 5 of European students attend schools which have access to high-speed Internet above 100 mbps. In addition to that, large differences between and within European countries prevail whereas Nordic countries are clear frontrunners regarding the deployment of high-speed Internet in schools, other countries and schools located in villages/small cities clearly are lagging behind. The results of the survey, which show that the Gigabit connectivity goal is very much out of sight now, clearly back the future Connected Europe Facility Programme’s aim to support access to Gigabit connectivity for socio-economic drivers including schools.

2. Coding & related gender gap: Digital skills including coding skills are essential so that everyone can take part in society and contribute to economic and social progress in the digital era. Coding helps practice 21st century skills such as problem solving or analytical thinking. The results of the 2nd Survey of Schools: ICT in education however show that students rarely regularly engage in coding/programming activities at European level. In fact, 79% of lower secondary school students and 76% of upper secondary school students never or almost never engage in coding or programming at school. Considering these figures, activities to strengthen students’ coding skills at EU, Member States and local level need to be further scaled up. The goal of the European Commission is to encourage 50% of schools in Europe to participate in the EU Code Week by 2020, which is a grassroots movement promoting programming and computational thinking in a fun and engaging way. On average, more than 4 out of 5 female European students attending secondary schools never or almost never engage in coding school. These figures support the European Commissions’ strategy to get more women interested in digital technologies by tackling three areas: the image of women in the media, digital skills for girls and women and increasing the number of female tech entrepreneurs.

3. Teachers’ training: Continuous professional development is key for teachers to integrate digital technologies into their teaching practices. The results of the 2nd Survey of Schools show that more than 6 out of 10 European students are taught by teachers that engage in professional development activities about ICT in their own time. In contrast, participation in a compulsory ICT training is less common. In short, as teacher training in ICT is rarely compulsory, most teachers end up devoting their spare time to develop these skills. Member States must promote all forms of professional development, including incorporating digital skills in the curriculum of initial teacher training and in-service training of teachers. They should guide schools in incorporating the goals on digital technologies in school policies, strategies and overall vision. To facilitate teachers’ professional development and further integration of ICT in education, Erasmus+ offers many successfully established tools for exchanging best practices, peer learning and professional development of teachers at EU level (e.g. through tools as eTwinning, School Education Gateway, Teacher Academy, SELFIE) – more common efforts will be needed to further scale-up and promote them among schools, teachers and policy-makers.

4. Parents: Most parents surveyed were in favour of the use of ICT in education, recognising its importance in the development of specific and transferable skills for future employment. The EC must continue to promote awareness of Safety in access to internet for all citizens but particularly children.

The second objective of the ‘2nd Survey of Schools: ICT in Education’ aimed at designing a conceptual model for a ‘highly equipped and connected classroom’ (HECC), defining three scenarios of a HECC and estimating the costs to equip and connect an average EU classroom with advanced components of the HECC model.
  • The entry level scenario outlines the minimum and essential components of a HECC.
  • The advanced scenario further advances the entry level scenario, e.g. by entailing more advanced digital equipment, as well as a greater number of teachers’ professional development activities and access to paid-for contents.
  • The cutting-edge level is a further advanced scenario in relation to network requirements, it also includes a greater variety of digital equipment and increased opportunities for face-to-face professional development for teachers, and leadership training.
The survey results show that the average cost per student per year to equip and connect an average EU classroom with advanced components of the HECC model is in the range of 224-536 EUR. This cost range includes costs for digital technology equipment, network requirements, professional development of teachers and for access to content. Costs for setting up the physical infrastructure in terms of high-capacity networks is not included. The message from this result is that significant financial investment is required if the goals of digitization and ICT enhanced learning policies are to be reached.
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