The Framework for the Digital Maturity of Schools is a document which defines the areas and levels of the digital maturity of schools. It is being developed as part of the e-Schools pilot project and is coordinated with the DigCompOrg European framework which is applicable to all educational institutions.
The Framework for the Digital Maturity of Schools is the basis for a common understanding of the digital maturity of all the stakeholders in the educational system, including the schools, the schools’ founders (cities and counties), the agencies and the institutions in the system of the Ministry of Science, Education and Sports, as well as the Ministry of Science, Education and Sports itself.
The schools can use the Framework for Digital Maturity as a guide in the planning and integration of ICT in learning and teaching, as well as in their business activities. The policy creators and decision-makers in the educational system can use the Framework for the Digital Maturity of Schools for the development of policies and initiatives for the purpose of the successful integration of ICT into the educational system.
Within the e-Schools programme, the Framework for Digital Maturity is a basic document intended for the development of an instrument for the self-evaluation and external evaluation of the digital maturity of schools.
The Croatian Framework for the Digital Maturity of Schools consists of five areas and five levels of the digital maturity of schools. The table shows the areas and levels of the digital maturity of schools.
|Digitally unaware||Digital beginners||Digitally competent||Digitally advanced||Digitally mature|
Table 1 Areas and levels of the digital maturity of schools
Each area consists of a larger number of elements which have been described in a descriptive note for each level of maturity. The areas and elements are shown in the table below.
|ICT in learning
Table 2 Areas and elements of the digital maturity of schools
Below are brief descriptions of each level of maturity which indicate the characteristics of a typical school on a particular level of digital maturity. A specific school may differ in some aspects from the typical representative example for a particular level. In the process of self-evaluation and external evaluation, a school will get feedback regarding the level which it is closest to based on its characteristics.
Level 1: Digitally unaware
The school is not aware of the possibility of using ICT in learning and teaching or in its business activities. Therefore, the school does not take ICT into consideration in planning its growth and development. ICT is not used in learning and teaching and the educational staff do not develop their digital competences. Online communication with the school is generally not possible. ICT infrastructure has not been provided yet and computers are used only in several school rooms.
Level 2: Digital beginner
There is awareness of the possibility of using ICT in learning and teaching and in the school’s business activities, but it has not yet been put into practice. A small number of educational staff use ICT in learning and teaching. There is awareness of the need to develop the digital competences of the educational staff and students, but the practice of the professional development of digital competences still does not exist. The school is still inactive in the online environment and access to its own ICT resources is very limited. The ICT infrastructure is generally undeveloped and computers with Internet access are available only in several school rooms.
Level 3: Digitally competent
The school is aware of the possibility of using ICT in all the aspects of its activities and directs the development of its strategic documents and practical work accordingly. ICT is also used for working with students with special educational needs. The staff develop their digital competences, digital content and begin introducing innovative teaching styles. The school participates in small projects focused on ICT. Access to different ICT resources is provided in most school rooms. Care is taken to preserve the equipment and control software licensing. The school is active online, in terms of content presentation and communication.
Level 4: Digitally advanced
The school very clearly recognises the advantages of ICT in all aspects of its activities and, in this respect, integrates ICT into all its strategic documents and plans, as well as in its practical work. The staff use ICT for advanced teaching styles and the evaluation of knowledge, as well as develop their own content and protect it by copyright. There is also a shared repository of content which can be used by the staff and students. The continuous professional training of educational staff for purpose of acquiring digital competences is planned and performed, while the development of these competences in students is promoted. Access to different ICT resources is provided in most school rooms, whereas the procurement and maintenance of ICT resources is planned. The school is active with respect to ICT projects and very active online in terms of content presentation and communication. Software licensing is controlled and the security aspects of the use of ICT resources are taken into consideration.
Level 5: Digitally mature
In its strategic documents and the plan and programme of school development from the perspective of ICT, the school very clearly recognises and requires the use of ICT in all the aspects of its activities. Management practice relies on the integration and obtaining of data from all of the school’s information systems. The approach to the development of the digital competences of the educational staff and students is systematic, professional training for the staff and additional course activities for the students are available. The educational staff uses ICT for advanced teaching styles, the development of new course content and the evaluation of the students’ accomplishments. Digital content is regularly protected by copyright by the educational staff and students. There is also a shared repository of content available for use by the staff and students. Access to ICT resources from own devices is provided in all school rooms. The school independently plans and acquires ICT resources which are available in nearly all school rooms and the entire school has a developed network infrastructure. An information security system based on best practice has been developed and software licensing is systematically controlled and planned. The school is characterized by varied ICT project activity, cooperation between the staff and the students, as well as between the school and other stakeholders, through the use of online communication tools and the school’s e-services.
The document Framework for the Digital Maturity of Schools is developed by the Faculty of Organization and Informatics, University of Zagreb, in cooperation with CARNet. The first phase of the methodology of the development of the framework included a comprehensive qualitative analysis of a larger number of European frameworks for the digital maturity of educational institutions according to different criteria, for the purpose of selecting the frameworks and tools which optimally meet the requirements of the development of the framework for the digital maturity of primary and secondary schools in Croatia. Based on the results of the analysis, two frameworks, which have formed the basis for the creation of the Framework for the Digital Maturity of Schools, have been selected: a) DigCompOrg, the framework for the digital maturity of educational institutions recognised on the European level, and b) the e-Learning Roadmap tool which is very successfully used in Ireland for the purpose of certifying digitally mature schools. The first version of the Framework, developed by using a complex methodology which included a qualitative and a comparative analysis of the two indicated European models, was followed by several highly demanding cycles of conformation to the Croatian educational context.