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What role do digital media currently play in the German school system? How do teachers view the situation in their schools? We now have answers to these questions thanks to the study “Digital School – The Federal Indicator”, which was carried out in the summer of 2021 under the direction of assistant professor Dr. Ramona Lorenz from the Center for Research on Education and School Development (IFS) at TU Dortmund University and published by the Deutsche Telekom Foundation. The study also looked into teaching and learning conditions during the coronavirus pandemic.
Based on the findings of a fourth survey – which was preceded the Federal Indicators carried out by the IFS in 2015, 2016 and 2017 – the study provides up-to-date information on the use of digital media in teaching and learning in general secondary schools in Germany. The representative survey, in which a total of 1,512 teachers at the lower secondary level participated, provides a comprehensive view of the extent to which digital media have already made their way into classrooms and highlights the developments throughout the various federal states. Released four years after the previous Federal Indicator, the 2021 study continues to focus on topics that are central to teaching and learning with digital media: IT equipment in schools and IT support, the use of digital media in the classroom, the promotion of computer- and information-related skills among schoolchildren, and teachers’ ability to deal with digital media in class.
Teachers find IT equipment in schools inadequate
Just over half (56.6 percent) of the teachers surveyed described the IT equipment in their schools as sufficient – this figure has barely increased since the 2017 survey (55.6 percent). When asked about the availability of adequate internet access in their schools, the teachers’ responses were even more critical: While over two thirds (67.3 percent) of the respondents in 2017 described their internet access as sufficient, only 53.7 percent share this opinion in 2021. “The IT equipment in schools does not seem to be keeping up with the technical and pedagogical requirements for teaching and learning with digital media,” says Dr. Ramona Lorenz.
The percentage of teachers at the lower secondary level in Germany who use digital media on a regular basis (at least once a week) has risen sharply: From 50.1 percent (2017) to 73.3 percent (2021). When compared to other education systems, Germany is falling behind in this regard.
The coronavirus pandemic posed many challenges for schools – particularly on a technical level. Almost three quarters (73.6 percent) of the teachers surveyed in Germany stated that schoolchildren had the option of borrowing digital devices such as laptops or tablets if they did not have adequate equipment at home for distance learning. Three fifths (60.1 percent) of the teachers claimed to have noticed an improvement in this situation since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.
Different regional focuses
However, the 2021 Federal Indicator also clearly shows that the federal states are continuing to develop at different rates and are setting different priorities with regard to “digital teaching and learning materials in the classroom”. For instance, while 87 percent of the teachers surveyed in Bavaria stated that they use digital media in the classroom at least once a week, only 57 percent said the same in Hamburg. When considered as a whole, the findings of the study indicate that additional action is required, particularly in the federal states of Baden-Württemberg, Brandenburg and Thuringia. This suggests that the educational opportunities of children and young people as well as general teaching and learning conditions continue to depend heavily on the individual’s place of residence – despite the nationwide strategies and measures implemented in Germany.
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Location & approach
The campus of TU Dortmund University is located close to interstate junction Dortmund West, where the Sauerlandlinie A 45 (Frankfurt-Dortmund) crosses the Ruhrschnellweg B 1 / A 40. The best interstate exit to take from A 45 is “Dortmund-Eichlinghofen” (closer to South Campus), and from B 1 / A 40 “Dortmund-Dorstfeld” (closer to North Campus). Signs for the university are located at both exits. Also, there is a new exit before you pass over the B 1-bridge leading into Dortmund.
To get from North Campus to South Campus by car, there is the connection via Vogelpothsweg/Baroper Straße. We recommend you leave your car on one of the parking lots at North Campus and use the H-Bahn (suspended monorail system), which conveniently connects the two campuses.
TU Dortmund University has its own train station (“Dortmund Universität”). From there, suburban trains (S-Bahn) leave for Dortmund main station (“Dortmund Hauptbahnhof”) and Düsseldorf main station via the “Düsseldorf Airport Train Station” (take S-Bahn number 1, which leaves every 15 or 30 minutes). The university is easily reached from Bochum, Essen, Mülheim an der Ruhr and Duisburg.
You can also take the bus or subway train from Dortmund city to the university: From Dortmund main station, you can take any train bound for the Station “Stadtgarten”, usually lines U41, U45, U 47 and U49. At “Stadtgarten” you switch trains and get on line U42 towards “Hombruch”. Look out for the Station “An der Palmweide”. From the bus stop just across the road, busses bound for TU Dortmund University leave every ten minutes (445, 447 and 462). Another option is to take the subway routes U41, U45, U47 and U49 from Dortmund main station to the stop “Dortmund Kampstraße”. From there, take U43 or U44 to the stop “Dortmund Wittener Straße”. Switch to bus line 447 and get off at “Dortmund Universität S”.
The AirportExpress is a fast and convenient means of transport from Dortmund Airport (DTM) to Dortmund Central Station, taking you there in little more than 20 minutes. From Dortmund Central Station, you can continue to the university campus by interurban railway (S-Bahn). A larger range of international flight connections is offered at Düsseldorf Airport (DUS), which is about 60 kilometres away and can be directly reached by S-Bahn from the university station.
The H-Bahn is one of the hallmarks of TU Dortmund University. There are two stations on North Campus. One (“Dortmund Universität S”) is directly located at the suburban train stop, which connects the university directly with the city of Dortmund and the rest of the Ruhr Area. Also from this station, there are connections to the “Technologiepark” and (via South Campus) Eichlinghofen. The other station is located at the dining hall at North Campus and offers a direct connection to South Campus every five minutes.
The facilities of TU Dortmund University are spread over two campuses, the larger Campus North and the smaller Campus South. Additionally, some areas of the university are located in the adjacent “Technologiepark”.