The whole-school program “Digital Accelerator”

About the Regional Innovation Hub

The Regional Innovation Hub in Estonian context was built on the existing training program, developed to reach and provide training for the teachers who are less motivated to be engaged in the adoption of digital innovation. In iHub4Schools, training and mentoring was adapted to the developed School Mentoring model and network was investigated to understand the support mechanisms and other elements contributing to the sustainability and scalability of digital innovation.

The Regional Innovation Hub brought together 10 mentors and educators, 20 management members and 205 teachers involved from Astangu Vocational Rehabilitation Center, Emili Elementary School, Audru Primary School, Jõõpre Primary School, Maardu High School, Rakvere School of Freedom.

Development projects:  A new ICT development plan; Mapping of  the digital skills in the curriculum; Development of the school curriculum was developed to systematically support the digital competence of students; Development and implementation of an online calendar; Reorganization and update of school’s website; Development of an information system for employees was developed at Rakvere School of Freedom.

The purpose of the program is to contribute to the creation of equal opportunities for Estonian schools in the adoption of digital technology, in order to ensure the development of learners’ digital competence and the introduction of a changed approach to learning in everyday teaching. In tight collaboration with schools, local authorities and community of educational technologists striveefforts are made to engage schools into the activities promoting whole-school level adoption of digital innovation.

Local context and the needs

Strategic documents, such as the European Commission’s Digital Action Plan 2021-2027 and the Estonian Education Strategy 2021-2035, emphasize the critical role of digitally competent teachers and digitally innovative schools in enhancing the learning experience to meet future needs. The Estonian Education Strategy, in particular, envisions a diverse learning environment and a learner-centered approach to education, highlighting the significance of digital competence as a fundamental skill across all subjects in national curricula. However, there is a lack of motivation among some Estonian schools to actively engage in activities that promote digital innovation. This network aims to specifically target those schools and promote the implementation of digital pedagogy as a crucial element in achieving the strategic goals of the Estonian educational system. This means ensuring that educators are well-versed in the latest trends, opportunities, risks, and methodologies associated with new technologies, and that they apply these technologies in a purposeful manner. By incorporating smart learning resources and methodologies, we can enhance the learning and teaching experience, allowing for captivating and effective instruction, while also facilitating immediate and meaningful feedback.  

The intervention started off initially in 2018 based on the expertise of the Estonian Association of Education Technologists and a network of trainers led by the Estonian Information Technology Foundation for Education (after a merge in 2020 part of the Education and Youth Board).


School selection for program participation involves multiple criteria such as frequency of being engaged in digital training, self-assessments of school’s digital maturity, results of the national satisfaction survey of educational institutions, and other data from the Ministry of Education and Research’s external evaluation department. Processes needed negotiations with the representatives of local government, which supervise the schools, who showed significant support for school participation and mediate the communication between school leaders and program developers.



  • Educators and mentors provide digital training and mentoring for teachers and school leaders to give methodical assistance on how to implement digital technology.
  • Teachers participate in training and mentoring to learn the methodology.
  • Students participate in teachers’ practice assignments.
  • School leaders participate in leadership training and mentoring to plan development projects and changes they want to achieve within their school.

Program implementation: Education and Youth Board of Estonia to organize the mentoring at schools and collaboration with local government to support and engage schools.

Sustainability mechanisms of the Regional Innovation Hub
  • Tailored and individual approaches to reduce the divide between teachers’ level of digital competence. 
  • Support on school-level decisions about coordinating digital learning, use of digital technology, also strategic planning of digital infrastructure and addressing digital safety issues on school management level.
  • School curricula analysis on how to develop students digital competence throughout different subjects.
  • Support for the (new) educational technologist.
  • Positive media coverage on schools participating in the program and certification of the school and individually also teachers, who have been participating in the acceleration of digital innovation.
  • Capacity building opportunities: Trainings for leaders and teachers
  • Joint projects: A joint planning of development projects within schools through leadership training, where management teams share their plans and improvements. Teamwork organized between schools to give feedback to each other and share their experience.
  • Opportunities to expand impact through recognized expertise: previous school leaders are invited to seminars to share their own practice during the program.
  • Access to personalized support and guidance: individual support from assigned mentor and educational technologist.
  • Knowledge sharing platforms: Trello project management environment to support leadership training, development of digital technology projects, reflection and sharing of experience between schools. Confluence collaboration Tool to facilitate a more efficient workflow, more specific documentation has been developed, outlining the roles, responsibilities, principles, and guidelines for both mentors and educators in organizing their work. 
    • Access to network-disseminated materials: Online compendium with the materials of Digital Acceleration Program.

    Several platforms are used to engage stakeholders into the activities:

    • Trello platform and Confluence Collaboration Tool  ( is used for internal communication within leadership training and coordination of the activities between program leader and involved mentors.
    • Compendium of Digital Acceleration Program is launched to share the good examples, development projects, success stories:

    Sustainability is promoted through following measures:

    • Policy measure: policy level importance, funding and priorities, bringing the school into policy representatives’ information field
    • Online engagement platform to engage school leaders and teachers outside of the program activities. The compendium offers concise guidance for general education schools seeking to implement digital technology more systematically and effectively, promoting diverse and modern teaching practices. It draws on the experiences and results of schools involved in the program.
    • Enhanced collaboration with the school’s educational technologist (or encouraging to hire one) who is able to integrate school into the activities of digital innovation 
    • Regional focus – integration of the former program school leaders and new participants into mentoring 

    Different networks and communities to keep the initiative alive

    Part of the expenditure, costs related to mentoring at schools, were covered by the iHub4Schools resources. Other costs were borne by the program “Professional development of teachers and school leaders“ financed by the European Social Fund. For sustainability, the funding is important for tailored mentoring and training activities.