What is IT doing with secondary education? Philologists: school digitization should not be an end in itself

HANOVER. What does secondary education mean in a digitized world? The Association of Philologists of Lower Saxony has addressed the fundamental question – and adopted a resolution that concludes: the digitization of education should not be an end in itself. It only makes sense with accompanying didactization.

Digitization is changing learning – but how? Illustration: Shutterstock

“The last two years of the Covid-19 pandemic have shown that digitization must progress and that in the age of distance and work-study education we are dependent on digital media and digital education”, specify the philologists. The corona pandemic has contributed significantly to speeding up the introduction process in schools. Result: “Digitalization has and will continue to have a major impact on courses and schools. This cannot be stopped or desirable, as our students will later have to find their way in an increasingly digitized world. But it is by no means true that the world is digital. It never was and never will be. Instead, philologists call for “looking at the world as a whole.”

Only humans have begun to digitize the world. “The dual system based on Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz is the basis for the digitization of the world. However, anyone who thinks that the world can only be represented by zeros and ones is wrong. Leibniz’s fundamental thought was that the world should be in harmony, and he took a holistic approach as a matter of course. “The best of all possible worlds is not the current state, but a world with potential for development.” And that is exactly what and is still high school education,” the philologists explain. It’s holistic.

“Who uses a digitized world if you don’t develop a vision of art, music and culture? What good is a world of zeros and ones if you can’t speak other languages ​​and communicate in other cultures without Google Translator? What good is digital media if orientation in the number range up to 1000 is not possible or if traditional mathematical sentences can no longer be mastered? Who benefits from digitization if the human interaction like helping with physical education classes, the joy of experimentation in science classes, or the indivisible experiences that don’t come with literature and the performing arts? Digitization will change the world. However, it is neither the ultimate, as currently seen, nor the panacea for missing skills, abilities, and abilities.

Teaching in the gymnasium remains scientifically propaedeutic and epistemologically guided. “The propaedeutic approach to science is the criterion of teaching in high schools, because it consists of much more than zero and one. We must use the chances and possibilities of digitization, because we do not teach our students in a parallel society without media. The media competence of teachers and learners will play a much more important role in the future than before. The Association of Philologists has never been closed to digitization, quite the contrary: our many statements on computer courses, the use of computer algebra systems in MINT courses and the newly designed basic programs in natural science subjects demonstrate this impressively. The Association of Philologists of Lower Saxony has taken a stand and has not been stingy with constructive criticism of the concepts presented. We are here the corrective of developments that digitization too often sees only as an end in itself.

According to the association, digitization can only succeed with a sensible didactic implementation. “Digitalization is a means to an end, it is above all a medium and therefore a method. For it to prove to be a real added value for teaching, education and training, it must be subordinated to the primacy of didactics. The first school closures during the Corona pandemic showed that schools were not sufficiently prepared for digital teaching and learning processes. A transfer of analog teaching tasks to the Internet does not represent an improvement in learning and understanding. The mere use of digital media as methodical equipment is not sufficient to design teaching and learning processes and to achieve learning progress. As John Hattie’s study showed, the effectiveness of learning digital media without didactic access is extremely low. Moreover, the statement presented by the Permanent Scientific Commission of the KMK clearly indicates that the majority of teachers are critical of the use of digital media.

In order to increase acceptance among teachers, digitally assisted teaching concepts should develop high learning efficiency. “As for any other medium used, the didactics of the learning contents must have priority so that the digital supports are not degraded to another element of the carousel of methods. The use of digital media should be evaluated in terms of learning effectiveness.

The demands are: to develop in-service teacher training – and: to use young teachers as multipliers of digital skills. “The basis of digitization is the rapid establishment and expansion of a digital infrastructure with broadband connections. The democratic participation of all requires that it be maintained in both rural and urban areas. In addition to equipping teachers with service devices and using them in accordance with the GDPR in a legally flawless manner, teachers must also be allowed to use digital media in schools adequately and in the classroom in a way justified didactics. These skills need to be trained. To do this, the State must develop a concept of “digital education – digital teaching” and then provide continuous training for teachers.

He goes on to say, “In order to accelerate digitalization in schools, digital skills multipliers are needed. Without a doubt, they are all preparatory teachers who have grown up in an increasingly digitized world. The skills of this generation of teachers must now go to the schools, because that would mean a major boost to digitalization. Therefore, after a successful preparatory service, all teachers must be employed in the Lower Saxony school service. News4teachers


The representative assembly of the association of philologists of Lower Saxony asks in the wording:

1. Statewide expansion of digital broadband infrastructure (also in all areas)

2. Immediate supply of digital devices to teachers as desktop computers

3. Develop, test and implement didactic concepts for the use of digital media

4. Evaluate the use of digital media in the classroom with respect to the effectiveness of learning

5. Provide low-threshold vocational training concepts and offers

6. Hire all preparatory service teachers as multipliers for high school education in an increasingly digitized society

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