29 March 2023 - Banagher College, County Offaly - Today, 14 Irish secondary schools have been recognised with the prestigious European ‘Digital School’ status for their outstanding contributions in digital teaching and learning. Backed by global technology giants HP and AMD, along with government and education partners, the Digital Schools Award Europe aims to promote digital learning and equip pupils with advanced digital skills.
To achieve the award, schools must demonstrate a whole school digital strategy, evidence of how digital technology enhances learning, and a commitment to ongoing teacher professional development. The programme has already highlighted innovative and collaborative approaches to integrating digital technology in teaching and learning, inspiring other schools to follow suit.
Since the programme launched in Ireland in March 2022, 11% of Irish secondary schools have signed up, with a target of supporting 20% by the end of the year. The Digital Schools Awards Europe has been established in five European countries, and an additional five countries will pilot the programme in 2023.
At the awards ceremony held at Banagher College, County Offaly, nine secondary schools in the Laois Offaly Education and Training Board received their award today. These schools took part in a new initiative called the SELFIE Digital Schools Academy, which aims to support sustainable digital education practices in European schools. The academy provides schools that have completed the European SELFIE self-reflection tool with digital education mentor support and professional development resources, focusing on themes such as leadership, collaboration, infrastructure, professional development, teaching and learning, assessment, student digital competences, STEAM education, and remote learning.
The SELFIE Digital Schools Academy will open to all schools starting from September 2023. The programme will help promote social inclusion and equality by connecting schools with mentor schools to enhance their digital practices. Teachers can expect to receive valuable mentorship and support to help them plan and develop their school's digital strategies. The programme will work with schools to connect them with innovative digital mentors, who will help them explore approaches and adapt them to their own settings.
Speaking about the awards programme Val Gabriel, Managing Director at HP Ireland, said: ‘The Digital Schools Award Europe is providing a vital platform for schools to assess and develop their digital capabilities. These 14 Irish secondary schools have demonstrated outstanding leadership in embracing digital technology as a tool for enhancing education.
HP are proud to have set a goal of accelerating digital equity for 150 million people globally by 2030 and this is a great step towards achieving that whilst also bringing about more digital equity for Irish schools. Congratulations to all awarded schools for their achievements, and we look forward to continuing to work together to drive digital innovation in education.’
Rachel D’Alton, Site Administration Manager at AMD, commented: “Congratulations to the teachers and staff in the schools that are receiving their awards today. With our commitment to inspiring the next generation of innovators, we at AMD are proud to partner with organisations like the Digital Schools Awards to advance digital education in Ireland and beyond. We congratulate those awarded today and thank you for your hard work in integrating digital technology into the curriculum. Promoting technology skills among students will undoubtedly have a positive impact on their future success. "
Anna Doody, Programme Manager at Digital Schools Awards, said: ‘Digital skills are crucial for the success of our young people in an increasingly digital world. It is inspiring to see these 14 Irish secondary schools recognised for their commitment to digital teaching and learning, and for their efforts to equip their students with digital skills for the future. Through the Digital Schools Award Europe, we are working to promote excellence in digital education across Europe, and these schools are setting a high standard for others to follow.’
Secondary schools are encouraged to register for the programme, which is free to all schools, through the www.awards4selfie.eu website where they can undergo a self-evaluation of current practices and standards.
2023 awarded digital schools:
- Ard Scoil Chiaráin Naofa
- Banagher College
- Clonaslee College
- Coláiste Naomh Cormac
- Dunamase College
- Holy Family Community School
- Oaklands Community College, Edenderry
- Portlaoise College
- Presentation Secondary School Waterford
- St Colmans Community College
- St Colmcilles Community School
- St. Fergal's College, Rathdowney
- Scoil Ui Dhalaigh
- Tullamore College
About Digital Schools
Digital Schools Company Limited by Guarantee is an independent organisation specialising in digital education programmes for schools. Digital Schools operates the Digital Schools Awards and Awards4SELFIE education programmes to support ministries and schools to enhance their digital education practices. Digital Schools CLG was established in Ireland in 2019.