Just shy of 20 students pull their chairs into a circle in their year six classroom. Just like every morning, they begin the day discussing who’s going to do what, and whether they want to tackle subjects individually or form working groups. Today, Jule wants to explore the rain forest. Before long, she finds six classmates to join her on her adventure. Donning virtual reality glasses, the children embark on a vivid expedition through the tropical jungle, solving tasks along the way to earn points towards their biology score. Depending on the subject at hand, and their individual level, they can collect bonus points—even across interdisciplinary subjects. On their trip along the Amazon, they also touch on politics, economics, and geography.
Meanwhile, another group of students is busy exploring the virtual reality of the pyramids. They bring Pharaohs to life, discover ancient Egyptian building culture, and compare mummification and other funeral rites. For the year six pupils, the trip to days gone by is an exciting learning experience.
A third group of pupils are learning individually. They complete their literature task by audio book or e-book, build a holographic simulation of a physics experiment, or challenge a “vocabulary bot” to a duel. The teaching material, media and methods are as varied as the students themselves and their individual learning styles. Everyone can acquire knowledge their own way and according to their individual level, mastering the ups and downs until they graduate with the qualification that best reflects their abilities.
Four teachers in varying constellations supervise the class. They aid students working on individual tasks and provide tailored support where needed. In double-period joint classes, the teachers moderate the students as they discuss what they’ve learned and direct their next learning steps.
The teaching staff is composed of specialists and career jumpers, social education workers, trainee teachers and their mentors, and a pool of experts in different fields that can be booked as needed. The school administration’s management dashboard visualises automatically allocated resources and enables teaching staff to access their plans for the day, week or term ahead.
The digital school portal also provides access to relevant information and activities for pupils and their parents. Teachers can publish assignments here and converse with their colleagues. The platform is where all stakeholders establish work groups, plan projects, organise outings, and initiate and publish different school-related activities.
All the various digital tools and processes are designed to elevate the quality of education, challenge and encourage students in line with their individual capabilities, and support and relieve teaching staff in their busy working days, with artificial intelligence evaluating students’ progress, for example, leaving more time for personal one-on-one supervision.
The schools of the future tap into cloud-based IT infrastructures with applications that are largely standardised, while adapting to federal, communal, or school-specific requirements. A powerful internet connection ensures reliable Wi-Fi coverage across the school. Students may work with their own smartphones or tablets, or with end devices provided by the school. All authorised persons can access the school network with the device of their choice, with data residing in a secure cloud.
All the year 9 classes are in full-on “maker mode”, joining forces as they model objects using different materials and methods, working with clay, wood, 3D printers, and more. The students trial different techniques and technologies, finding their preferred way to produce the things they’ll eventually hold in their hands. They can also use CAD or practice their calligraphy—or combine the two, like Arne, who is working on a Japanese-style box as a birthday present for his mother. The subject is all about blending digital and analogue methods, just like coding in the year before, when the curriculum had students build and program their own robots.
Already in year 13, Laura is tasked with conceptualising and realising an interdisciplinary project together with a group of fellow students. Her team has devised an escape room, in which players have to solve puzzles that require skills and knowledge in a variety of subjects from history to coding, as well as a good dose of intuition and collaboration. The documentation and evaluation of the project on a dedicated website all count towards Laura’s overall grade. Other groups have made their project a field trip or a simulation of a company. Examiners place a particular focus on the practical implementation and combination of different skills, with final exams finely-tuned to optimally prepare the young adults for the demands placed on them by society and working life. All the while fostering their ability to be discerning individuals who can actively shape their lives and never stop learning.
For Bechtle, too, digitalising education is all about connecting and integrating. The Public Sector division pools specialist expertise from three Competence Centres, with dedicated teams who tackle the complex challenges faced by educational staff and work very closely with the various federal, state and municipal stakeholders. The “connected dispersion” of the Bechtle branches perfectly reflects Germany’s federal education system. The IT experts understand that administration, education and infrastructure is a triad that must be carefully orchestrated. They conduct digitalisation projects from consulting and implementation to ongoing support, leveraging tailored processes, hardware and software, networks, training and much more—all with the aim of making sure the school of the future soon becomes reality.
Find out more on digital education with information and contacts available on the public sector pages.
Bechtle update editorial team
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Published on Apr 9, 2019.