Tablet and internet instead of blackboard and chalk: three good examples of how young people are learning to handle digital media confidently.
Germany. How much progress have schools made in their transition from the ‘cretaceous’ (i.e. chalk-based!) period to the digital age? In 2013, an international comparative study (ICILS) found that schools and pupils in Germany had a lot of catching up to do. Much has been achieved since then. Federal Education Minister Johanna Wanka has initiated the ‘DigitalPakt#D’: starting in 2018, about 40,000 schools are to be equipped with new computers and software.
Like reading, writing and arithmetic, digital literacy is a cultural technique that is essential for a self-determined life.
Teaching in the cloud
Teachers are rarely IT specialists. So when they have to install software updates and deal with technical problems, hampers digitalization in schools. The School Cloud, developed by the Hasso-Plattner-Institute (HPI) offers a solution: hardware and software are outsourced to a cloud network and run by external experts. Teaching materials are also stored there. Schools only need an internet connection and tablets for teachers and pupils to be able to access the material they need at any time and any place.
The HPI pilot project is being implemented in collaboration with the Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) and the Excellence Network of Mathematical and Scientific Schools (MINT-EC). The School Cloud is currently being tested at 27 schools nationwide.
Programming is fun
Programming is dead easy – that’s the message of the ‘experience IT’ (erlebe IT) initiative from Bitkom. The digital industry association is collaborating with 850 schools in Germany. The aim is for pupils to learn to be critical, confident and creative when they interact with digital media. Media educators provide information on the safe use of the internet and on data protection. Pupils develop apps and deepen their technical understanding in programming workshops.
Protection against cyber-bullying
Making pupils more aware of cyber-bullying and data security on the internet – that is the aim of the Firewall Live preventative project. It was initiated by the German Child Protection League and the Knappschaft health insurance company. It organizes media courses in schools for 6th to 8th grade students, as well as for teachers and parents.
Studies on the digital literacy of school pupils