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Digital school under construction #1

For months we have been thinking about digitization at our school. We read and observe, travel through the countries and interview other doers, thinkers and planners. We study concepts and adapt them, discuss different ideas and talk to the city, the district government and – of course – a lot within the college.

For two reasons I consider this series of new blog articles to be useful:
First, I know about my own forgetfulness. In three years‘ time, when I try to reflect on the process, I won’t remember the details. What we did when and how – already now all the information is blurring.
In addition, schools and colleagues* everywhere are in a similar position: you want to leave, you hear about tablet classes here and there but haven’t started yet.

The exchange has helped me enormously – I benefit from the fact that others have already gone the way and I would like to make a modest contribution here to give other thought-provoking impulses and illustrate what the way of our school looks like (or looked like for the future reader).

Our starting point

We are a comprehensive school under construction, sandwiched between two high schools in relative proximity. As a school under construction, we still have the enormous advantage of being agile and agile: changes can be brought about, evaluated and improved quickly. Introduction of a learning period? Is immediately implemented and continuously reflected upon. If we have to change something, it is changed. Things like that.

Our location means that we need a profile. This could be a scientific one or a linguistic one and is also influenced to some extent by how the schools in our environment present themselves: There aren’t enough students for three outstanding science schools.
Ultimately, we decided to become a „digital school“. Out of the conviction that, as Angela Merkel put it, „everything that can be digitized is also digitized. As a school under construction, it would be negligent to close our eyes to this, and especially now that we are still small and agile, we can bring about many changes more elegantly than later as a „supertanker“ with 100 teachers.

First Steps

In autumn last year – we have grades 5, 6 and 7 – we started with the first steps: We interviewed teachers* from schools with tablet classes and went on training courses. We collected all kinds of information about different approaches and models: iPad or ChromeOS or Windows? What concepts exist in the schools? Why do we want that at all? Why did the others want that? How can lessons change when you get such tools? And how can we as teachers enable ourselves to deal with this?

We also created the conditions for working digitally in our school: WhatsApp groups and mass mailings have been replaced by „Microsoft Teams“ and the entire staff uses a common OneNote notebook to exchange information: A glance at the notebook reveals whether the English department has planned loudspeakers in the budget or whether the secretariat is not staffed on February 30.

[…to be continued, if desired]

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