«Digital Education: The example of Estonia», Kerli Pozogina

That is not exactly my specific expertise, but one of the strategic goals in Estonia right now is that every child must be offered an education according to his or her abilities and needs. To support it there is quite big funding provided to develop personalized learning baths.

AI enabled personalised learning path

In addition, within my digital competence task force, we have created digital competence criteria for the learners in simplified curriculum (Google Translate link). Specific examples of different solutions you can find also here: Three Estonian solutions that enrich educational opportunities.

Estonian digitized environment, where most of the public services are online, supports overall digital literacy of the general public. Digital divide is still an issue for the older generation in rural areas, but it is getting more and more diminished. To help them, there is a lot of support from local communities, e.g. mentoring and training in local libraries, through vocational schools, public training and other different senior programs. One example, how we have addressed this issue in Estonia, was an initiative in 2002-2004 called “Look at the world”, where over 100 000 people were trained on computer basic skills for free. To provide the training, a network of 300 educators was created, in addition 400 IT-support personnel from local public internet centers received special training in supporting digital skills for beginners.

Last but not least 2002 the first ID-card in Estonia was issued, this supported very strongly the whole idea of digitalization. "With the advent of the ID card in 2002, a new era began in Estonia. Our e-state today is based on the ID card and the system built on its chip. We've saved countless hours by being able to do all of our daily operations and transactions today, from declaring income, e-voting to buying real estate, without leaving home," said Mark Erlich, RIA's electronic identity expert.

In 1997 when Tiger Leap Foundation started, the first step was to provide all schools with computers and internet access. All schools were provided with computers by 2000 and by the year 2001, all schools were connected to the Internet as well. The local governments, whose priority was to expand school computer systems, received financial support from Tiger Leap Foundation equal to what they could invest themselves. Basic ICT courses for teachers were organized – in 1997 nearly 4000 teachers participated in the 40-hour computer basic training course, with thousands more in the next few years. In 1999, new courses in electronic courseware, online information searches and preparation of educational materials were introduced. You can read more about this here: https://www.educationestonia.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/01/tiigrihype2007ENG_standard.pdf

To this day digital infrastructure for education and digital training for teachers and school leaders are still the most important activities we focus on.

We can only achieve results by developing all areas simultaneously

I think that answer for this question is already within the question. Students are very motivated to use the technology, we should just shift them from mainly using technology for entertainment to using it more for educational purposes. In order to do that we need to provide very practical teacher training, where methodology and pedagogy is the main focus supported by the purposeful use of digital technology. Here is one of the example, how create interest in technology: https://www.educationestonia.org/progetiger

It is very important! We can create early on attitudes, knowledge and skills to cope with a digitally enriched environment. You can find answers for the following questions clicking the links below:

● Why should one start with technology before school?

● How to bring technology to children?



For the second question, the strategy for education is not approved by the parliament, it is created by education experts and is not dependent on government program. The strategy for education is an agreement in society within which the ruling government can make priorities. Strategy is more of a basis for the officials working in the Ministry of Education and Research, who put in place different action plans to support the strategy.

Do you mean development and adjustment for the digital competence models and assessment criteria supporting the national curricula. There is in place the Digital Competence Council and Digital Competence Task Force to discuss different changes we need to make. Input comes mainly from the following stakeholders:

● educational technologists working in schools in cooperation with the Estonian Association of Educational Technologists;

● network of educators providing digital training for teachers;

● education and digital technology experts from universities.

Main reason is to create interest in digital technology and robotics, also informatics and programming very early on, to make a foundation for emerging new generation experts and specialists.

If possible, yes of course, specially for the internal digital training. E.g. for the “Digital Accelerator” whole school program we have put in place digital practice and digital infrastructure surveys.

In Estonia schools are autonomous to decide whether to have half-years (2), trimesters (3) or quarters (4). Students usually have five school holidays together with the summer holiday. There can be no more than 24 students in one class, but with the decision of the board of trustees, there can be more. In Estonia, we do not have an all-day school system, but a lot of the schools especially in rural areas offer it anyway by providing extracurricular activities, sometimes extra funding is required from parents for this.

I would refer here to my answer for the third question. I would also add that it has been a step-by-step process which is still working progress, since the technology is in constant change and that is the reason why in Estonia we alway try to outrun the time.

I am not sure, but I think you mean digital training called “Digital integration”. During the training, the teams of the two schools meet, and under the guidance of the trainers, they discuss what integration between subjects is, how to implement integration in their school and which digital tools to use for this. Examples of integration in various Estonian schools are given. Schools participating in the training form teams to plan and implement the integration plan. As a result of the training, several practical integration stories are completed.

Here I would refer back to my answer for the second question, I would give the same answer for this question.

Digital training for the in-service teachers is organized by the Education and Youth Board training center. Digital training takes place day time and on school days, also during school holidays, but all this happens during September until May. Sometimes we have some schools for teachers, but mainly we let teachers have their summer vacation. To provide the different digital training in different formats, we have created a network of educators. Short overview of the teachers digital training: https://youtu.be/mWciYaH2M5I

It is a very specific question and I am probably more equipped to answer this in September, after we have created the new digital training for the teachers about AI and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

So far I can say that critical thinking and assessing information becomes more important than before, because if you don’t know how to address your questions for AI you don’t get the answers you are looking for. So the different AI solutions put us into mode of rethinking and redefining every bit of educational content.

Here are some of the examples of the assignments, we have recommended for the teachers, that are kind of AI proof:

● Rather, let the learners write about topics that concern them personally.

● Choose topics related to recent events or the local community.

● Written work is accompanied by an oral presentation.

● Don't leave written work as homework.

● Try co-writing.


«AI in Education: Facts & Challenges», Lidija Kralj

It shouldn't as assessment and exams are very risky areas, recognized by the AI Act too. From my opinion we should rethink what we want to assess and how. ChatGPT is just emphasizing symptoms of missing academic integrity. Recent text of AI Act adopted by European Parliament is interesting to read, just search for word education AI Act proposal.

Strategic planning rely on data analysis, so smart data analysis, especially analysis of educational data would be very helpful in planning relevant actions. If you want to use AI in such role, you need excellent database and good knowledge of parameters to create dedicated algorithms. Here is one recent example how algorithms can do harm, because of oversight important parameters https://www.hrw.org/news/2023/06/13/world-bank/jordan-poverty-targeting-algorithms-harm-rights

It is important to include ethical and moral aspects alongside technical explanations and requirements. It is not enough to teach students how AI works, or how to use it, it is important to discuss with them examples of bias, wrong decisions, risks and impact AI (or any other technology) has on people's lives. You may find some examples and questions in Ethical guidelines https://op.europa.eu/en/publication-detail/-/publication/d81a0d54-5348-11ed-92ed-01aa75ed71a1/language-en

We decide not to use AI for profiling. We keep asking questions to technology providers or education authorities, and we keep monitoring influence and impact. Teacher in the loop is very important. You may find some examples and questions in Ethical guidelines https://op.europa.eu/en/publication-detail/-/publication/d81a0d54-5348-11ed-92ed-01aa75ed71a1/language-en

Keep educating them and raising competences of general population too. Campaigns for awareness raising are also important. I think we shouldn't give up, no matter how complicated it looks. You may read more about digital skills level in Cyprus in DESI report, or in this brief https://digital-skills-jobs.europa.eu/en/latest/briefs/cyprus-snapshot-digital-skills

Of course, media literacy examples talk about subliminal messages advertising industry uses. Here is paragraph from AI Act proposal: "The placing on the market, putting into service or use of certain AI systems with the objective to or the effect of materially distorting human behaviour, whereby physical or psychological harms are likely to occur, should be forbidden."

You may find some examples and questions in Ethical guidelines https://op.europa.eu/en/publication-detail/-/publication/d81a0d54-5348-11ed-92ed-01aa75ed71a1/language-en

Here are some useful resources crowdsourced by the participants of the EU Code Week Bootcamp MOOC from 2021.

Some of lesson materials mentioned in MOOC Unlocking the Power of AI in Education this spring:

AI tools for the classroom in the daily updated Genially AI collection by Arjana Blažić and Bart Verswijvel https://bit.ly/GenAIEDTools

Usually secondary school teachers (students aged 15-19) have 20 teaching periods with students weekly. Teaching period lasts 45 minutes per class. Average number of students are 22, but it varies – up to 28, or low as 15 in some vocational schools. Right now Croatia is piloting all day school for primary schools, but we don't have a tradition of all-day school, with exception of private schools.

Here is more information about Croatian education system https://eurydice.eacea.ec.europa.eu/national-education-systems/croatia/overview

I'm also sharing link to recent interview http://agile-edu.eun.org/news/detail?articleId=9867204 and podcast https://school-education.ec.europa.eu/en/insights/news/teachersofeurope-podcast on the topic of generative AI