The digitization of education has been called for for years, but the coronavirus pandemic has given this requirement a whole new level of urgency. So that children are not dependent on how fit their parents, school administrators and teachers are, framework conditions must be created that enable the greatest possible participation.
So how should digitization be implemented in our educational institutions? How has it gone so far? Which tools and equipment have already proven themselves, which should and should come? And what could the school look like in a few decades – after a major boost to digitization? Our series of articles “Digitization of Education” would like to shed further light on this question.
Study does not certify such a bad report
Most school-age children have had digital lessons or at least digital exchanges with teachers during school closings. 85 percent of the households surveyed said this in a study conducted by Kantar on. However, it also shows that there is a strong dependence on the digital skills of teachers.
Around half of the parents were satisfied with the lessons, but a third were also dissatisfied. In the study, 54 percent stated that the teachers designed the digital lessons on their own initiative. 42 percent, however, say that the teachers were overwhelmed. 59 percent found the use of the schools themselves to be satisfactory – at least the schools would have done everything in their power. A third found the schools to be a drag.
How should digitization be implemented in our schools? How has it gone so far? This is what our series of articles would like to illuminate.
Crisis as an opportunity
“We need nationwide standards to ensure that teachers have the necessary digital skills,” demands Hannes Schwaderer, President of the D21 initiative, who commissioned the study alongside the TU Munich. He thinks that a “digital ABC” should be integrated into the education and training system. The crisis must be used as an opportunity to “establish modern, contemporary and crisis-proof forms of education and learning”.
Parents cited the lack of support from schools (37 percent) as the main obstacle to digital teaching, followed by internet problems (31 percent) and the teachers’ lack of digital skills (30 percent). The technical equipment at home, however, played a subordinate role (14 percent). Only 8 percent saw legal uncertainty, i.e. questions of data protection or copyright, as a hurdle. The software doesn’t seem too complicated either. In contrast, the less technical, more social problems of the “incomprehensible tasks of the teacher” and the “uncoordinated communication channels” have landed in the middle of the hurdles for digital teaching.
Technology is not enough
The most frequently used device is the smartphone, followed by a laptop. Learning content was mainly forwarded by email (81 percent), half of the teachers used video conferencing, and messengers were also used (32 percent). School servers and learning platforms, the collection of tasks at school, the telephone and the mail have been used less. Prof. Dr. Helmut Krcmar from the Technical University of Munich says: “Education thrives on interaction between students and teachers. (…) Sending worksheets by e-mail is insufficient.” Digitization demands new thinking. Old processes and behavior patterns would have to be reinterpreted in order to exploit the full potential of digitization.
In June, 1005 people aged 18 and over in private households were interviewed for the study. The entire “eGovernment Monitor 2020” report on the use and acceptance of digital administrative services will be published in October.
You will also find these articles for our series “Schule digital”, others appear every Friday: