"The Teachers Often Don't Have a Clue"


Jugendliche auf der re:publica TEN

Experts have long since been in agreement: Learning in today's digital world doesn't work like it did ten years ago. The student project "Youth Leadership Conference 2016" was set up to finally allow kids a chance to speak. The re:learn session "What do kids think about #digitaleducation" presented the student's results.

What kind of opportunities for learning are even available online? How do kids experience digital education in their daily life? And what do teachers have to do to be equipped for the digital future? 50 kids worked on that question for a whole day in February. Besides short films, projects and the idea for a new learning platform that works similarly to Wikipedia (just without foreign words), the project resulted in one thing, above all: Students want more participation – in school and online. They don't want to be passive consumers anymore, but want to actively shape content. But to be able to do so, the students demand that schools be equipped with the newest technologies. But reality shows stark differences: While some children are already sitting in iPad classes, other classrooms are being taught with overhead projectors. One student reported on how she has been trying in vain for the last two years to have a wireless network installed at her school.

Their conclusion: "Digital education" is still a foreign word for many teachers. The problem is not only constituted by the lack of technology. Even if it is on hand, teachers often don't know how to use it. Many of them would be able to use a Smart Board just as much as they would an old blackboard, it is just that very few of them actually try to use the interactive and digital possibilities that the new technology provides. "Our teacher often struggles desperately just to get the beamer up and running", one student said. "We usually end up having to help him."

Photo credit: re:publica/Jan Michalko (CC BY 2.0)