Digitalisation and eLearning in Thuringian Schools
Rise of eLearning platforms is credited due to the rapid growth of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in the education sector. eLearning has a huge potential at the secondary and higher secondary schools in Germany. Several schools (even private learning institutes) already rely on electronic writing boards in the classrooms. This enables the digitisation of every lesson taught or activity conducted in the classrooms. Students have the possibility to take the teachers’ slide during the daily lessons in digital format.
Continuing with the digitisation of education sector, two public sector organisations have decided to launch an eLearning platform for all the schools in Thuringia. In March 2020 the German state of Thuringia, Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport (TMBJS) in collaboration with Thuringian Institute for Teacher Training, Curriculum Development and Media (Thillm) has launched an eLearning platform called “Thüringer Schulcloud” (Thuringian School Cloud). Thüringer Schulcloud will help enhance the digitalisation of cooperation, collaboration and customisation of learning processes for teachers and students alike. Schools housed within the state of Thuringia are free to opt for and integrate with the Schulcloud. The Schulcloud will enable numerous opportunities of eLearning content for every subject taught. Students can work either individually or collaboratively in the eLearning platform to do their projects or homework.
eLearning amidst Covid-19
The launch of Thuringian eLearning platform comes at the time when schools all across Germany stand closed due to the spread of Covid-19 or Corona Virus. The closure of schools and a lock down of most of the German cities eventually means that 728,300 schools are now closed. This situation leaves a question mark on the future of 11 Million students who are out of school for indefinite period (depending upon the spread and prevention of Corona virus). In this regard, Schulplatform is extremely helpful for the students who can rely on online teaching content and/or to stay in touch with their teachers, fellow students or school administration. The Schulcloud is particularly useful for high school students currently preparing for their Abitur (high school leaving exam). Thuringian Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport has recently announced the postponement of exams in the wake of Corona virus.
e-Learning material from external sources
In addition to the eLearning platform, the website of the Schulcloud offers a very useful repository of free online learning videos. Online content provider includes several German public television channels such as MDR (Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk) and BR (Bayerischer Rundfunk). There is also a possibility to download podcasts offered by German public broadcasters Bayern2 and SWR (Südwestrundfunk). The repository also contains online content offered by private streaming video websites such as YouTube. Students will benefit from the eLearning content for several subjects among others, English, German, Maths, Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Religion or IT.
ICTs and Digital Transformation in Thuringia
The German state of Thuringia is making big strides within the ICTs. Thuringian Ministry of Economics, Science and Digital Society in particular is trying to bring in rapid digital transformation to Thuringia. It plans to bring fiber optics connection to Thuringen schools by 2023. In addition, Thuringia also launched its eGovernment law in May 2018 to promote G2C and G2G communications.