In an interview with Gerit Günther, Head of Sales B2B – Corporate and Education, Acer Germany, and Patrick Laux, Head of the Schools Business Unit of the Bechtle Group, we discuss the status of digitization in schools after 10 months of new government.
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School digital is an important societal challenge. For politicians, teachers, parents and students, a digital world must become the norm and schools must be an essential part of it. For this, a better understanding of the topic “digital school” must be developed. Because only a considered and attentive approach will bring the often desired and gladly promised successes and improvements.
What happened to the grants
The focus in Germany is currently on bringing end devices to the educational institutions, to the students, to the teachers and perhaps to the administration. This is clearly shown by the numbers of the special budget of the school digital pact: 95 percent of the 500 million euros for “student loan devices” have been spent and, according to the latest figures, 85 percent of the “equipment for teachers” has been used up.
On the other hand, the fact that the funds for “administration” are hardly touched has understandable reasons – including a lack of skilled workers and schools in crisis mode. It is understandable that the creation of the media development plan required for an application for funding fell by the wayside, especially in the educational institutions that are not already well positioned.
Bureaucracy paralyzes the process
The media development plan to be completed by the school authority must contain points such as the initial situation and goals, media presentation and links to professions, pedagogical specifications, IT infrastructure, equipment, implementation and control, operation and investments. Once the funds are approved, there will be a call for tenders, contract award and installation. However, the students fell by the wayside. Because it takes up to two years from the first stroke of the pen on the concept to the computer being installed in the school. time lost by the students.
Gerit Günther, Head of Sales B2B – Corporate and Education, Acer Germany and Patrick Laux, Head of Schools, Bechtle Group.
Denmark is one step further
“Scandinavia is ahead of us, as I found out on a trip through Denmark,” says Patrick Laux. Denmark has a comparable development behind it, but society is much more digital than we are in Germany. “Digital trading is part of everyday life” and all administrative procedures must therefore be completed digitally. With this basic attitude, the education system has also changed. The frontal teaching practiced for 200 years and the division into 45 minutes per learning unit is no longer up to date.
How should digitization be implemented in our schools? How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting what is happening? What was achieved in the 2020/2021 school year – what happened next in 2021/2022? This is what our series of articles aims to shed light on.
There are no longer technical rooms in the schools, but so-called “maker spaces” with 3D printers, CNC milling machines and programmable robotic gripper arms. In addition, 3D printing is part of the regular lessons – tablets are already being used in kindergarten. As a result, the little ones produce their own videos and try their hand at programming. The change in Denmark did not take place structurally, rather visionary teachers gradually prevailed. “There are more and more visionary teachers in Germany too. We’re not on the wrong track,” Patrick Laux is convinced.
Where is Germany
In this context, a lack of understanding is raised by the fact that teachers without a permanent position are being sent out of work in some federal states over the summer holidays – this time could be better used for training. Education is a matter for the federal states, so it is also confusing that the Federal Ministry of Education and Research is setting up “competence centers for digital and digitally supported teaching in schools and further education”. “Whoever pays for the party can also order the music. In the future we have to tackle changes together,” says Gerit Günther.
A shift in the exhaustion of the funding is only marginally recognizable, there is a slight north-south divide and a simplification of the process would not change much. It often helps to provide the municipalities with an expert and reduce complexity. “The educational approach should be clearly separated from the technical approach,” says Gerit Günter.
It can be seen that digital education is moving more into focus again. Due to the Ukraine war in the past six months, the topic has been somewhat neglected. The schools, however, stayed tuned to the topic and would not have stopped working on “digital schools” – there are bold and trendy initiatives by school authorities.
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