Championing committed teachers, inspiring digital teaching: These are the aims of the ‘digitalheroes@Klassenzimmer’ initiative backed by CHG-MERIDIAN that has been endowed with prize money of €10,000.
More effective teaching, more interesting lessons, better learning outcomes: Digital learning unlocks enormous educational potential in schools, as digital media and tools help teachers to make lessons and support systems more creative and more stimulating. Students benefit from
progressive teachers who use digital tools to make complex content easier to understand and to tailor it to suit different paces of learning within the classroom.
When it comes to digitalization in schools, Germany lags far behind many other countries. This is partly down to the technical equipment. Many German schools still have no Wi-Fi, while in South Korea, for example, all schools have had broadband since the year 2000. But it is also partly due to the lack of strategic development of the digital learning structures that are required to bring schools into the digital age. The COVID-19 pandemic and resultant need for homeschooling has thrown into sharp relief the critical importance of digital learning for unrestricted access to education and this is now gaining increasing acceptance in Germany.
The digital revolution is changing the face of education. Writing materials and blackboards are being replaced by web-enabled devices and educational software. For Germany’s schools, this means significant investment and a lot of time spent on IT matters.
The road to educationally optimized digital learning is challenging, but pioneering teachers are already committed to taking it. And to honor these digital heroes of the classroom and drive forward the introduction of educational technology in schools, CHG-MERIDIAN is getting involved in the ‘digitalheroes@Klassenzimmer’ initiative run by the Mossakowski Foundation. The award has now been endowed with prize money for the first time.
Any teachers or teams of teachers from the state of Baden-Württemberg who use digital technologies in their day-to-day lessons are eligible to apply for the award. These could be anything from learning apps and electronic tests to videos or collaborative learning spaces – the range of possibilities is endless. Even hybrid solutions that combine old and new technology are allowed, provided that pupils use them to acquire knowledge. We are looking for examples of best practice, as one of the competition’s aims is to share existing knowledge and good experience as widely as possible.
"'digitalheroes@Klassenzimmer' is an award that will be given to teams or individual teachers in Baden-Württemberg who are pioneering new ways to use digital media and tools or digital support systems and are experimenting with new forms of teaching"
The digital projects will be judged by a panel of digital and education experts. In addition to CHG-MERIDIAN, the panel will include various other supporters of the initiative, such as the Center for Quality in Schools and Teacher Training (Zentrum für Schulqualität und Lehrerbildung – ZSL), the body responsible for overseeing teacher training and raising quality in education on behalf of the Baden-Württemberg Culture Ministry. The education initiative will report on interesting projects throughout the 2020/2021 school year. We will provide information about the projects in order to raise awareness of them among educators and highlight potential roadmaps for digital transformation in schools.
The prizes for the best three digital learning projects in Baden-Württemberg classrooms will be awarded at the end of the 2020/21 school year. The prizes of €5,000 (1st place), €3,000 (2nd place) and €2,000 (3rd place) are intended to be used to fund additional learning projects of the recipients’ choice.
The judging panel has been selected. Five experts from business, education, and academia will select the best digital pioneers at schools across Baden-Württemberg.
To better reflect the diversity of schools and their needs, the selection process for the judging panel of the digitalheroes@Klassenzimmer competition focused on including a wide range of expertise. The judges are Nina Brandau (education policy officer at Bitkom e.V.), Dr. Simon Maria Hassemer (project manager at the Center for Quality in Schools and Teacher Training in Stuttgart), Florian Karsten (professor in a didactics and teacher training department), Christiane Mutschler (HR Academy and Development team leader at CHG-MERIDIAN) and Frank-Ulrich Widmaier (principal of Talschule school in Weingarten). They will select the three best digital learning projects in Baden-Württemberg classrooms as part of a competition endowed with prize money of €10,000.
“I have been a teacher for five years and have worked with digital resources from day one. During this time, I have shared my experiences with colleagues at various events throughout Germany and Europe, and it has been a two-way process. I am always on the lookout for fresh ideas,” says Dr. Simon Maria Hassemer, explaining his motivation for sitting on the judging panel.
Digital media and tools help teachers to make their lessons more creative and engaging. The composition of the panel guarantees a wide range of perspectives and ensures that a variety of approaches are considered, from easy-to-implement to technically sophisticated solutions. “We are not looking for the perfect digital pioneer, we are looking for innovative ideas and concepts that can boost digital learning in schools. Everyone will benefit from good examples: pupils, teachers, and schools,” says Christiane Mutschler.
The competition is about recognizing good digitalization ideas and presenting them to a wider audience. “The goal of digitalheroes@Klassenzimmer is to encourage teachers to try out good approaches themselves and take a step toward digitalization at their school. The competition acts as a multiplier for successful best practice,” explains Jürgen Mossakowski, chairman of the eponymous foundation that launched the competition. He has also created a platform where teachers can learn from each other, share experiences and expertise, and find inspiration for their lessons.