When the coronavirus unleashed a wave of digitalisation, educators at Gifhorn’s Albert-Schweitzer primary school suddenly found themselves thrown in the deep end. “Before the virus, we didn’t even have Wi-Fi,” remembers the school’s head teacher, Franziska Mende. Today, both pupils and teachers are excited about the rich learning experience powered by the internet, tablets and digital boards. Here are three lessons gleaned from the school’s successful campaign to go digital.
You’ll have to embrace a digital mindset. It may sound like a commonplace thing to say, but digital education does begin in the heads of those who educate.
The town of Gifhorn counts ten schools within its remit. When the school authority drafted a then purely technical concept three years earlier, the mind shift towards a holistic and consistent modernisation of the school landscape had already happened quite some time before.
As early as 2010, in fact, whenever school buildings were undergoing renovation, the local government began adding essential infrastructure that would eventually be needed for the digital transformation, such as in-wall network cabling and a healthy number of wall sockets.
Nobody can go the digital journey alone. Even a town like Gifhorn, which had already put a lot of things on the right track, will eventually hit its limits and need the help of a trusted IT service provider.
Gifhorn reached this point when its ten schools wanted to equip no less than 182 classrooms at 11 sites with interactive boards, and with a variety of configurations, too. Some fixed, some mobile, with a whiteboard wing on the left, on the right, on either side, or without, plain, squared, lined, and even with music staves.
“We couldn’t have pulled that off without Bechtle,” says Felix Meyer, Gifhorn’s school IT manager.
besides the right mindset and the right partner, you have to keep in mind that it’s all about empowering people.
“Bechtle didn’t take long to allay our concerns,” says Franziska Mende. Even during the initial training sessions on the new boards, the staff quickly motivated each other with their enthusiasm. And the pupils? “They absolutely love these boards,” says Ms Mende.
The swift campaign at the primary school shows just how important it is for a fast and successful digitalisation project to have the right conditions in place. Even if they may not yet be as far along the journey as Gifhorn was when the virus struck, if they take the lessons learned there to heart, any education provider will be able to find the exact support they need to turn their plans and projects into a resounding success.