Peeter Normak: We support digital turn in the widest sense

Head of School of Digital Technologies, Peeter Normak, shares the scope of the school.

Man standing before a shelf of IoT components

What is the uniqueness of the School of Digital Technologies?


Peeter Normak: all of the research areas developed at school - information technology, information science and mathematics - are extremely important for the creation of a smart society. No other school at Estonian universities has such a scope.

What is School of Digital Technologies' aim to change or impact in Estonian society? What problems does it solve?

Peetr Normak: The Ministry of Higher Education and Research has assigned us Computer Use as a Responsibility area. Our primary task in research and development is to develop tools and methodologies of their use that support digital turn in the widest sense. Educating experts for that is equally important. 

E-stonia - what does it mean for You personally and for the School of Digital Technologies?

Peeter Normak: e-stonia in general means the policy of turning all public services digital and web-based. Personally, I am quite satisfied, all the services I use are already web-based. However, the School has a clear goal here: training experts in user experience design so that web services are not only functionally exemplary, but also user-friendly.

In Your opinion - what have been the 3 best e-decisions in Estonia?

Peeter Normak: My personal list: 1) Founding of the Tiger Leap Foundation to help schools in building an ICT infrastructure and using it in teaching and learning, and expanding it later to ICT Foundation for Education that covers also higher and vocational education; 2) Development of a data exchange layer X-tee (X-road) that enables a secure Internet-based data exchange between information systems; 3) assigning citizens digital identity (optional for children up to 15 years of age) allowing development and implementation of a huge variety of e-services (including digital signing of documents).

And what are the 3 most important challenges in Estonia that need most help from technology?

Peeter Normak: these are universal challenges, not only for Estonia: 1) development of AI-supported tools and services; 2) development of methodologies for creating digital twins (of industrial processes, individuals etc) and related services; 3) cyber security issues. 

How can the School of Digital Technologies support these challenges?

Peeter Normak: the three challenges listed above are extremely broad development of which hundreds and thousands of institutions are contributing. We will focus on augmented analytics (including learning analytics and tools for supporting decision making), user experience design (including physiological computing) and educational technology (including gamification amd informal and workplace learning).

Who do we welcome to our international curriculums? What do we want from them and what do we offer to them?

Peeter Normak: Above all, we welcome bright, open-minded people who are not afraid of great challenges and hard work.

What do you promise to the students as head of the School of Digital Technologies?

Peeter Normak: I promise excellent work environment, culturally diverse teachers and students, and participation in research and development projects.