SELFIE. Yes, that’s the name of a new digital learning tool the European Commission has released across the EU, Russia, Georgia and Serbia. SELFIE stands for Self-reflection on Effective Learning by Fostering the use of Innovative Educational technologies. SELFIE is less of an exact tool and more of an advisory framework. When a school signs up, students, teachers, and governors fill out a questionnaire that is then assessed, allowing the school to receive a custom report that details ways to improve digital learning.
Some people may worry that the recent trend towards digital-focused education may be not only expensive but also a fad. Yet when utilised properly, tools like SELFIE can help widen access to education, especially among disadvantaged communities. In economically developing countries, physical resources are expensive and often outdated, putting a strain on students and teachers. Even in the UK, the fact that textbook providers can hike prices when school budgets diminish every year shows a real issue with how learning resources are managed. To counteract this, SELFIE may be able provide schools with a cheaper, more up-to-date set of resources.
Even beyond the immediate benefits it provides, digital learning can help pass on computer skills to students. There is a huge potential talent pool in Europe, but a lack of access to ICT classes can mean many young people still lack basic digital skills. But the problem is, as the European Commission points out, in the future 90 percent of jobs will require digital skills.
SELFIE may not revolutionise teaching across Europe. However it is an important step towards keeping education accessible for young people. Most importantly, it will ensure young people across Europe are cultivating their digital skills in a world ever more reliant on technology.