Digital Transformation in Upper Secondary Schools. Identifying Directions and Key Factors for Technology-related School Development

E-learning and Online Education for Student and University Concept. Graphic interface showing technology of digital training course for people to do remote learning from anywhere
The aim of this project is to carry out a representative survey complemented by 20 case studies on digital transformation in Swiss upper secondary schools to describe the technological school development since the last representative surveys in 2001 and 2007. Furthermore, the project aims to identify key factors for effective digital transformation in education.

Up-to-date data regarding technology integration in teaching and learning, as well as the current status of digital transformation are not available for Swiss upper secondary schools yet. Since the last representative surveys on digital change is dated back more than 12 years, the first purpose of the project is to conduct an inventory on the digital transformation process in upper secondary schools. Quantitative and qualitative data will be collected through surveys, interviews and focus groups involving school directors, teachers and students. The study aims to include different types of educational tracks of the upper secondary school level: general baccalaureate program, specialized upper secondary and baccalaureate program, and vocational programs.

Inasmuch the successful digital transformation and technology integration process depend on different factors at different levels (e.g. supportive school management, teachers’ pedagogical and technical skills, students‘ positive attitude,…) and it is not fully clear yet how these aspects interact, the second aim of this project is to identify the key factors and strategies that favor the digital transformation processes in education. Moreover, it is expected that the study’s results provide indications on how to support schools in the effort to fulfil their educational mandate in times of digital transformation.

The project is included in the Digital Transformation National Research Programme (NRP77)


In the first phase, a large-scale pilot study will be conducted in the canton of Zurich in Spring 2021, followed by a representative national survey in Spring 2022, both aimed at collecting information about school culture, transformational leadership, professional development activities supported by the principals, teaching technology-related practices beliefs, and technical knowledge and digital competencies of teachers and students.

In the second phase of the project, 20 schools that stand out for high levels of technology integration will be selected for participating in qualitative case studies. Interviews with headmasters, ICT-specialists, groups of teachers and students will take place with the aim of deeply understanding the digital change processes and further identify core factors of digital transformation.

In progress
1.8.2020 to 31.7.2024
Project manager: 

University of Zurich (UZH), Institute of Education:

  • Petko Dominik, Prof. Dr.
  • Gonon Philipp, Prof. Dr.
Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF)