Issue 97, April 2018
bullet Education Technology
Interview with Dr. Ulrich Schmid
bullet HPI Schul-Cloud
bullet Portcrash
bullet Innovation: Quizzer
Education Technology
Have you ever watched a video online on how to fix your washing machine or search the web how to solve an issue with your PC? Learning through digital media is already part of our everyday life. Children are taking virtual school trips to historic sites, students around the world are listening to lectures by US University professors and meet in digital study groups and scenario-based learning is offered in workplaces. Digitalization is changing the way we learn and work.

This month's newsletter introduces four examples of Germany's EdTech scene. HPI Schul-Cloud aims to support German schools on their way to digital transformation, through a digital platform. Portcrash focuses on the combination of traditional and digital learning methods through games used by children and teachers.
DigiLernPlus simplifies leaning on the job by sharing knowledge and thus enables employee to be more self-sufficient. While Quizzer gives companies the tools to educate their employees through fun app games.

Dr. Ulrich Schmid, Managing Partner of mmb Institute, highlights in this newsletter's interview the great potentials of digital education and its state in Germany today. Furthermore, he addresses the effects of digital education on inequality and stresses the importance of the human component in learning (or education).

To further explore this topic the DWIH is excited host the panel discussion "The University of Tomorrow" at the German House in New York in the evening of May 9, 2018, addressing how institutions of higher education in the US and Germany are changing in the digital age. How do they meet the demands of a new generation of scholars and scientists and how do they adapt to disruptive technologies such as blockchain and cloud computing? How can new models of public-private partnership assist in making these transitions?

Interview with Dr. Ulrich Schmid, Managing Partner of mmb Intitute

In this month interview, Dr. Schmid compares the state of digital education in Germany and the US and stresses the importance of the personal relationship between teachers and students. 

mmb Institute is an independent research institute conducting studies and research projects for institutions like the Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF), the German Forum for Higher Education in the Digital Age and foundations like the Bertelsmann Stiftung. Dr. Schmid's main focus is on digitalization and higher and corporation education.

To read the full interview, click here.

Image: Ulrich Schmid

Cloud computing enables individuals as well as institutions to store and manage large amounts of data on internet-based servers rather than single computers. This information is available from anywhere and on any online device.
The opportunity to use data on secure, easily accessible platforms could enormously benefit educational institutions. To support German schools in undergoing a digital transformation, the Hasso Plattner Insitute (HPI), one of Germany's leading IT university institutes, is currently developing a future-oriented cloud infrastructure for schools throughout Germany, the so-called  "HPI Schul-Cloud".  Funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and developed in close cooperation with the excellence school network MINT-EC, the HPI Schul-Cloud aims to lay the foundation for modern education with state-of-the-art technology and will open up innovative ways to convey, acquire, and develop knowledge at school. Teachers can provide their students with diverse digital learning materials, such as maps, videos, podcasts and interactive worksheets, while taking into account the specific skill level of individual students. Via the HPI Schul-Cloud, homework and projects can be assigned to groups, driving cooperation, knowledge sharing and teamwork among classmates. Teachers and students will be able to reach each other through secure communication channels, give feedback as well as create and share new content with others.   
The pilot phase is currently being carried out with 27 STEM-focused high schools throughout Germany and will be expanded to 300 from May onwards.

Source & Image: Hasso Plattner Institute for Digital Engineering gGmbH

Portcrash Beitrag3

Maike Niemeier, founder of Portcrash, believes that for effective learning children need to form an emotional and physical bond with real life elements; teaching only digitally would be to abstract. This is why Portcrash is combining digital and analog content and aiming at bridging the gap between traditional childhood education and digital media. Through storytelling and gamification centered around the feisty intergalactic pirate girl Cap'n Portcrash and her crew, children can explore art, physics, chemistry, coding, math, and music in their spare time.
Portcrash uses books which feature QR-coded links to browse games, experiments, and additional materials to educate children in a playful, humorous way while being based on pedagogic principles. Design, haptics, and audio are tailored to provide children with the conditions they need to improve their focus and to strengthen effective learning.
The EdTech startup was founded late 2017 with the aim to make education fun for students, teachers, and parents alike. Alongside the educational games, the Portcrash engineering team also created a licensing system for educators: 'Rock the Boat with Cap'n Portcrash'. This innovative music education program for kids aged four to eight, is based on four textbooks that children and teachers use in class. 'Rock the Boat with Cap'n Portcrash' offers a flexible subscription model with a digital backend supplying the licensees with well-tailored content. Additionally, the mini-musical 'Cap'n Portcrash - Barbecue Day', lets students transform themselves into their favorite characters and showcase their talents.

Source &  Image:  Portcrash UG & Co. KG

Productivity, flexibility and quality are essential to industrial production. Ideally, employees should have a range of skills and capabilities as well as the knowledge about the entire process of manufacturing in order to trouble-shoot or to make decisions related to quality assurance. But because obtaining comprehensive knowledge about all aspects of production is very time intensive DigiLernPro, a research project funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research - BMBF, focuses on new forms of learning in the workplace.

DigiLearnPro's software thrives to simplify training-on-the-job by creating semi-automatically-generated digital learning scenarios. These scenarios are created and recorded by trained employees and instructors. Should an employee encounter a problem they can access a learning scenario, teaching them the necessary skills to solve the problem.

By integrating this kind of vocational training in the work process, DigiLernPro is linking learning to the professional activity right away. This approach is promoting the development and self-learning skills of the trainees.
DigiLernPro is a result of the cooperation by the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI), the Chair of Production Systems at the Ruhr-University of Bochum, the Festo Learning Center, the Brabant & Lehnert Company, and the Institute for Information Management Bremen GmbH.

Source & Image: DigiLernPro

Quizzer by Mobile Learning Labs GmbH aims at revolutionizing employee training. Since 2015 the mobile application uses playful games to provide qualified employees with an array of training elements, product information or knowledge about their company's history.

The app is used intuitively and is designed to systematically close knowledge gaps. Features like contests, even with colleagues from other locations or high scores are intended to motivate employees to learn useful facts about their field of work. Furthermore Quizzer is substituting the classical seminar structure. Currently, it is used by the vocational seminar at the Industrie- und Handelskammer Karlsruhe. The app will serve as an online course starting in May 2018 to educate adults about complex academic facts. Students will learn not only through repetition of the content, but by diversifying the players' perspective on the topics to establish a three-dimensional viewpoint in order to support long-term learning effects.

For the largest German food retailer, Quizzer was individually altered to create the app WizzUp!. This app trains apprentices and professionals with the use of 30 questionnaires and up to 5000 questions that can be used independent from place and time. WizzUp! the quiz app won the eLearning-Award 2018 at the education fair didacta in Hannover.

Source &  Image: Mobile Learning Labs GmbH