Doctoral studies

Doctoral thesis investigated the factors that develop schools into the smart digital ecosystems

Eka Jeladze from the School of Digital Technologies at Tallinn University defended her doctoral dissertation, in which she explored the schools in development into smart, digitally enhanced learning ecosystems.


In the dynamic and technology driven environment it is important to study how technology mediates an innovative learning environment at schools, what are the challenges the schools face.

Eka Jeladze's dissertation attempts to create understanding how digitally enhanced schools organize structures and underlying processes in order to use external opportunities and respond to the requirements of the changing world. Also how the multiple levels of classroom, school and external environment interact for the changes.

Jeladze says that the external environment pressures the schools by providing digital resources and imposing the rules on them. Schools are also pro-active to gain resources from external environment and apply change management. According to Jeladze these trajectories define the interaction across multiple levels in schools and with external environment.

“More advanced schools are characterized with the growing complexity and connectivity among multiple levels. In these school’s digital infrastructure are better deployed on a school-level – through the digital strategies and support mechanisms,” she explains.

Doctoral thesis claims to support schools to be aligned and be responsive to the requirements of the technology-driven environment. “It also enriches the insights of the schools’ developmental programs - how to develop them into the digitally enhanced learning ecosystem. The model has already been used in two projects in Georgia and Estonia,” Jeladze adds.

According to Eka Jeladze the weakest component is the digital analytics, which represents the measures of collecting and analyzing data on the outcomes of using technology on the school level.

The study proposes conceptual framework for smart digitally enhanced learning ecosystems and provides qualitative criteria to understand systemic changes. As a second contribution of the thesis a model of self-organization in digitally enhanced learning ecosystem is developed. The proposed model was analytically tested with the data collected from the schools. Evaluations show that the framework and the model can be used for the outlined objective.

The doctoral dissertation of Eka Jeladze from the School of Digital Technologies at Tallinn University, is titled "Schools’ development into smart, digitally enhanced learning ecosystems"´. Public defence took place on March 16 in Tallinn University via Skype. Supervisor: Kai Pata, Associate Professor and Senior Researcher at Tallinn University. Opponents: Robert Fitzgerald, Professor at Charles Darwin University, Australia Barbara Wasson, Professor at the University of Bergen, Norway.

The doctoral thesis is available in Tallinn University Digital Library ETERA.