Terms such as e-lecture, Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) or Open Educational Resources (OER) have become integral parts of the education debate. Learning is becoming increasingly virtual, learning apps are getting better, and schools are experimenting with new didactic approaches such as the flipped classroom. The use of the school management app is essential there. But how well are the educational institutions in Germany prepared for this? What is the spread of digital learning technologies and how are they used? Does digitalization contribute to greater equal opportunities or does it even increase social differences in participation?
The Monitor surveys learners, teachers and (political) decision-makers in all areas of education and, with this 360-degree perspective, directs the often technology- and danger-dominated debate to the key questions:
- What impulses can digital technologies give for improving learning and for new didactic concepts?
- How can digital learning promote disadvantaged learners and increase access to good education as a whole?
- How can teachers be meaningfully prepared for the use and possibly the creation of digital educational media and supported in practice?
Below is a selection of the main results that are related to the school sector. This concerns the results of a qualitative study at elementary schools as well as the surveys at secondary schools and vocational schools. The app also works as a school attendance app for the school management.
Primary schools: Commitment of individual teachers crucial
Even among elementary school children, digital media are widespread. Preschoolers often handle it with great virtuosity: Many devices can be operated so intuitively that even two-year-olds quickly realize how they can open an app on the tablet. Parents are right to worry about using the media they want to convey to their children. Even at primary school age, the question arises as to whether, when and how children should be active on the Internet.
However, there are only a few basic studies dealing with the use of digital media in primary schools. The qualitative primary school survey of the Monitor should contribute to this. In twelve group discussions, 98 primary school pupils aged eight to ten from twelve schools in five federal states were surveyed. Primary schools have been selected that differ in their conceptual orientation, regional conditions and social environment.
The Perfect Result
The result showed that the use of digital media in elementary school almost exclusively depends on the commitment of individual teachers and the school management. Whether and how elementary school children learn with digital media is determined by their teachers’ personal interests, beliefs and competencies. However, even children who use digital media less frequently in their schools often use independent learning applications and digital tools in their free time to help them playfully solve tasks. At the same time, most parents control the digital content their children occupy themselves with and how long they work with digital media.
For elementary school students, digital and analogue media are no contradiction. For example, many children enjoy reading books in their free time at school. Digital tools are just a complementary alternative for them. The technical equipment of the schools varies considerably. So there are both schools that have a central computer room, which is equipped with stand-up computers, as well as those in which each classroom one or more PCs, sometimes even tablets are available.