Digi:BarCamp ‘Education in the 21st Century’

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You can’t possibly talk about digital education for more than 800 minutes in a span of four hours? Of course, you can! At the Digi:BarCamp ‘Education in the 21st Century’, the Mobile City Laboratory’s first online BarCamp on the second nationwide Digital Day 2021. A total of 18 sessions offered presentations, food for thought, exchange of experiences as well as networking opportunities. After all, digital challenges in the education sector can only be solved by working together. And the diversity of the 45-minute sessions made it clear that there are indeed many challenges to overcome.

The Digital Learning Workshop at the Smart City Laboratory had invited visitors to the BarCamp in order to make contemporary education and learning in Smart City Darmstadt visible and to share knowledge and ideas. There were sessions that presented innovative digitally supported learning formats and techniques, such as blended learning. Others highlighted the opportunities and risks as well as the creative possibilities offered by digital education. Participants were able to attend the sessions flexibly throughout the event, switching between sessions, or joining them later – depending on their interest. That’s what makes BarCamps so special: they have an open learning culture and are highly flexible. As ad-hoc conferences, they are ideally suited to work on complex topics and do so on an equal footing.

After a brief introduction and explanation of the various sessions, we got started, with participants switching to their respective online rooms. The option of switching sessions spontaneously was rarely taken up thanks to the extremely interesting topics on hand. For example, during the session ‘Digitalisation in education’, it was discovered that ‘we are headed to the moon when it comes to digitalisation’. That this is not always meant positively becomes clear when you consider that the first moon landing was over 50 years ago. Many things simply take too long, concepts are lacking and submitting applications is far too complicated. Opportunities, on the other hand, were seen in connecting people, including digitally.

And it was also all about opportunities with ‘Finally, lend an ear to others again! Choral singing with Jamulus’. At first glance, it does not come across as an educational topic, but singing in a choir trains the brain and is of value across all disciplines. And since the participants were of the same opinion, they used this session to explore how they can sing together in times of limitations. The focus here was on technology – in electronic form on the one hand and in breathing while singing on the other. It’s also why various breathing exercises were presented.

Speaking of ‘breath’, participants of the session ‘Artificial intelligence (AI) is a hot topic, but what exactly is it?’ had to hold theirs for a long time, as the discussion continued well after the session had ended. It was preceded by an introduction to the topic, a discussion about the pros and cons and an illustration of various examples. It also presented a website with a portrait of a non-existent computer-generated person (thispersondoesnotexist.com).

In contrast, nothing was generated by the computer in the session ‘Visual thinking (Sketchnotes) as a universal tool for everyone – digital and analogue’. Here, handmade notes were created with the help of text, images and structures. This is because visuals are often easier to memorise than texts, for example. Participants were able to experiment first-hand how helpful visualising learning and knowledge content is – even while studying– in times of information overload. One participant summed it up aptly: ‘Humans are visual animals!’

The session ‘Communities and technology providers learn from each other – on the path to responsible digital transformation’ also focused on data protection. Here, for example, the digital citizen file was discussed. The aim is to simplify the exchange of data between the authorities. In smaller communities, where everyone knows everyone, this could, however, be met with scepticism. The participants are therefore aware that a number of questions still need to be clarified. And this requires constant dialogue and learning from each other.

They are not alone in their opinion. In the other sessions, too, there could have been more discussion. This in turn shows that many people want to help shape digital transformation – even if it is in a BarCamp format. After all, everyone experienced this on the Friday afternoon: contemporary education in our digitally driven culture only works together!

The hosts:

Content creation – YouTube, Twitch and Instagram in an educational context? Mareike Wagner und Enrico Steuer (Medienzentrum Darmstadt-Dieburg)

The Darmstadt Digital Education Pathfinder – shows you educational paths! Mona Ruch and Fabian Jankowski (students at the Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences and Darmstadt Volkshochschule)

Artificial intelligence (AI) is a hot topic, but what exactly is it? Prof. Elke Hergenröther and Antonio Jorba (Technical University Darmstadt and IT Lab Count+Care GmbH)

Visual thinking (Sketchnotes) as a universal tool for everyone – digital and analogue Christopher Henke

Digital parenting Diana Ciancia and Richard Jordan (Stadtelternbeirat Darmstadt)

Model schools and the media pedagogical case workshop Lars Gerber (Technical University Darmstadt)

How algorithms try to influence our actions: methods laboratory Volker Löw (Büro für Medienbildung)

Learning and experimenting with the Mobile City Laboratory – presentation and brainstorming Anne Weisel and Nancy Teichmann (Smart City Darmstadt)

More presence online – learning strategy and interaction Birgit Swoboda and Elke Spatz-Dascher (Femkom e.V.)

Possibilities of digitally aided teaching at primary level Katrin Senst-Johnen (teacher and IT officer at a primary school)

Rethinking learning – contemporary education at the Erich Kästner School (IGS) Murat Alpoguz (teacher at the Erich Kästner School IGS Darmstadt)

Programming with the CALLIOPE mini – also in distance learning Tilman Happel (Medienzentrum Darmstadt)

Digital change in values – talking to Darmstadt’s culture people Ilona Einwohlt (Haus der digitale Medienbildung / MuK Hessen e.V.)

City, country, data flow – the app for more data competence Lena Feilke and Simon Mues (Volkshochschule Darmstadt)

Finally, lend an ear to others again! Choral singing with Jamulus Claudia Nicolai (Academy of Tonkunst)

Do we already need digital education in day care centres? Cordula Kahl (MuK Hessen e.V.)

Digitalisation in education – why is it so difficult? Peter Holnick (MuK Hessen e.V.)

Municipalities and technology providers: connecting and learning from each other – on the road to responsible digital transformation Veneta Ivanova, Hauke Schlüter, Matthias Unbescheiden (Fraunhofer Institute for Computer Graphics Research IGD & House of Digital Transformation)


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