A modern teaching and learning infrastructure is essential for schools to start preparing children for life in an increasingly digital world. Although digitisation has become part of everyday life for pupils outside school, using and examining digital media in detail is still the exception in the classroom.
The use of digital media and teaching methods present substantial financial and administrative challenges for many schools: computer rooms in schools frequently contain outdated hardware and software that is not freely accessible to pupils, and whose maintenance is commonly carried out on a voluntary basis by teaching staff. This means it is frequently not possible for pupils to prepare or review tasks carried out in class using digital teaching methods.
The Hasso Plattner Institute (HPI) has developed a pilot project called the Schul-Cloud (school cloud) in cooperation with the nationalen Excellence-Schulnetzwerk MINT-EC (national network for school excellence), which is supported by the Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF).
The aim of the school cloud is to help replace maintenance-intensive school computer rooms in the long-term and to provide all pupils, teachers, head teachers and parents with simple and secure access from any end device to digital educational, cooperative and organisational materials over the internet.
Advantages of the school cloud
• access to a wide range of digital teaching content independent of location or time
• digital education not limited to separate computer rooms
• professional service and maintenance, no need for time-consuming installation of software on individual end devices
• permanent availability of the newest software for teachers and pupils
• IT applications that meet current security standards
• contact point for new digital teaching material
• direct feedback from users
• stimulus for self-guided learning
• Ability to make self-prepared teaching materials more widely available
• expansion of teaching methods
• networking between different learning locations
The school cloud project is supported by Tübingen University and the Georg Eckert Institute (GEI) within the framework of an educational science companion study. The Georg Eckert Institute is a well-established national and international reference centre for textbook and textbook-related research and carries out research into educational media with a focus on history and cultural studies. Within its projects investigating digital education media the GEI focuses particularly on research into media skills and the media shift in schools.
The research by the GEI lends academic support to the implementation and further development of the school cloud. Taking advantage of the expertise provided by teachers and pupils the GEI holds workshops to discuss specific best practice examples for specialised classroom teaching. The institute’s researchers observe how the available digital teaching material can be meaningfully implemented in such lessons and analyses the accompanying challenges and opportunities. The aim of the study is to gain insights into how lessons can best be structured and prepared using the school cloud and digital media.
Editorial staff (alb)