Homeschooling, childcare at home in the home office, alternating classes and the daily mixing of the worlds of school and home - for the past year, families, teachers, educational professionals, students and daycare centers have been struggling with the exhausting, digital or hybrid daily routine. "This year has confirmed several times: The extent to which digital technologies are optimally used for learning stands and falls with how well we understand and can operate them," emphasizes Verena Pausder, founder of the HABA Digital Workshop and recognized expert for digital education in Germany. In her opinion, there is still an enormous need to catch up.
Many adults came to this realization during the last lockdown and intensified their search for suitable digital education offerings. The motto here is: the earlier my children start, the better. They found what they were looking for at the HABA Digitalwerkstatt, for example. Experienced training staff there send children aged six to twelve on a playful journey through the digital world. In thinking and experimentation rooms, they build robots, program games, and make animated films or create their own art and music; since 2020, also in hybrid or online courses and workshops. The number of participants shows that the program is well received: around 14,000 children took part in the workshops in 2019, rising to 15,000 in 2020.
Cooperation enables equal opportunities
New conceptual approaches for more equal opportunities in the lockdown phase were made possible by several cooperation partners. "Thanks to the HABA Digitalwerkstatt's collaborations with Media-Saturn-Holding or the NRW-Forum, we were able to offer online workshops free of charge or at least at a greatly reduced price and reach even more children who would not normally be able to take advantage of our offerings," says a delighted Karile Klug, Managing Director. Logitech Inc. provided professional conference cameras, Zoom issued four free licenses and also acted as workshop sponsor. The examples are setting a precedent: other companies will be working with the HABA Digital Workshop in 2021. Zonta, for example, offers scholarships to support single parents in the final stages of their studies. The international service club of professional women in responsible positions, which improves the living situations of women, provides targeted support for programming workshops for girls. The ridesharing service MOIA sponsors free school workshops at disadvantaged schools, and Continental focuses on programming workshops for girls on the topics of mobility and autonomous driving for Girls Day. The HABA Digitalwerkstatt creates completely new, individual content for this purpose.
Online courses alone are not enough
"The importance of and deficits in digital education have been ruthlessly exposed by the pandemic. Many companies now want to be actively involved in finding suitable solutions to close this gap and are asking us for target group-specific teaching and learning concepts," Klug is pleased to report. But she also knows from experience over the past year: "Shifting school teaching and learning activities for the little ones exclusively to the web doesn't work." Direct, face-to-face interaction is important in a child's development, she says, and not all content can be taught simply and easily online. "Especially for elementary school students, it is very difficult to follow online lessons if they are not yet fluent in reading and writing," he said. Then they need the know-how and competent guidance of trained teachers and educational specialists as well as parents."
Quantum leap in digital education only with well thought-out concepts
"What we are currently seeing is a quantum leap in digital education. Buying hardware for schools or laptops for students is not enough, of course; we need viable concepts. More and more parents, teachers, schools and companies understand this. We need an encouraging environment in which teachers and students can practice and try out digital content and digital formats, even in the presence of others," Klug is convinced. In this respect, the Corona pandemic could lead to a positive, digital awakening in the education sector in the long term.
The HABA Digitalwerkstatt:
The HABA Digitalwerkstatt is a company of the HABA family of companies and a protected workshop space where children discover the digital world under the guidance of experienced media education specialists and trainers. The Digital Workshop supports parents, grandparents, godparents, teachers, and educational professionals in preparing children for the digital future both responsibly and playfully. In 2020, 15,000 workshops with children and adults were implemented at the current nine locations or in online and hybrid variants. Companies are given the opportunity to promote education for children through collaborations. In the long term, these collaborations make an important contribution to promoting young talent and reducing the shortage of skilled workers. The form of the cooperation can be discussed and adapted individually. The vision of the HABA Digital Workshop: all children in Germany can participate in our digitized society - regardless of school offerings, family know-how, individual strengths or any impairments.