At schonborn high school on friday started a new digital ara. The first tablet class in school history received its work equipment. "It was like christmas, explains deputy principal jens hupfer. The school is breaking new ground, as is the district, which has created the technical prerequisites for this. And because the tablet class is still something special in bavaria’s everyday school life, the project is being scientifically monitored by the university of wurzburg.
A lot of preparatory work and initiative on the part of the school was needed before the 25 students in the tablet class could receive their devices on friday morning and start using them together with their teachers. The idea of offering such a class arose during an external teacher training course attended by teachers from the grammar school. Colleagues were quickly found who wanted to follow suit. Principal joachim schwigon was also immediately behind the project. "I expect a lot from it", he explains.
Didactically, legally and technically, the prerequisites had to be created so that the school could take this step into digital teaching. Joachim schwigon is grateful to the district, which agreed to provide the necessary infrastructure. That wasn’t easy, partly because the digital bandwidth available in munzburg is still not optimal. Finally, it must be ensured that all students use their devices at the same time and that the school’s wifi network does not collapse. The IT department had its hands full during the summer vacations. "We didn’t do things by the book", explains the head of the IT department at the district administration office, jurgen bischoff. But it worked out in time. And the IT department has also created a basis and standards that will help in the future when similar projects begin at other schools in the district. Jurgen bischoff found it praiseworthy that the school had already developed concrete ideas about what was needed and thus also cooperated with the IT people.
Every child in the tablet class received an ipad with a pen on friday; various apps that are needed for the lessons are installed on it. The handy little computer is thus a notebook, textbook, notepad and learning platform all in one. The parents had to buy the equipment themselves. If families can’t afford it, the forderverein provides financial support for the purchase.
Even for the electronic books and the necessary user licenses, costs may still be incurred. But the costs are no higher than the usual school needs that arise in traditional teaching, emphasizes jens hupfer. For example, he mentions the school atlas. Parents have always had to buy one. The atlas app was much more affordable.
Director of studies andreas keim was one of the teachers who supported the "tablet class" project from the very beginning have accompanied. On friday, his first impression was: "the children already have a rough basic competence," explains the IT specialist. Although they had only just received the devices that day, they had already dealt with them in a very professional manner.
The classroom was therefore also bustling with activity. Following instructions from their teachers, the equipment was made ready for teaching step by step. The students had to memorize a lot of steps that day, but they had no problem with it. "It’s going to be okay, said one schoolgirl calmly. "Cool", "exciting" are the adjectives used by the fifth-graders when they are asked about the future teaching with tablets.
All the ipads in the fifth grade are networked together. The teacher can connect to the individual devices and thus keep an eye on whether everyone is on task. The students can see if the teacher is looking at their work. "The children are not being secretly observed, andreas keim emphasizes.
Over the next few weeks, the teachers will systematically gain experience with digital teaching. It will be interesting to see, for example, whether apps actually replace any paper booklets. Also the handling of the electronic textbooks will bring new experiences. The books offer possibilities that the printed book does not have: the digital english book is also a listening book, with which the students can better internalize the sound of a language.
"Exciting", teachers also say working in the tablet class will. And there’s one more thing that schoolchildren and teachers have in common: they’re looking forward to the new ways of teaching.