re:view – re:learn: Across Continents, Across Generations


Where is digital education headed?

Jörg Farin and Laura Pfannemüller dedicated themselves to the “Tinderisierung der Welt” (Tinderisation of the world), meaning the often times far too subjective nature of communication on the web, where users are prompted to click, like, buy or be outraged. This is known in cognitive psychology as “confirmation bias”. In it, we adjust our opinions to fit our worldview. Farin therefore calls for a “Questioning 101” – education is the key to that.

This is exactly where Kordula Attermeyer and André Spang from the North Rhein Westphalian State Chancellery position themselves. They pursued a similar issue in their well-attended workshop. They focused on “Neue Bildungsformate für generationenübergreifendes Lernen” (New education formats for cross-generational learning). Together with participants, they discussed how school and adult education, as well as non-formal media education, can be structured within families. Openness towards new content and topics, as well as the motivation towards an independent occupation with digital content were identified as special challenges in this respect.

23 year-old programmer Rami Rihawi from Aleppo already brings this motivation to the table. After his escape from the civil war, the then 20 year-old landed in Berlin. Upon arrival, he began attending classes at the ReDi School Berlin parallel to his German course. The school offers refugees help in learning and further developing their coding skills. Rihawi’s path is a success story: following his internship at a steel company, he took on a full-time position as quality assurance manager there and also met Mark Zuckerberg and Angela Merkel. He called for the future expansion of Europe-wide ReDi Schools to help combat the current shortage of over 40,000 IT specialists in Germany alone. He would also like to see more women in IT. His next goal: the German language certificate C1 and study at the Berlin Technical University. also sees integration through coding as its focus. Together with partners like Amazon, the Deutsche Bahn and Github, the volunteer project developed a programme in which refugees receive donated laptops and are made ready for the German labour market within 12 months. The project has been very successful and their courses are now also attended by students without a refugee background.

Taking stock positively, Saskia Ebel, Maike Schubert and Stefan Neureiter saw that schools were pedagogically well equipped to deal with the demands of a digital society in their discussion “Wie gestalten Schulen Bildung in der digitalen Welt?” (How are schools organising education in the digital world?). The main challenges facing this undertaking until 2030 will be a more intensified training of teaching staff, as well as a provider-independent supplies of electricity, software and hardware for the schools. Further goals are Wi-Fi in all schools, a school cloud, digital class registers and digital equal opportunity for all students. Software should be designed for schools, with the gaming industry invited to create pedagogic media content. Coding as a school subject, however, remains out of the question for now: practical skills, enough time in the curriculum and sufficient staff are all missing.

by Sylvia Lundschien (EJS)

Photo credit: re:publica/Jan Zappner (CC BY-SA 2.0)