Development of innovative ICTs must involve education trade unions and contribute to equity and inclusive education


The Joint Research Centre of the European Commission has recently launched the trial version of a new tool to support schools in using digital technologies (SELFIE). It stands for Self-reflection on Effective Learning by Fostering Innovation through Educational Technology. The ´digitally-capable school´ approach intends to promotes digital-age learning following both a top-down and bottom-up method. ‘SELFIE’ is based on the Digitally-Competent Educational Organisations framework that offers a description of what it takes for educational organisations to be digitally competent. However, it is not clear how this particular tool will meet the real needs and views of teachers and educators in the different contexts in Europe.

Even though this project has involved inputs from a number of teachers and schools in EU and non-EU countries, the study lacks the inclusion of education trade unions in its preparation and development. Education unions must be consulted as social partners when new digital technologies are being produced for teachers so that they can be used to promote inclusive education as well as aiding teachers in their teaching duties. Moreover, the project overlooks the importance of adequate public investment in digital skills and appropriate ICT training (‘Initial Teacher Education’ and ‘Continuous Professional Development’) for teachers and educators so that they can take advantage of the digital IT governance to reinforce professional autonomy as well as pedagogy towards their students in their day-to-day teaching, as stated in the 2016 ETUCE policy paper in the 21st teaching century and the use of ICT.

In addition, it is crucial that these types of innovative tools for assessment purposes of the digital environment of schools, including the teaching activities, provide also guidance and instructions for teachers and schools leaders so that they can identify and learn about their own ICT training needs and take an effective and responsible use of the new ICTs in schools. It is important that these new digital devices/tools integrate the necessary measures to protect  teachers’ data and respect students’ privacy. Also, teachers and educators need also to be supported by the whole school community (school leaders and heads, education employers, etc.) to be digitally confident and supportive teachers.

Recognising the potential of ICTs for inclusive education, ETUCE emphasises that this tool can only be efficient if it focuses primarily on learning rather than technology, and takes all the relevant dimensions of public education into account: school strategies, teachers’ training needs, education trade unions’ experiences, teaching practices and curricula and students’ experiences, especially as regards the support of personalised learning needs and the promotion of individual learning opportunities for all learners.

ETUCE also reminds that digital devices should be understood as a complement to successful pedagogical teaching approaches and methods, as conclude in the ETUCE ELFE and ESL projects.

To learn more about the ETUCE position on ‘digitalisation and inclusiveness’, please click here.