The Digital Schools of Europe Award – formally known as the Digital Schools of Distinction award – has recently been conferred upon 13 primary and post-primary schools in Ireland. These schools received Digital Schools of Europe status in recognition of the strides they made during the recent school lockdowns to ensure the continuous provision of quality remote teaching and learning.
The schools included:
- Assumption SNS, Walkinstown
- Gaelscoil Bandon
- Gaelscoil Inbhir Mhóir
- Lucan CNS
- Malahide Portmarnock ETNS
- Redhills, Cavan
- Sacred Heart SNS, D24
- St. Joseph’s Dundalk
- St. Mary’s GNS Trim
- St. Marks SNS, Tallaght
- St. Patrick’s N.S., Cornanool
- St. Thomas’ SNS Tallaght
The scheme has been managed by Dublin West Education Centre (DWEC) from 2013. Its success has led to representatives of the EU Commission approving legal permission for DWEC to use the EU/EC label on their national and EU Digital Awards programmes. Its celebration of beneficial technology enhanced teaching and learning at both primary and post-primary level in Ireland raises awareness of what digital educational excellence is and presents evidence of its efficacy to the wider school community.
Schools seeking to achieve Digital Schools of Europe status must achieve a set of rigorous criteria. While many of the criteria focus on teachers’ individual digital educational practice, it is unobtainable without schools demonstrating collective digital educational practice that includes collaboration, creativity, critical thinking and communication between all school partners including, Board of Management, school leaders, teachers, students, and parents and guardians.
The journey towards achieving Digital Schools of Europe status provides pedagogical direction for schools to orient their digital educational practice towards and a benchmark for schools to assess the quality and inclusivity of its provision.
The award’s partners include: Department of Education, PDST, IPPN, INTO, CESI, ICS, HP, NPC and Microsoft.
Representatives on the steering committee include Dr. Daithí Ó’Murchú, Robbie O’Leary, Peter Coakley, Siobhán Kerr, Mary Cleary, Áine Lynch, Seán Gallagher, Ultan Mac Mathúna, Anthony Kilcoyne, and Dermot Walsh.